Alberta (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development) v. Cunningham

Supreme Court of Canada – [2011] 2 S.C.R. 670

Alberta Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsGovernance (self-determination, self-government)IdentityMétis

Summary

The Court determined that Métis could be refused rights guaranteed by the Metis Settlement Act upon registering as status Indians.

 This treatment could be considered a violation to the right to equality guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as it creates a distinction between Métis with Indian status and those without, but it comes from an ameliorative program with the goal of enriching the culture, identity and autonomy of the Métis.

Issue

Do the Métis Settlements Act violate the Charter? If yes, is this violation a reasonable limit imposed by a rule of law that is justified in a free and democratic society?


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R. v. Kapp

Supreme Court of Canada – [2008] 2 S.C.R. 483

British Columbia Aboriginal rightsCanadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsDiscrimination

Summary

The Supreme Court confirmed that “preferential” measures towards Aboriginals in terms of fisheries (exlusive periods, for example) are valid and legal in Canadian law, and they do not violate the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Issue

Does the communal fishing licence granted under the Aboriginal Communal Fishing Licences Regulations violate the non-Aboriginal fishers’ equality rights protected by the Charter?


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Lovelace v. Ontario

Supreme Court of Canada – [2000] 1 S.C.R. 950

Ontario Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsGovernance (self-determination, self-government)

Summary

This case addresses discrimination towards Aboriginals who are not registered as registered Indians. Because, in part, of the particular context and the differences between registered Indians and others, the Court found that there was no discrimination.

Issue

Is the exclusion of non-Indian communities from the Rama Casino’s profit sharing a violation of the right to equality (section 15 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms) and was the decision made by the Ontario government and the Chiefs of Ontario out of jurisdiction under the Constitution Act, 1867?


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Corbiere v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs)

Supreme Court of Canada – [1999] 2 S.C.R. 203

Ontario Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsGovernance (self-determination, self-government)Indian Act

Summary

This case underlines the complexity of the Indian Act’s governance regime, and the great diversity between every band’s situations.

It was a victory for Indians living outside the reserve, who were suffering from discrimination in the band’s affairs.

Issue

Is Aboriginality-residence an analogous ground of discrimination according to the Charter, and, if so, can it constitute a reasonable limit in a free and democratic society and thus not be contrary to the Charter?


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Native Women’s Assn. of Canada v. Canada

Supreme Court of Canada – [1994] 3 S.C.R. 627

Ontario Canadian Charter of Rights and FreedomsDiscriminationNegociation

Summary

The Native Women’s Association of Canada asked to be treated in the same way as other native organizations in terms of financing and constitutional consultation.

The Court rejected its request, in part because women were also represented by the other organizations, and because NWAC does not represent all aboriginal women. The Court also noted that section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 does not give Aboriginals a right to be consulted in constitutional negotiations.

Issue

Does the Charter create an obligation for the federal government to allocate funding to Aboriginal women’s groups, equal to that given to their male-dominated counterparts, and is the federal government violating the Charter if it does not include a group representing Aboriginal women in the negotiations on constitutional reform?


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