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December 08, 2017

Reconciliation Includes Respecting Land Claims Agreements and Co-Management Processes – Supreme Court of Canada Quashes Yukon’s Peel Watershed Land Use Plan

On December 1, 2017 the Supreme Court of Canada released its long-awaited decision on the future of Yukon’s Peel watershed.  In its unanimous decision, the Court quashed the Government of Yukon’s (Yukon) land use plan and returned the parties to the stage in the land use plan approval process where Yukon can approve, reject, or modify the land use plan put forward by the Peel Watershed Planning Commission (the Commission).

This case centred on the interpretation of the Umbrella Final Agreement (UFA) and the roles of government and others in the implementation of a modern Treaty protected under section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982.  More specifically, the Court’s decision focuses on the implementation of the co-management processes set out in the UFA and other land claim agreements and clearly underscores the importance of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples in the context of abiding by those processes.

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