Court rules it has no authority to determine adequate consultation or rewrite provincial legislation
The Ontario Superior court has dismissed a challenge by Neskantaga First Nation and its claim of inadequate consultation on a proposed section of the Ring of Fire road.
Neskantaga, a remote Oji-Cree community in the James Bay region, filed an application in November 2021 seeking clarity from the court on how the Ontario government should conduct consultation under the provincial Environmental Assessment Act.
In releasing her decision on Oct. 20, Judge Julia Shin Doi ruled that the court “has no jurisdiction to rewrite” or upgrade the act, nor the authority “to make a declaration on the extent” of Ontario’s duty to consult and accommodate First Nations.
Neskantaga, located 430 kilometres northeast of Thunder Bay, has been an opponent to the proposed road to the Ring of Fire, arguing that there’s an inadequate First Nations consultation framework in Ontario. The community has concerns that the disturbance caused by the movement of heavy equipment and thousands of workers will cause significant environment damage.