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Kapyong Barracks: hope for an urban reserve

A new Federal Court of Appeal decision opens the door for First Nations seeking to enforce their rights (such as treaty land entitlements) under modern agreements with Canada, and moves several Treaty 1 First Nations closer to the reality of a new urban reserve in Winnipeg. The Federal Court of Appeal released its decision in


Chartrand cases establishes important principles but demonstrates shortcomings of Aboriginal consultation cases

A decade of decisions since the seminal Haida case make it clear that the “duty to consult and accommodate” is not a panacea that cures all ills in the relationship between the Crown and First Nations.  Two classic shortcomings of Aboriginal consultation disputes rear their heads in the BC Court of Appeal’s recent decision in


Walking the talk: The skinny on self determination

Newspapers reported earlier this month that Alberta’s new Premier, Rachel Notley, has instructed her cabinet ministers to come up with a plan for their respective departments to implement the United Nations Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (“UNDRIP”).  This is welcome news.  Premier Notley’s decision will make Alberta the first jurisdiction in Canada to


Walking the Talk – Alberta’s New Government Moves to Implement UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

The Alberta government is taking a important step to act on campaign commitments to implement the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Premier Rachel Notley, wrote on July 7th to her Cabinet, committing her government to implementing the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People, an international instrument adopted by the


BC Case Sets Out Principles for Good First Nations’ Governance

A recent B.C. Court of Appeal case sheds insight into good First Nation governance and the fiduciary obligations of Chiefs and Councillors. The decision is of practical importance to Band Councils and suggests that Band Councils cannot place themselves in a position where their personal interests conflict with those of the Band without express authority


Truth and reconciliation - where to now?

This is a talk given by Bob Rae at a joint service of Bloor Street, Bathurst and Trinity St Paul’s United Churches in Toronto on May 31, 2015 This week Canadians will be reminded once again about what the Chief Justice of Canada has called “the greatest stain on our human rights record”, the “cultural


SCC case will affect expert witnesses in Aboriginal rights cases (WBLI v Abbott and Haliburton)

A few weeks ago, the Supreme Court of Canada released their decision in WBLI v Abbott and Haliburton, a long awaited case on the issue of impartiality of expert witnesses. The full decision can be found here.  OKT has been paying close attention to this case since going to court for Aboriginal communities so often



A First Nations’ lawsuit against a private company for harming Aboriginal rights can go to trial, says BC Court of Appeal in Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc The decision supports the right of First Nations to pursue “tort” claims, such as nuisance, against private parties (rather than suing


Post-secondary Aboriginal institutes achieve milestone

The new Ontario budget marks the beginning of an exciting new path for First Nations’ education in Ontario, with the inclusion of  $5 million in new funding for Aboriginal Institutes in Ontario. OKT lawyers Bob Rae and Andrea Bradley have been working with the Aboriginal Institutes Consortium to develop a position paper and engage with


What Canada can learn from the World (Bank)

Canada, and its past 40 years of legal cases wrestling with Aboriginal land rights, has something to contribute to the global conversation on sustainable land use and reducing poverty. I don’t mean that Canada has something to brag about – on the contrary.  But within the country’s borders there are strong examples about the right