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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Osoyoos Indian Band v. Oliver (Town)

Supreme Court of Canada – [2001] 3 S.C.R. 746

British Columbia Indian ActLands reserved for IndiansTaxation

Summary

This decision confirms that Band Councils have the power to adopt property tax by-laws on expropriated reserve land, unless the Crown has stated in a clear and plain way its intention of extinguishing the aboriginal title.

Issue

Can an Indian band assess and impose a property tax on expropriated land located within the limits of its reserve?


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Dubé v. Canada

Supreme Court of Canada – [2011] 2 S.C.R. 764

Quebec Indian ActTaxation

Summary

This case was delivered on the same day as Bastien. It determines the location of immaterial personal property relative to a reserve. The tax exemption applies to all personal property of an Indian situated on any reserve, and not one reserve in particular.

Issue

Is interest earned on term deposits considered to be “personal property of an Indian situated on a reserve” to the effect that it is exempt from taxation?


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Bastien Estate v. Canada

Supreme Court of Canada – [2011] 2 S.C.R. 710

Quebec Indian ActTaxation

Summary

This case was delivered on the same day as Dubé. It determines the location of immaterial personal property relative to a reserve. If the location is determined to be on the reserve, the interest income generated from the personal property is also located on the reserve and is exempt from taxation.

Issue

Is the interest income earned by Bastien’s term deposits at the the Caisse populaire Desjardins du Village Huron (Wendake) considered to be “personal property of an Indian situated on a reserve” to the effect that it is exempt from taxation?


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Westbank First Nation v. British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority

Supreme Court of Canada – [1999] 3 S.C.R. 134

British Columbia Lands reserved for IndiansTaxation

Summary

The Supreme Court gives criteria to determine whether a Band imposes “taxation” or “regulatory charge”, and whether it can charge a mandatory of the Crown.

Issue

Does section 125 of the Constitution Act, 1867 prevent an Indian band from assessing and taxing B.C. Hydro, an agent of the provincial Crown?


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Union of New Brunswick Indians v. New Brunswick (Minister of Finance)

Supreme Court of Canada – [1998] 1 S.C.R. 1161

New Brunswick Indian ActTaxation

Summary

This case specifies which goods bought and consumed by Indians are subject to sales tax. The main criterion in order to establish whether the good is “on reserve” and therefore can be exempt is that of the selling point, and not that of use.

Issue

Is New Brunswick’s Social Services and Education Tax Act rendered inoperative by section 87 of the Indian Act since it imposes a sales tax on goods bought off-reserve by status Indians living on a reserve?


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St. Mary’s Indian Band v. Cranbrook (City)

Supreme Court of Canada – [1997] 2 S.C.R. 678

British Columbia Indian ActLands reserved for IndiansTaxation

Summary

When an issue regarding land transactions with Aboriginal peoples arises, it is important to look into the intention of the parties at the time of the transaction. It is important to look further than traditional common law rules.

In this case, a Band that cedes parts of its reserve in exchange for its market value cannot tax it anymore, even though the lands are to be retroceded if they cease to be used for public purposes.

Issue

Could the Band tax the City for lands ceded to the Crown in exchange for their market value, but subject to being retroceded to the Band if they cease to be used for public purposes?


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Francis v. The Queen

Supreme Court of Canada – [1956] S.C.R. 618

Quebec Application of laws to AboriginalsInternational lawTaxationTreaties

Summary

This is a test case of the Mohawk to determine the application of article III of the Jay Treaty, signed by the British Crown and the United States. This article provides that the Indians should not pay duty fees when crossing the boundary with goods.

The Supreme Court rejected the application of the Jay Treaty, affirming that it must be ratified by statute in order to enter into force in Canada.

The Mitchell case, in 2001, complemented this decision. The argument made regarding Aboriginal rights of the Mohawk to cross the boundary without paying duty was not accepted by the Court.

Issue

Do Mohawks from the St. Regis Band have a right to exception from customs and excise taxes protected by the Jay Treaty or the Indian Act?


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Williams v. Canada

Supreme Court of Canada – [1992] 1 S.C.R. 877

British Columbia Indian ActTaxation

Summary

This case expanded the criteria to determine whether Indians’ property on reserve could be exempt from taxation. It was followed and clarified by Bastien and Dubé, in 2011.

Issue

Were Williams’ unemployment insurance benefits exempt from taxation by the federal government under section 87 of the Indian Act?


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