Province Succeeds in Adams Lake Indian Band Appeal

The Province of British Columbia has succeeded in its appeal of the March 2011 B.C. Supreme Court decision where it was found to have not adequately consulted the Adams Lake Indian Band (“ALIB”) before the incorporation of the Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality. In reversing the Chambers Judge, our Court of Appeal questioned the focus of the lower court on matters such as past development concerns. Instead, the focus should have been on the effect of the incorporation itself. The Court stated at paragraph 75:

… there must be a “demonstration of a causal connection between the proposed Crown conduct and a potential adverse impact on an Aboriginal claim or right” before the need for consultation and possible accommodation will arise. The causal connection between the incorporation of the Municipality and their assertion of an adverse impact in this case is difficult to see. I have not been able to discern it clearly in the evidence or in the arguments advanced. I expect this is because the assertion of impact was centred on the more general issues of the past development of the resort, the proposed amendment of the [Master Development Agreement] and the proposed changes to timber administration.

At the end of the day, our B.C. Court of Appeal found the Province’s efforts to consult the ALIB about the incorporation of the municipality was more than adequate to satisfy the duty to consult this First Nation. If you would like to read the full reasons of the Court, press the British Columbia Court of Appeal link attached. If there are any questions about the judgment, contact Reece Harding at Young, Anderson.