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July 17, 2014

Supreme Court Clarifies Provincial Aboriginal Consultation Responsibilities When Issuing Resource Permits in Keewatin and Applies Tsilqot’in Infringement Test

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Grassy Narrows First Nation v Ontario (Natural Resources) (also known as “Keewatin”) underscores once again the Crown’s duty to consult. It asserts the need for provinces and territories to consult early with Aboriginal communities and not wait for a resource project proponent to reach a deal with the community. The Supreme Court’s decision, released on July 11, 2014, also dealt with infringement of treaty rights – and specifically the Grassy Narrows First Nation and Wabauskang First Nation’s harvesting rights under Treaty 3. The Supreme Court applied the test used by the Court in its June 26 decision in Roger William (on behalf of the Tsilhqot’in Nation) v BC.

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