Court cancels mining permit after Ontario failed to adequately consult First Nation community – by Gloria Galloway (Globe and Mail – July 18, 2018)

A permit for mineral exploration on the traditional territory of a remote First Nation has been cancelled by judges who say the Ontario government and the mining company failed to adequately consult with Indigenous people who hunt and fish in the area.

The decision issued this week by a three-judge panel of the Divisional Court of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice reinforces the obligation of governments to reach out to First Nations, Inuit and Métis when development could affect their way of life.

The court said Landore Resources Canada will have to complete consultations with the Eabametoong First Nation before a permit can be issued for the company’s claim near Keezhik Lake in Northwestern Ontario.

The judges agreed that the duty to consult was “at the lower end of the spectrum” in this case, both because the land had been surrendered to the Crown in a treaty in 1905, and because the permit was for simple exploration. But they pointed to Supreme Court decisions that say the Crown must consult in a meaningful way whenever Indigenous interests are at stake.

In issuing a permit for exploration, the Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines should have engaged in conduct that promotes reconciliation with Indigenous people “as opposed to misunderstanding and betrayal,” the court wrote.

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