Supreme Court to examine 'duty to consult' indigenous group about legislation
Changes in environmental law, regulation triggered court battle
The Supreme Court of Canada will delve into the issue of whether the federal duty to consult Indigenous groups applies to the legislative process.
The high court agreed today to hear the Mikisew Cree's argument that the former Conservative government should have consulted the Alberta First Nation on legislative proposals that would affect its treaty rights.
In 2012, the government introduced two omnibus bills proposing changes to Canada's environmental protection and regulatory processes.
Bills C-38 and C-45 amended the Fisheries Act, the Species At Risk Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act and updated the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act.
A Federal Court judge said there was a duty to consult the Mikisew once the bills were tabled — though not prior to introduction — because the proposals would arguably affect fishing, trapping and navigation.
The Federal Court of Appeal overturned that ruling, saying that including the duty to consult in the legislative process offends the doctrine of the separation of powers and the principle of parliamentary privilege.