Nowegijick v. The Queen

Supreme Court of Canada – [1983] 1 S.C.R. 29

Ontario Indian ActTaxation

Summary

Wages are exempt from taxation when the employer is located on reserve. The Supreme Court calls for a generous interpretation of the tax exemption of the Indian Act in favour of the Indians.

Issue

Is income personal property?


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R. v. George

Supreme Court of Canada – [1966] S.C.R. 267

Ontario Aboriginal rightsIndian ActTreaties

Summary

The Supreme Court refused to interpret the Indian Act as recognizing the paramountcy of treaties over federal legislation – only the provincial legislation must respect the treaties between the Crown and the Indians. This case is no longer applicable, with the constitutional recognition of treaty rights in 1982.

Issue

Does the Treaty of 1827 subtracted Chippewa Indians from the application of the Migratory Birds Convention Act?


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The Queen v. Devereux

Supreme Court of Canada – [1965] S.C.R. 567

Ontario Indian ActLands reserved for Indians

Summary

The Supreme Court decides that a non-Indian is not entitled in this case to stay in possession of reserve land. It is determined to maintain reserves intact for Indians.

Issue

Was Devereux entitled to receive any proceeds from a potential sale of the farm lands he occupied and if so, as an unpaid vendor, was he allowed to remain in possession until the closing of the transaction?


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St. Ann’s Island Shooting and Fishing Club Ltd. v. The King

Supreme Court of Canada – [1950] S.C.R. 211

Ontario Aboriginal titleFiduciary dutyLands reserved for Indians

Summary

Even though it does not mention it, in a way, the St. Ann’s Island Shooting & Fishing Club was the first Supreme Court’s decision to recognize and examine fiduciary relationship between the Crown and Aboriginal (Rotman, 2003: 370). The Crown must act with diligence and care when dealing for the Indians – in this case, an Order in Council authorizing the lease cannot by constructed as giving the Superintendent-General the power to negotiate with the Club for another lease, with new conditions, more than fifty years later. If the need arise for a new lease, a new Order-in-Council on the Governor in Council’s part is needed.

Issue

Did Superintendent-General of Indian Affairs have the power to conclude a new lease with the St. Ann’s Shooting and Fishing Club, and was the surrender of the Chippewas and Pottawatomie Indians of Walpole Island total and definitive?


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Ontario Mining Company Ltd. and Attorney-General for Canada v. Seybold et al. and Attorney-General for Ontario

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – [1903] A.C. 73

Ontario Aboriginal titleLands reserved for IndiansProperty

Summary

This decision confirms the earlier St. Catherine’s Milling ruling. Once the title is surrendered the province becomes the sole owner of the land. The Dominion had no right to grant licenses.

Issue

After the surrender of Indian lands to the Crown, can the province, in which they are situated, dispose of them without the consent of the federal government?


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St. Catherine’s Milling Co. v. The Queen

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council – [1888] 14 A.C. 46

Ontario Aboriginal titleJurisdiction over Indians

Summary

This decision from Canada’s highest court had monumental impacts on the relation between Canada and Aboriginal peoples. It governed Canada’s policy over Indian title for almost a century, until Calder, in 1973.

The Council recognized that the Royal Proclamation of 1763 gave the Indians only a right of occupancy, which encroached on the Province’s title. Once this right is ceded to the Dominion, full proprietary interest reverts to the province.

Issue

When a parcel of land ceased to be part of an Indian reserve, which jurisdiction owns the title: the provincial or the federal government?


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Communications, Energy and Paperworkers Union of Canada v. Native Child and Family Services of Toronto

Supreme Court of Canada — [2010] 2 S.C.R. 737

Ontario Jurisdiction over Indians

Summary

This decision is about the labour relations of an agency operating with an aboriginal clientele fall under federal jurisdiction. Since the essential nature of the agency’s activities is to give children’s aid, it is provincial, not federal.

If the aboriginal character of agency’s activities is predominant, Native Child would be considered as a federal undertaking and would be subject to federal laws.

Issue

Do the labour relations of the Native Child and Family Services of Toronto (“Native Child”) fall under federal or provincial jurisdiction?


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R. v. Powley

Supreme Court of Canada – [2003] 2 S.C.R. 207

Ontario Aboriginal rightsMétis

Summary

Powley is a leading case in asserting Métis’ rights. It established a test to determine whether a community can be considered as “Métis” under the Constitution, and whether an individual can be considered as a member of this community.

It was delivered on the same day as Blais.

Issue

Does Ontario’s Game and Fish Act contravene the Métis’ Aboriginal right protected under section 35 (1) of the Constitution Act, 1982?


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R. v. Decorte

Supreme Court of Canada – [2005] 1 S.C.R. 9

Ontario Criminal lawGovernance (self-determination, self-government)

Summary

The Supreme Court of Canada recognizes the role and validity of First Nations’ polices.

Issue

Was Decorte illegally detained when he was stopped by the First Nations constables?


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R. v. Pamajewon

Supreme Court of Canada – [1996] 2 S.C.R. 821

Ontario Aboriginal rights

Summary

In this decision, the Supreme Court of Canada considered the aboriginal right to maintain large scale gambling activities. If they do not completely close the door to the possible existence of such a right for some First Nations, the judges are quite severe and only leave a small opening.

Issue

Can large scale gambling activities be considered as an aboriginal right according to section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982?


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