Respecting the Use of Indigenous Medicine is Part of Reconciliation

April 29, 2015
Blog Post

On Friday April 24, 2015, Justice Edward of the Ontario Court of Justice released an important addendum to his decision in Hamilton Health Sciences Corp v DH, which we originally reported on in our January 2015 blog post. The addendum shows that significant steps are being taken in Ontario to develop an integrated approach to health care for Indigenous people that respects and brings together traditional Indigenous approaches to medicine and ‘Western’ approaches.

Impact Benefit Agreements – Part 1

April 23, 2015
Blog Post

Lanise Hayes spoke at the Aboriginal Mawi’omi conference in December 2014. Here is part 1 of her presentation. These seminal cases establish the fiduciary duty of the Crown toward Indigenous peoples. From this duty flows the honour of the Crown act and the duty to consult. Impact benefit agreements are grounded in these inextricable obligations on the Crown as we will see in throughout this presentation.

Dare to Dream Students Visit Firm

March 31, 2015
Blog Post

On Monday March 30, 2015, Nelligan O’Brien Payne hosted a group of 12 high school students from Rideau and Queen Elizabeth high schools for lunch and a tour of our firm as part of Ottawa’s Dare to Dream program. Dare to Dream is an innovative justice education and outreach program for First Nation, Métis and Inuit youth aged 11 to 14 in Canada.

Reserve Evictions: Preserving Traditions and Human Rights

March 18, 2015
Blog Post

There is no doubt that the culture and traditions of indigenous peoples should be preserved. This is especially true for First Nations people in Canada, who over the years have had to contend with European diseases, active displacement from their land, and assimilation policies. So it is understandable that some First Nations have enacted tough rules to ensure their traditions and culture are kept alive. However, recent eviction letters sent to non-native residents in Kahnawake, Québec, have some questioning the fairness and legality of the band’s membership by-law.

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women: Just Because it is a Crime Doesn’t Mean it is Not a Sociological Phenomenon

March 12, 2015
Blog Post
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The recent report delivered by the RCMP on missing or murdered Aboriginal women identified a serious and disturbing threat for Aboriginal women in Canada. When a segment of the Canadian population is victimized at a rate of almost three times the average rate, then we should all be concerned. There is no question an inquiry is needed to identify the causes of the high rate of missing and murdered Aboriginal women. Unfortunately, the present position of the Federal Government is not based on need or concern for Aboriginal women but apparently on politics.

The Five Ws of Impact Benefit Agreements

February 26, 2015
Blog Post

Impact benefit agreements (IBA) have become a critical instrument allowing Indigenous communities to fully participate in projects carried out within their traditional territories. In fact, IBAs are now a common vehicle for community consultation and approval of projects. The five W’s of IBAs are outlined in this blog post.

Federal Court Broadens Crown’s Duty to Consult Indigenous Communities

February 4, 2015
Blog Post
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In a previous post, we referred to a challenge that the Mikisew Cree First Nation had brought against the Government of Canada with respect to changes to environmental legislation such as the Navigable Waters Protection Act (now significantly narrowed in scope and re-named the Navigation Protection Act). Mikisew argued that in passing the legislation without notifying the First Nation or asking for its input, the Crown had breached its constitutional duty to consult. This decision is notable because it recognizes a much broader scope for the duty to consult than had ever been explicitly recognized by Canadian courts. The duty arises not only when physical works are proposed, but also when Parliament or a provincial legislature proposes to change legislation in a way that affects Aboriginal rights.

Current Issues in Environmental Law: Part 2 – The new Fisheries Act and Navigation Protection Act

January 30, 2015
Blog Post
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This post focuses on the changes to two key pieces of legislation – the Fisheries Act and the Navigable Waters Protection Act. The changes to the Navigable Waters Protection Act are important for Aboriginal peoples because they leave millions of water bodies essentially unregulated. With the majority of navigable waters removed from the purview of the Act, there is no government involvement in most development projects, and therefore nothing to trigger the duty to consult.