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This section focuses on the Crown's obligation to consult with Aboriginal communities who may be affected by new legislation or development projects.
Last Updated: Jun 27, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates
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Overview of Duty to Consult

Duty to Consult

The Duty to Consult refers to Canada's constitutional obligation to engage in a consultative process with Aboriginal communities should treaty rights be potentially impacted by development projects relating to natural resources and land use. These consultations are conducted among federal and provincial/territorial governments and the Aboriginal communities in question.

In this dedicated LibGuide page, we guide you through the intricacies of the Duty to Consult and all the issues that are associated with it as process evolves with new legislation, court decisions, and so on.


Quick Facts About Consultation

These resources offer a quick primer on the Duty to Consult and how it affects Aboriginal communities.


Common Ground - Aboriginal Hunters & Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officers (BearPaw Media)

"Common Ground is a documentary-drama that depicts an interaction between an Aboriginal Hunter and an Alberta Fish and Wildlife Officer. Featuring commentary from traditional Aboriginal Hunters and leadership from Alberta’s Fish and Wildlife Enforcement Branch, Common Ground explores their historical and contemporary relationship - and the common ground they stand on."


Case Studies


Relations With First Nations

"CBC's Duncan McCue takes a look at the unfolding relationship between Canada's First Nations and Ottawa"

Original broadcast: January 10, 2013.



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Other Guides to Check Out

For other relevant guides, please check out the following.

Aboriginal Identity, Treaty & Status Rights
by Stefanie Varze - Last Updated Jun 27, 2017
This section contains resources relating to who classifies or identifies as Aboriginal, and what their legal rights are.
21 views this year

Duty to Consult (University of Manitoba)

"Produced by the University of Manitoba's Centre for Human Rights Research for use at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's first national event, held in Winnipeg June 2010."


Supreme Court of Canada Decisions

The duty to consult Aboriginal communities as it is practiced in Canada is typically in practice based on various Supreme Court of Canada decisions. Below are some of the most important Supreme Court decisions which guide the consultation process.


Policies and Guidelines

The following documents offer specific guidelines for the province of Alberta when engaging with the Aboriginal communities for the consultation process. Further guidelines and policies for other provincial jurisdictions in Canada are available in the "Web Links" tab on the left hand panel of this page.

Other Legislation Concerning Aboriginal Status & Treaty Rights

The following links compile the various legislation and agreements that Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) preside over for meeting the Government of Canada's obligations and commitments to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis peoples.

For a background primer on the Indian Act and how it has impacted Aboriginal people and their relationship with the Canadian government, please read this article from CBC News.

  • List of Acts
    A listing of written laws, or statutes, that are enacted by Parliament that concern the status of Canada's Aboriginal peoples with full text where available. The list of Acts (which includes the Indian Act) are divided by those where the AANDC Minister has sole responsibility and those where the Minister shares responsibility.
  • List of Regulations
    List of regulations currently in force by AANDC.
  • Land Claims (Comprehensive)
    Comprehensive land claims deal with the unfinished business of treaty-making in Canada. These claims generally arise in areas of Canada where Aboriginal land rights have not been dealt with by treaty or through other legal means. In these areas, forward-looking agreements (also called "modern treaties") are negotiated between the Aboriginal group, Canada and the province or territory.

    The status and information on the negotiation of these claims are collected here.
  • Land Claims (Specific)
    Specific claims deal with the past grievances of First Nations. These grievances relate to Canada's obligations under historic treaties or the way it managed First Nation funds or assets. The Government of Canada prefers to resolve these claims by negotiating settlements with First Nations. Negotiations lead to “win-win” solutions that bring closure, benefits and certainty for all Canadians.

Resolving Specific Land Claims For Everyone's Benefit (AANDC)

"Where do land claims come from and how are they resolved? How do land claims affect third parties and who benefits when they are settled? This educational video answers these key questions about land-related specific claims."


Aboriginal Title (University of Manitoba)

"Produced by the University of Manitoba's Centre for Human Rights Research for use at the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada's first national event, held in Winnipeg June 2010."

For more information, please read this primer on Aboriginal Title from UBC's Indigenous Foundations.


Understanding The Definition And Scope Of The Duty To Consult

"Miller Thomson LLP How have recent case law developments shed light on the basic questions, such as: What is the scope of the duty to consult? When is the duty triggered? What is included in "contemplated Crown conduct"? How much of the duty can be delegated a) to municipalities? b) to proponents? How much of what proponents do, goes towards the discharge of the Crown's duty? How are Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council and Adams Lake Indian Band v. British Columbia being applied by lower courts? Clarifying the role of regulatory bodies with respect to the duty to consult Looking at how the B.C. Court of Appeal decision in West Moberly First Nations v. British Columbia (Chief Inspector of Mines) has further shaped the Crown's duty to consult with respect to past impacts and cumulative effects, and the issue of Crown accommodation Understanding how the recent trend towards complex partnership agreements is affecting accommodation by the Crown."


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