BULLETIN: Treaty 9 First Nations To File Claim Against Canada and Ontario Seeking Co-Jurisdiction Over Treaty 9 Lands – by Tracy A. Pratt and Sophie Langlois (Fasken – May 16, 2023)


Recently, several Treaty 9 First Nations[1] announced their intention to commence litigation against the governments of Ontario and Canada challenging the Crown’s exclusive jurisdiction over Treaty 9 lands. Among other things, they assert that Treaty 9 provided that the signatory First Nations would maintain their “way of life”,[2] including co-jurisdiction over, and shared decision-making responsibilities with, the Crown.

Through this action, these Treaty 9 First Nations also will seek to prohibit the governments from granting permits, licences or other approvals respecting land and resource development within the Treaty 9 lands without their consent until a framework for co-jurisdiction is established.

This claim will be of interest to anyone operating, or considering development projects, within the Treaty 9 lands. Treaty 9 covers approximately two-thirds of Ontario’s landmass including the James Bay and Hudson Bay watersheds. Future development in this area is hoped to be a key economic driver for Ontario. For example, the “Ring of Fire” is within the Treaty 9 lands and is considered an extremely promising region for mining of nickel, copper, chrome and other critical minerals relevant to the global clean energy transition.

Relief Sought by the Plaintiffs

Based on the draft Statement of Claim, the Treaty 9 First Nations seek broad relief which, if granted, would fundamentally alter the development process in Ontario. Of most interest, and practical significance, to the resource industry will be the plaintiffs’ requests that the court:

For the rest of this bulletin: https://www.fasken.com/en/knowledge/2023/05/16-treaty-9-first-nations-to-file-claim-against-canada