All posts tagged: Aboriginal title

First Nations can now pursue claims prior to proving Aboriginal rights and title

First Nations can now bring tort claims founded on Aboriginal rights and title before those rights are formally recognized by a court declaration or government agreement after the Supreme Court of Canada refused to end lawsuits by Aboriginal communities against natural resource companies.

The SCC’s decision to dismiss the applications for leave to appeal paves the way for a $900 million class action filed by two Quebec Innu First Nations against Iron Ore Co. of Canada (IOC) and a separate suit by two north-central British Columbia First Nations against Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. over its diversion of water from the Nechako River since the 1950s.

“The interaction between common law torts and aboriginal law has not really been explored in Canada,” said Greg McDade, lawyer of the Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations of British Columbia.