Justice Patricia Hennessey has ruled in favour of Robinson Huron Treaty beneficiaries in the second phase of a lawsuit launched by 21 First Nations against the federal and provincial governments over treaty annuity payments.
Hennessy ruled in December 2018 during phase one of the hearings that both Canada and Ontario had failed to live up to its obligations to increase annuity payments over time as mineral and forestry resources were being developed. The annual treaty payment – which currently sees each beneficiary receive $4 annually – hasn’t increased since 1874.
“This century-old dispute between the federal and provincial Crowns is one of the reasons why no increase has been made to the annuities for over 150 years,” said Hennessy in the phase two decision.
“This delay has had enormous negative consequences for the plaintiffs, not the least of which is the cost and complications of litigating this dispute based on two centuries of evidence. It is the stage on which this dispute plays out.”
The Ontario goverment has appealed the phase one decision, while the federal government decided not to appeal.
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