TW/CW. Residential Schools. Considering the Legal and Human Rights Framework for Addressing Mass Graves Connected to Indian Residential Schools

On May 28, the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation announced the discovery of a mass grave with 215 unmarked burials at the former Kamloops Indian Residential School. Only one month later, the Cowessess First Nation announced they had discovered 751 unmarked burials on the site of the former Marieval Indian Residential School. Both of these discoveries refute currently accessible official records, in which minimal deaths were recorded for the schools – 50 at Kamloops and 8 at Marieval. We have been reminded of the importance of Survivor testimony, as Elders, Knowledge Keepers and Survivors have provided information on mass graves and unmarked burials at sites across Canada. This news is distressing but unfortunately not shocking: these discoveries are similar to findings emerging from communities across Canada and stories of student deaths have been shared and well documented by Survivors.

read more

BC Court of Appeal rejects limitations placed on Aboriginal commercial fishing rights: Ahousaht Indian Band and Nation v. Canada, 2021 BCCA 155

This case concerns whether Canada had justified its infringement of the commercial fishing rights of the five Nuu-chah-nulth Nations of Ahousaht, Hesquiaht, Mowachaht/Muchalaht, Tla-o-qui-aht, and Ehattesaht/Chinehkint (collectively, the “Nations”). The Nations’ commercial fishing rights had previously been declared eleven years earlier and the cumulative effect of Canada’s fishing regime was found to have infringed those rights (2009 BCSC 1494).

read more

Recent Changes to the Canada Labour Code You Need to Know About (Jan 2021)

Numerous changes to the Canada Labour Code in 2019, 2020 and now in 2021 mean big changes for federally regulated employers across Canada. First Nations governments will need to review their Human Resources policies and practices to ensure consistency with the new requirements and to avoid incurring any potential liability for non-compliance.

read more

The Supreme Court of Canada has opened the door to multi-jurisdictional aboriginal rights and title claims: Newfoundland and Labrador (Attorney General) v. Uashaunnuat (Innu of Uashat and of Mani Utenam)* (February 21, 2020)

In 2013, two Innu First Nations and several elected individuals (the “Innu”), filed suit in the Superior Court of Quebec against two mining companies responsible for a megaproject consisting of multiple open pit mines near Schefferville, Quebec and Labrador City, Newfoundland and Labrador, as well as port, railway and industrial facilities in Quebec and railway in both provinces.

read more

Advanced Costs allows the Beaver Lake to continue their challenge of the taking up clause in Treaty 6: Anderson v Alberta (Attorney General), 2019 ABQB 746 (Oct 3, 2019)

On September 30th, 2019, the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench awarded advanced costs to Beaver Lake Cree Nation (“Beaver Lake”). Beaver Lake is a Treaty 6 signatory. While purportedly protecting harvesting rights, Treaty 6, like other numbered treaties, contains a clause allowing the Crown to “take up” lands for various purposes.

read more

Invitation to Global Climate Strike on Friday, September 27, 2019

Woodward & Company invites you and your colleagues to join lawyers from across Victoria in a demonstration of unity for ambitious climate action. From 12-1pm on Friday, September 27, we will gather on the lawn of the Legislature under the banner of “Lawyers for Climate Action” and march in the Global Climate Strike. We will be dressed in business attire.

read more