Ottawa’s Ring of Fire assessment process declared unconstitutional by Alberta court – by Staff (Northern Ontario Business – May 16, 2022)

Pro-oilsands First Nations calls non-binding decision a ‘victory for Indigenous rights’

The federal environmental and social assessment being applied in the Ring of Fire was declared unconstitutional by an Alberta court. And an Indigenous business organization in that province is “gratified” with the opinion.

Alberta’s Court of Appeal handed down a non-binding decision on May 10 that the Impact Assessment Act (IAA) is “legislative creep” that threatens the division of power between the federal and provincial government guaranteed in the Constitution.

The majority of the five-judge panel ruled the province has authority over the development and management of natural resources, among other matters of public lands, and rejected the Canadian government’s argument that it has authority over fisheries, “Indians, and Lands reserved for the Indians.”

The Alberta government launched the challenge. The Trudeau government has said it will immediately appeal. Though the matter will likely end up in the Supreme Court of Canada, the federal assessment in the Ring of Fire will continue.

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