West Moberly First Nations v BC, 2020 BCSC 1665

With a few exceptions, the Court declined to compel the parties to provide further responses to demands for particulars in West Moberly’s lawsuit challenging the Site C hydro project. Most of their points of contention with respect to the pleadings should be addressed through discovery. 

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The plaintiffs, West Moberly First Nations and Roland Willson on his own behalf and on behalf of all other members of West Moberly First Nations who are beneficiaries of Treaty 8 [collectively “West Moberly”] seek, among other things, to prohibit the defendant, the British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, from building a hydroelectric dam and related facilities along the Peace River in northeastern British Columbia, known as the Site C project [“Project”] on the grounds, among others, that the Project infringes their rights under Treaty 8 (West Moberly First Nations v British Columbia, 2018 BCSC 1835).

The parties have been directed to develop a case management plan that would see the trial completed ahead of reservoir inundation, which was then scheduled for fall 2023. In this matter, out of the most recent round of amendments to the pleadings, there are six separate applications under the Supreme Court Civil Rules by which each of the parties seeks further and better particulars of their opponents’ pleadings [“Amended Notice of Civil Claim” or “NOCC”].

The Amended NOCC advances, among other things, new allegations as to the nature of the infringement of Treaty 8 that is alleged; breaches of various duties alleged to be owed by the defendants under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Amended NOCC also advances new private law causes of action based on alleged breaches of fiduciary duty, trespass, nuisance, riparian rights, unjust enrichment, waiver of tort and the tort of conspiracy. The subject matter of the claim has been expanded to include all development activities in West Moberly’s traditional territory, including the previous dams built along the Peace River. The amendments have also expanded the scope of the remedial relief sought, so that West Moberly now seeks, in addition to a prohibitive injunction permanently halting the project, a mandatory injunction to restore the land to its former state and damages, including disgorgement of all revenues that the defendants have received from the operation of the dams from their inception.

Although the parties agree on the general principles of law that must inform the Court’s analysis, they disagree on their application to the many contentious demands that are in issue. They join issue in many cases on the question of whether the applicant party is seeking particularisation of the facts that the pleading party intends to prove at trial, as opposed to the evidence that will be called to prove them. The Court refuses to compel the parties to provide further responses to the outstanding demands for particulars, with a few exceptions, due to that what is sought is evidence that is more properly explored through discovery.

Misdzi Yikh v Canada, 2020 FC 1059

The Court struck the pleadings filed by two Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs (Dini Ze’) in an action seeking various forms of relief against Canada in relation to federal policy objectives for the reduction of greenhouse gases. It was found to be plain and obvious that the action could not succeed due to insurmountable issues with respect to justiciability, causation, and a lack of specificity regarding alleged constitutional violations. 

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This Statement of Claim is struck without leave to amend, as it is not justiciable, discloses no reasonable cause of action and the remedies are not legally obtainable. The Plaintiff, Dini Ze’ Lho Imggin and Dini Ze’ Smogilhgim on behalf of two Wet’suwet’en House groups of the Likhts’amisyu (Fireweed) Clan: the Misdzi Yikh (Owl House) and Sa Yikh (Sun House), [“Dini Zi’”] put forth this claim related to climate change. The Dini Ze’s position is that Canada’s policy objectives for the reduction of greenhouse gas [“GHG”] emissions by 2030 are insufficient. As a result, they say Canada’s failure to enact stringent legislation is contrary to common law principles of “public trust”, “equitable waste”, and the “constitutional principle of intergenerational equity”.

The Dini Ze argued that there is a violation of their rights under sections 7 and 15(1) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms [“Charter”] and that the Charter breaches are not justified under section 1. The Dini Ze’ allege that Canada has breached its duty under section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867 by not ensuring low GHG emissions under the peace, order and good government [“POGG”] powers. By doing so, Canada is generally violating their constitutional rights by not adhering to international environmental agreements that Canada ratified. Wide ranging remedies are sought including declaratory, mandatory and supervisory orders to keep mean global warming to between 1.5 ̊C and 2 ̊C above pre-industrial level by reducing Canada’s GHG emissions. These reductions relate to Canada’s commitments made in the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement is a multi-national agreement entered into by various nations in order to combat climate change and to work forward to sustain a low-carbon future. The agreement is a hybrid of both legally binding and non-binding provisions. Canada ratified the agreement on October 5, 2016 and the agreement entered into force on November 4, 2016. Canada is one of 189 countries to have ratified the agreement. The Dini Ze’ claim that Canada has repeatedly failed, and continues to fail, to fulfil its duty because they have not implemented the laws, policies, and actions needed to ensure that Canada meets its commitment made in the Paris Agreement to keep mean global warming below 2 ̊C above pre-industrial levels.

Justiciability must involve an action that has subject matter appropriate for a court to decide (Highwood Congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses (Judicial Committee) v Wall, 2018 SCC 26). The POGG power of the federal government is a tool to facilitate federalism in Canada. It is generally thought of as having three branches: 1) the “gap” branch; 2) the “national concern” branch; and 3) the “emergency” branch (Peter Hogg, Constitutional Law of Canada, 5th ed supplemented (Toronto: Thomson Reuters Canada, 2019)). The POGG powers under section 91 empower the federal Parliament to enact laws in these situations. There is nothing in the law that suggests that it imposes a duty on the government, nor can it force Parliament to enact, change or repeal specific laws in the manner the Dini Ze’ suggests.

The “existence of an article in a treaty ratified by Canada does not automatically transform that article into a principle of fundamental justice” (Kazemi Estate v Islamic Republic of Iran, 2014 SCC 62 [Kazemi]). The only binding international law in a dualist legal system like Canada’s would be a treaty plus conventional law, or proof of applicable customary international law (Nevsun Resources Ltd v Araya, 2020 SCC 5; Kazemi ). Thereby, treaties, such as the Paris Agreement, are only given effect through Canada’s domestic lawmaking process through legislation.

There cannot be a positive duty imposed by international obligations on the peace, order and good government of Canada, as the POGG power has never been used in such a way, and the language of the statute provides that even this novel attempt must fail. When the Dini Ze’ are asking this Court to rule on the constitutionality of the failure to enact what they consider adequate laws to fulfil international obligations, they are really asking the Court to tell the legislature to enact particular laws. This is not the role of the Court and thus not justiciable. Enacting laws is within the jurisdiction of Parliament. If those laws violate the constitution, then there can be striking out, reading down, or reading in of provisions.

With no specific law pointed to, and the broad claims made by the Dini Ze’, it is difficult to find sufficient legal elements in the Charter claims for them to be justiciable. The reason being that there is no impugned law or action to make a comparison necessary to do an analysis under section 1 (R v Oakes, [1986] 1 SCR 103). Complexity itself does not mean that the Court cannot adjudicate an issue; but when the issue spans across various governments, involves issues of economics and foreign policy, trade, and a host of other issues, the courts must leave these decisions in the hands of others. As well, the remedies sought to attempt to simplify a complex situation in a way that would be ineffective at actually addressing climate change given the polycentric and international nature of the problem.

The changes being asked for are more akin to a change in policy than a change in law. In Canada, any real effect on Canada’s GHG emissions will be dependent on the cooperation of the provincial governments. This Court does not have the statutory jurisdiction to mandate any such cooperation between the different levels of government meaning that any remedies would quite possibly be ineffective. This matter is not justiciable as it is the realm of the other two branches of government. This broad topic is beyond the reach of judicial interference. The issue of climate change, while undoubtedly important, is inherently political, not legal, and is of the realm of the executive and legislative branches of government. The Court strikes the claim without leave to amend because of it being plain and obvious that there is no reasonable cause of action (Federal Courts Rules; R v Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd, 2011 SCC 42).

La Rose v Canada, 2020 FC 1008

The Court granted Canada’s motion to strike the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim without leave to amend. The Plaintiffs are children and youth from across Canada who allege Canada is contributing to greenhouse gas emissions that are incompatible with a stable climate system, posing a particular threat to Indigenous peoples. The Plaintiffs pleaded causes of action under ss 7 and 15 of the Charter were found not to be justiciable. A separate cause of action based on the public trust doctrine was rejected as it does not form part of Canadian law. 

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The Plaintiffs are fifteen children and youth from across Canada. Although their locations and particular circumstances vary, the Plaintiffs collectively describe that climate change has negatively impacted their physical, mental and social health and well-being. They allege it has further threatened their homes, cultural heritage and their hopes and aspirations for the future. As children and youth, they claim a particular vulnerability to climate change, owed to their stage of development, increased exposure risk and overall susceptibility.

The Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim is particularly focused on the contribution of greenhouse gases [“GHGs”] to climate change, discussing the link between the cumulative impacts of GHGs and changes occurring in the environment. The Statement of Claim lists alleged harm by the Defendants that includes: continuing to cause, contribute to and allow a level of GHG emissions incompatible with a Stable Climate System; adopting GHG emission targets that are inconsistent with the best available science about what is necessary to avoid dangerous climate change and restore a Stable Climate System; failing to meet the Defendants’ own GHG emission targets; and actively participating in and supporting the development, expansion and operation of industries and activities involving fossil fuels that emit a level of GHGs incompatible with a Stable Climate System [“Impugned Conduct”]. The Plaintiffs claim various forms of relief as the impacts of climate change that are described are wide ranging, significant and felt across Canada.

The test on a motion to strike is whether it is plain and obvious that the pleadings disclose no reasonable cause of action, or that the claim has no reasonable prospect of success (Hunt v Carey Canada Inc, [1990] 2 SCR 959; R v Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd, 2011 SCC 42 [“Imperial Tobacco”]). The threshold to strike a claim is high and the matter must proceed to trial where a reasonable prospect of success exists.

The material facts pleaded in the Statement of Claim must be taken as true, unless the allegations are based on assumption and speculation (Operation Dismantle v The Queen, [1985] 1 SCR 441 [“Operation Dismantle”]). It is incumbent on the Plaintiffs to clearly plead the facts in sufficient detail to support the claims and the relief sought. The material facts form the basis upon which to evaluate the possibility of the success of the claim (Imperial Tobacco; Mancuso v Canada (National Health and Welfare), 2015 FCA 227). Further, the pleadings must be read as generously as possible, erring on the side of permitting a novel but arguable claim to proceed to trial (Imperial Tobacco ; Atlantic Lottery v Corp Inc v Babstock, 2020 SCC 19 [“Atlantic Lottery”]).

The presence of a Charter claim alone does not prevent the Court from considering the motion to strike (Operation Dismantle; Tanudjaja v Canada (Attorney General), 2014 ONCA 852). It is clear that a Court can hear and decide novel questions of law on a motion to strike. A claim should not survive a motion to strike based on novelty alone. Disposing of novel claims that are doomed to fail is critical to the viability of civil justice and public access (Atlantic Lottery). The Court is not convinced that it is required to allow the Charter claims to survive the motion to strike simply because they are new Charter claims. Both Charter claims, under ss 7 and 15 of the Charter, are not justiciable.

The Plaintiffs’ position fails on the basis that there are some questions that are so political that the Courts are incapable or unsuited to deal with them. The finding on justiciability is supported both by the undue breadth and diffuse nature of the Impugned Conduct and the inappropriate remedies sought by the Plaintiffs. As well, the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim have not pleaded material facts to support the public trust doctrine as an unwritten constitutional principle, outside its allegation that this is in fact the case. The failure to offer any material facts which, taken to be true, would support this finding in their Statement of Claim, is fatal to the proposed cause of action (Reference re Succession of Quebec, [1998] 2 SCR 217). It is plain and obvious that the claims related to the public trust doctrine fail to disclose a reasonable cause of action.

The Defendants’ motion to strike the Plaintiffs’ Statement of Claim is granted without leave to amend. The Charter claims, under s 7 and s 15, are not justiciable and otherwise disclose no reasonable cause of action. The public trust doctrine, while justiciable, does not disclose a reasonable cause of action.

Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC v Mivasair, 2019 BCSC 1512

Three Indigenous men were each sentenced to 28 days in prison for criminal contempt after breaching an injunction prohibiting interference with Trans Mountain Pipeline operations. While Gladue factors were relevant, deterrence and denunciation needed to be given primary consideration. They could not invoke Indigenous law at the sentencing stage when they failed to challenge the injunction’s validity.

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Stacy Gallagher, Justin Bige and James Leyden [“Contemnors”] are to be sentenced in this matter for breaching an order [“Injunction”] (Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC v Mivasair, 2019 BCSC 2472 [the “Conviction Reasons”]). The Injunction prohibited interference with the operations of the plaintiff, Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC [“Trans Mountain”]. In 2018, this Court granted the Injunction to address protest activity against Trans Mountain and its pipeline expansion project. In broad terms, the Injunction prohibited obstruction of access to and from various Trans Mountain work sites.

Trans Mountain’s project attracted considerable controversy at the time, which continues today. Protests and arrests of protestors began almost immediately after the granting of the Injunction. The police arrested in excess of 200 people for breaching the Injunction.

The Court’s main focus in this sentencing process is to send a clear signal to the Contemnors, and others who may be influenced by them and their actions, that such behavior will not be tolerated. Deterrence is the main sentencing objective. Although contempt of court is a common law offence, and therefore prosecuted under the common law, courts have frequently stated that guidance in respect of sentencing for criminal contempt may be sought from the Criminal Code (International Forest Products Ltd v Kern, 2001 BCCA 48; R v Dhillon, 2015 BCSC 1298; Trans Mountain Pipeline ULC v Mivasair, 2019 BCCA 156).

There is a need for the Court to restore, maintain and preserve the rule of law and the administration of justice by punishing those people who would choose to threaten its existence by taking matters into their own hands and in doing so, encourage others to do the same. It could not be reasonably assumed that “public defiance of lawful orders of the court would continue indefinitely to be visited with only nominal fines and non-custodial sentences” (MacMillan Bloedel Ltd v Brown (1994), 88 CCC (3d) 148 (BCCA)).

All of the Contemnors are Aboriginal through their mothers lineage. Their home Indigenous territories are not in BC or even in the local area, being the traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples. None of these men have criminal records. Section 718.2(e) of the Code mandates that the Contemnors’ Aboriginal heritage be considered in determining a fit sentence in the circumstances, including the Gladue principles (R v Gladue, [1999] 1 SCR 688; R v Ipeelee, 2012 SCC 13). The fact that an offender is Aboriginal, however, does not dictate that a restorative approach is appropriate toward rehabilitation (R v Wells, 2000 SCC 10 [“Wells”]). Unlike the facts in Wells, of course the convictions here did not arise from any violent offence. The offences here were, however, serious, consistent with the need for this Court to denounce and deter such behavior, both generally and specifically.

The Contemnors repeatedly submitted that they never meant any disrespect for the Court through their actions. However, such words are meaningless when juxtaposed against their actual actions. This Court has already found that the Contemnors, knowing what the Injunction required them not to do, purposefully did just that. Their actions belie any real sense of respect for the Court’s authority. The true substance of the Contemnors’ position in relation to their Aboriginal heritage is founded on their view that they were entitled to disobey the Court’s order because of their heritage and what they perceive as being their obligations to their own Indigenous rule of law. In essence, such an argument is a backdoor collateral attack on the validity of the order and this Court’s jurisdiction to enforce its order in the sentencing process (British Columbia (AG) v Mount Currie Indian Band, [1991] BCJ No 616 (SC); R v Ignace, [1998] BCJ No 243 (CA)).

The Contemnors’ Aboriginal heritage, background and circumstances, while relevant, do not move the needle in terms of the Court’s need to give primacy to the sentencing principles of denunciation and deterrence in this case. Each of them were well aware of what they were doing at the time. The Contemnors knew that they were going to be arrested if they violated the Injunction.


R v Big River First Nation, 2019 SKCA 117

Appeal dismissed. Big River First Nation is a “person” for the purpose of sentencing for a minimum fine of $100,000 after it plead guilty to a summary conviction offence contrary to ss 238(1) and 272(1)(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act.

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The appellant, Big River First Nation [BRFN], pled guilty to the summary conviction offence of unlawfully failing to comply with an Environmental Protection Compliance Order, contrary to subsection 238(1) and 272(1)(a) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act [“CEPA”]. The BRFN is a “band” within the meaning of the Indian Act. The sentencing judge found that the BRFN is an “individual” within the meaning of s 272 of CEPA and imposed a $10,000 fine (R v Big River First Nation, 2017 SKPC 16). The Crown appealed and the appeal judge found that the BRFN is a “person” within the meaning of s 272 of CEPA and substituted a sentence of a $100,000 fine (R v Big River First Nation, 2018 SKQB 109). The BRFN in this matter appeals this decision on the grounds that the appeal judge erred in law by finding that BRFN is a “person” within the meaning of s 272 of CEPA. As well, the appeal judge failed to even consider s 273 of CEPA, where the court may impose a fine that is less than the minimum amount if it is satisfied that the minimum fine would cause undue financial hardship.

The distinction as to whether BRFN should be classified as an “individual” or a “person” for the purpose of sentencing is important because of the fine minimums in s 272 of CEPA. An “individual” is subject to a $5,000 minimum sentence, while a “person” is subject to a $100,000 minimum sentence. The sentencing judge held that an Indian Act band is a sovereign nation, not a natural person or a corporation. It was his view that only a corporation can be a legal person and that a band must accordingly be an individual. He concluded that the minimum fine of $5,000 was unreasonable in light of the seriousness of the offence, but that a larger fine would place unnecessary hardship on a community such as BRFN and would damage innocent BRFN members. He imposed a fine of $10,000, noting that any destruction of the BRFN land base and water will be devastating for future generations.

The appeal judge, however, concluded that the respondent was a “person” within the meaning of s 272 of CEPA and fined them $100,000. The term “public body” is well known to the law. There is support for the proposition that the council of a First Nation is a public body (Westbank First Nation v British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, [1999] 3 SCR 134). As for the meaning of “individual”, there is no definition of that term in CEPA or the Interpretation Act. It has, of course, been interpreted in the context of many statutes and, when used as a noun, has generally been interpreted so as to exclude anything other than a natural person (R v Carroll, 2016 ONCJ 214). There is authority for the proposition that a First Nation may fall within the scope of the term “person” (PSAC v Francis, [1982] 2 SCR 72). It was also determined that an Indian Act Band is a juridical person and is a unique, enduring, and self-governed entity that has distinct rights and obligations (Montana Band v Canada (TD), [1998] 2 FC 3). That supports the conclusion that “person” in s 272(1) includes “public bodies” that are neither bodies corporate nor individuals.

CEPA applies to reserve lands. It also contains mechanisms designed to enable the development of regulations and other measures to bridge the regulatory gap between non-reserve lands, where provincial and municipal laws apply, and reserve lands, where they do not. Those mechanisms provide for the participation of and exercise of jurisdiction by Indigenous governments and the incorporation of Indigenous knowledge. The purpose of sentencing for offences under CEPA is to contribute to respect for the law that is there to protect the environment and human health through the imposition of just sanctions. These objectives are for deterrence and to denounce unlawful conduct that damages or creates a risk of damage to the environment or human health. It reinforces the “polluter pays” principle by ensuring that offenders are held responsible for effective clean-up and environmental restoration.

BRFN submitted it should have the benefit of s 273 if BRFN is found a “person”. From the evidence submitted, the Court could not reasonably support a finding that the BRFN would suffer undue financial hardship from the minimum $100,000 fine.



R v Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC, 2019 BCPC 185

The Court accepted a joint submission with the total fines of $2,905,000 imposed on the defendant after a sentencing hearing and Talking Circle was conducted in the traditions of the Heiltsuk Nation.

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The defendant, Kirby Offshore Marine Operating LLC, operates one of the largest inland and offshore tank barge fleets in the United States. One of its tugs en route from Alaska to Vancouver, ran aground and sank at a reef in the traditional territory of the Heiltsuk Nation due to the operator falling asleep. Contamination of the environment occurred as diesel fuel and lubricants were released from ruptured tanks on the tug into the ocean. A joint submission was made which was accepted by the Court with total fines of $2,905,000 dollars imposed. There are 3 offences which the defendant has pled guilty: 1) unlawful deposit of diesel fuel contrary to ss 36(3) and ss 40(2) of the Fisheries Act; 2) unlawful deposit of diesel fuel contrary to ss 5.1(1) and s 13(1)(a) of the Migratory Birds Convention Act, 1994; and 3) unlawful pilotage by proceeding through an area without a licensed pilot or the holder of a pilotage certificate contrary to s 47 of the Pilotage Act.

A sentencing hearing was conducted in the traditions of the Heiltsuk Nation with a Talking Circle. The Hereditary Chiefs, Elders, elected Chief, along with other members of the community sat with counsel and the Court in a circle, which was a solemn and tradition filled forum. The Hereditary Chiefs in full ceremonial garments, placed their coppers on top of cedar boughs in the middle of the circle and spoke about the damage to their resources, the infliction of insult and trauma upon their ancestral lands and culture, as well as their economic losses. The history of the Heiltsuk stretches 14,000 years as stewards of their lands, oceans and resources. They have a special relationship to their home as it is closely held to their environment and their heritage. There is a sense of despair with the dissipation of the spiritual energy as the beaches and resources have been soiled with diesel and oil. There is anger over the damage to their oceans and is a breach of their traditional laws of respect and good care for the lands and oceans.

There are five sentencing principles for environment offences: 1) culpability; 2) prior record and past involvement with authorities; 3) acceptance of responsibility and remorse; 4) damage and harm; and 5) deterrence (R v Terroco Industries Limited, 2005 ABCA 141 [“R v Terroco”]; R v Brown, 2010 BCCA 225).

This is a strict liability offence and the assessment for the dominant factor of culpability must be to determine the degree of blameworthiness which is on a sliding scale; is the conduct an intentional act or a near miss of the due diligence standard? In this case, the offence was not intentional as the operator had fallen asleep, but it was not a near miss as the offence could have been avoided. Within the range of culpable conduct, this would be towards the higher end of the degree of blameworthiness. The defendant has no prior record and past involvement with authorities. The defendant’s acceptance of responsibility is reflected by the guilty pleas which are significant, as it acknowledges the wrongful conduct, which saves considerable court time. The defendant is remorseful and the post offence conduct also establishes acceptance of the harm done.

Assessing the degree of harm factors in actual harm in the evaluation of the sentence. Determining actual harm may be difficult given the gradual and cumulative effects of pollution. Identifiable injury is an exacerbating factor, while the lack of an actual injury is not a mitigating factor (R v Terroco). The greater the potential for harm, the greater the warranted penalty. The potential for harm is informed by the probability of the risk, the nature of the product, the likely magnitude of damage if the risk materializes and the sensitivity of the site including its proximity to population and fragile environment (R v Terroco). In this matter, the absence of proximity to population is not a factor that reduces the degree of harm. While the site of the spill was relatively remote, it was close to the community of Bella Bella and is an area that is actively used by the Heiltsuk people to access natural resources. The nature of diesel is highly deleterious as even small amounts can kill fish. The spread of water borne contaminants over vast areas of the ocean in such a sensitive environment is also an aggravating element.

Specific and general deterrence are both dominant features in sentencing pollution cases. Although the defendant has been deterred, it is the message to others that must be clear and unambiguous. The objective of deterrence is to ensure that not only the offender but others are acutely aware that they owe a high duty to be vigilant in protecting this sensitive environment.

The Heiltsuk Nation made clear in the Talking Circle that no amount of monetary fine could justify the damage that had occurred to their traditional lands. It was asked that the defendant be banned from their traditional waters. Within the framework of the operative legislation the Court does not have the jurisdiction to make such an order. The fines imposed are directed to be paid to the Environmental Damage Fund that is to be administered for the benefit of the Heiltsuk First Nations for the purposes of restoration of the habitat affected by the environmental damage.

Environmental Challenges on Indigenous Lands: A CIGI Essay Series

Wiyasiwewin Mikiwahp Native Law Centre

“Indigenous lands are under ever-increasing pressure from governments and extractive sector corporations that are eager to encourage economic development and foreign investment. Against a backdrop of colonialism and dominant societies’ disregard for Indigenous peoples’ own laws, these lands have become the site of conflict and environmental degradation. When Indigenous communities find themselves dispossessed by the government’s approach to extraction licensing, infrastructure development and the establishment of environmental processes and protections, trust can erode quickly.

In November 2018, Indigenous leaders, environmental activists, human rights lawyers, academics, advocates and extractive industry participants came together at a conference in Banff, Alberta to discuss the ongoing efforts to hold industry and government accountable for legacy environmental damage. The discussions provided an opportunity for Indigenous peoples’ own laws to be brought to the foreground in finding solutions to today’s most difficult environmental challenges — and provided inspiration for this essay series. Environmental Challenges on Indigenous Lands explores the complex conflicts between international, domestic and Indigenous law when it comes to addressing a global environmental crisis, supporting economic development and making steps toward meaningful reconciliation.”

View essay publications of the Environmental Challenges of Indigenous Lands: A CIGI Essay Series here.