The Yukon government did not breach its duty to consult the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation over a farming lease in its traditional territory, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled this morning.
In what could have been a landmark case, the court found the First Nation was amply aware of the government’s process for approving the lease.
“Neither the honour of the Crown nor the duty to consult were breached,” wrote Justice William Binnie in the court’s decision.
“Nor was there any breach of procedural fairness. Nor can it be said that the appellant acted unreasonably in making the decision that he did.”
The case centered on how much governments must consult a First Nation that has a land claim agreement.
The court ruled that the land claim agreement does not deny the duty to consult and that the proper steps were taken in this case to inform the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation of the farming lease.
The court did rule that a duty to consult exists beyond land claim treaties.
It’s not clear when that duty must be enforced.
Two dissenting judges argued that a gap in the consultation requirements of a land claim treaty must be identified for the duty to consult to be enforced beyond treaties. (James Munson)