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Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia

Supreme Court of Canada
[2014] 2 S.C.R. 256 (2014)


Facts

The Tsilhqot’in Nation (plaintiff) consists of six bands living in central British Columbia (defendant). The Tsilhqot’in Nation never entered into a treaty with the Canadian government resolving their traditional land claims. In 1983, the province of British Columbia granted Carrier Lumber Ltd. a license to cut trees in forest territory claimed by the Xeni Gwet’in First Nations government, one of the six bands constituting the Tsilhqot’in Nation. The Xeni Gwet’in objected to the grant and sought to prohibit commercial logging on the land. The claim was later amended to seek aboriginal title on behalf of all Tsilhqot’in people to approximately 5 percent of their traditional territory. The federal and provincial governments opposed the Tsilhqot’in land claim. The trial court found that the Tsilhqot’in were entitled to a declaration of Aboriginal title but refused to make a declaration for procedural reasons no longer asserted by British Columbia. The British Columbia Court of Appeal held that title had not been established but left open the possibility that the Tsilhqot’in could prove title to certain sites. The court of appeal limited the Tsilhqot’in to hunting, trapping, and harvesting rights. The Tsilhqot’in appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning

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