Mca Presentation April 27, 2009


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Duty to Consult and Accommodate

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Mca Presentation April 27, 2009

  1. 1. Consultation and Accommodation Merle Alexander Kitasoo Xai’xais First Nation, Tsimshian Nation Chair of the Aboriginal Practice Group – Boughton Law
  2. 2. Outline <ul><li>Opening Comments </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal Rights Generally </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal Title </li></ul><ul><li>What is Consultation? Overview </li></ul><ul><li>Industry Responses to the Duty </li></ul><ul><li>Municipal/Local Governments’ Duty to Consult </li></ul><ul><li>General Principles </li></ul><ul><li>Accommodation </li></ul><ul><li>Questions </li></ul>
  3. 3. Opening Comments <ul><li>Consultation and accommodation principles at its infancy in the Aboriginal law context. </li></ul><ul><li>If C/A is satisfied, the applicable Government can “justifiably infringe” constitutionally affirmed rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Trumping the Canadian Constitution is a substantive challenge and achievement. </li></ul><ul><li>This area of law has and will evolve procedurally and substantially in coming years, particularly as the relationships among Aboriginal peoples, Governments, industry, and civil society evolve. </li></ul><ul><li>All Governments can be a progressive force in this dynamic change. </li></ul><ul><li>Parties that are regressive and attempt to maintain the status quo also do so at their peril. </li></ul>
  4. 4. Aboriginal Rights Generally <ul><li>Constitutional Protection: Section 35 of the Constitution Act , 1982: </li></ul><ul><li>35(1) The existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada are hereby recognized and affirmed. </li></ul><ul><li>R. v. Van der Peet , [1996] 2 S.C.R. 507: </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal are defined as legal and enforceable rights -> doctrine of Aboriginal rights (Sparrow) </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal rights exist on a spectrum according to their degree of connection with the land </li></ul>
  5. 5. Aboriginal Title <ul><li>Delgamuukw v. British Columbia , [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010: </li></ul><ul><li>C/L test for proving a claim of Aboriginal title </li></ul><ul><li>Scope of consultation and accommodation </li></ul><ul><li>Set out the spectrum of duty to consult: (1) mere consultation; (2) more than mere consultation and (3) consent </li></ul><ul><li>Aboriginal rights and title are sui generis , inalienable except to the Crown and collective in nature </li></ul>
  6. 6. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Haida and Taku River Tlingit – 2004 - SCC </li></ul><ul><li>The duty to consult and accommodate has its origins in the honour of the Crown: </li></ul><ul><li>“ In all its dealings with Aboriginal peoples, from the assertion of sovereignty to the resolution of claims and the implementation of treaties, the Crown must act honourably” </li></ul><ul><li>Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate exists irrespective of whether Aboriginal rights and title have been proven </li></ul>
  7. 7. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Scope of duty to consult and accommodate depends upon: (1) Strength of case supporting existence of Aboriginal right or title and (2) Scale of potentially adverse impact </li></ul><ul><li>Each case must be assessed on its own factual basis </li></ul><ul><li>There are no specific guidelines on what is appropriate consultation or accommodation </li></ul>
  8. 8. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Musqueam Indian Band v. British Columbia - 2005 BCCA 128: </li></ul><ul><li>Duty owed by the Crown was at the expansive end of the spectrum, warranting “deep consultation” </li></ul><ul><li>Competing claims to the lands or resources at stake by multiple First Nations does not necessarily counter the duty owed by the Crown </li></ul>
  9. 9. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Mikisew Cree First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Canadian Heritage), 2005 SCC 69: </li></ul><ul><li>Duty to consult and accommodate applies to context of historical treaty </li></ul><ul><li>Elaborates on the conduct expected of the Crown when the duty to consult is placed at the lower end of the spectrum </li></ul><ul><li>Reaffirms that unilateral Crown action is unacceptable </li></ul>
  10. 10. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Hupacasath First Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), 2005 BCSC 1712: </li></ul><ul><li>Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate may apply to privately held lands, </li></ul><ul><li>First Nations can possess a prima facie right to hunt, fish, gather food, harvest trees and visit sacred sites on private lands, subject to the rights of fee simple owners to prohibit their access </li></ul><ul><li>Illustrates established trend in court-order consultation, accommodation and mediation processes </li></ul>
  11. 11. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Platinex v. Kitchenumaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation et al., [2006] 4 C.N.L.R. 152: </li></ul><ul><li>All parties, industry proponent included, were ordered to participate in consultation negotiations </li></ul><ul><li>The court may consider the Crown’s provision of resources to the First Nation to engage in consultation as part of assessing the adequacy of consultation </li></ul>
  12. 12. What is Consultation? Overview <ul><li>Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation v. The Government of Yukon (Minister of Energy, Mines and Resources), 2008 YKCA SCC 13: </li></ul><ul><li>Crown obligation with respect to the duty to consult is an implied term of both historical and modern day treaties </li></ul>
  13. 13. Industry’s Response to Consultation <ul><li>While the duty to consult extends only to the Crown and excludes third parties, the Crown may delegate procedural aspects of consultation. </li></ul><ul><li>In most contexts, industry proponents will have a vested interest in advancing consultation and accommodation efforts. </li></ul><ul><li>Many First Nations are engaging with industry directly to negotiate impact benefit agreements (IBA’s) or consultation agreements </li></ul>
  14. 14. Municipal Governments – Duty to Consult <ul><li>Local governments have the powers to make decisions that may impact Aboriginal or treaty rights. </li></ul><ul><li>Municipalities are not crown entities – created by provincial statute, not constitutional authority. </li></ul><ul><li>While the SCC has concluded that third parties are not responsible for discharging the Crown’s duty to consult, it has not specifically commented on the obligations of local governments – question unsettled. </li></ul>
  15. 15. Municipal Governments’ Duty to Consult <ul><li>Gardner v. Williams Lake – BCCA - 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>BCCA suggests that the Crown’s duty to consult may not extend to municipalities. </li></ul><ul><li>Case did not involved any claimed Aboriginal or treaty rights and cannot be treated as a definitive ruling on the duty to consult. </li></ul><ul><li>Case did not engage the honour of the Crown or the heightened responsibility that comes with the principle in cases engaging Aboriginal questions. </li></ul>
  16. 16. General Principles <ul><li>Arises when a Crown actor has knowledge, real or constructive, of the potential existence of the aboriginal right or title and contemplates action that might adversely affect it. </li></ul><ul><li>This may lead to a duty to accommodate aboriginal interests. </li></ul><ul><li>Consultation/Accommodation is an open-ended concept and is dependent on the factual circumstances </li></ul>
  17. 17. General Principles <ul><li>Responsiveness is a key requirement of both consultation and accommodation. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultation varies with the circumstances. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultation must be fair, honourable and meaningful. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultation must include all information as to how the aboriginal title and rights may be affected. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First Nations do not have a veto. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No duty to agree in all circumstances. </li></ul></ul>
  18. 18. Accommodation <ul><li>Measures to accommodate aboriginal interests: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared decision-making; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>share of resource royalties; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>measures to develop community capacity: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>scholarship funds, etc; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>business and contracting opportunities; and </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>impact benefit agreements </li></ul></ul>
  19. 19. Questions Merle Alexander Chair Aboriginal Law Group Boughton Law M: +16047641567 W: +16046474145 [email_address]