Federal and provincial governments need to demonstrate “stronger engagement” towards duty to consult, says UN panel

Federal and provincial governments “need” to demonstrate a “stronger engagement” towards conducting meaningful consultations with indigenous communities, according to a United Nations working group on business and human rights.

The duty to consult takes on added weight given that extensive mining and oil and gas extraction in several indigenous territories is “accompanied” by significant adverse environment impacts that affect the right to health, added the UN panel.

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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.

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