Thunder Bay

Supreme Court sides with Lac Seul First Nation over flooding compensation

The Lac Seul First Nation of northern Ontario has won a key round in its long fight to be properly compensated for the flooding of its lands caused by construction of a dam.

Canada's top court set aside $30M award, sent matter back to Federal Court

Construction of the Ear Falls hydroelectric dam in the late 1920s flooded nearly 20 per cent of Lac Seul's reserve land without the First Nation's consent or compensation. (Ontario Power Generation)

The Lac Seul First Nation of northern Ontario has won a key round in its long fight to be properly compensated for the flooding of its lands caused by construction of a dam.

In an 8-1 ruling Friday, the Supreme Court of Canada set aside a $30-million award and sent the matter back to the Federal Court for reassessment.

A hydroelectric dam to supply power to Winnipeg was built in 1929 under an agreement between Canada, Ontario and Manitoba.

Lac Seul First Nation is located on the south shore of Lac Seul, about 290 kilometres northwest of Thunder Bay. (Google)

The project involved raising the water level of Lac Seul by about three metres to create a reservoir. It proceeded despite warnings about damage the flooding would cause to the Lac Seul First Nation reserve, and without lawful authorization or the consent of those affected.

Almost one-fifth of the best land on the reserve was permanently flooded, destroying homes and wild rice fields and submerging gravesites.

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