Judge finds province has duty to consult First Nations on mineral tenure claims

VANCOUVER- A British Columbia Supreme Court judge has given the province 18 months to fix its mineral rights system after a court challenge by First Nations who claimed they were owed a duty to consult under the Constitution. In October 2021, the Gitxaala Nation filed a petition challenging the province’s online mineral tenure registry, which automatically granted mineral rights on its territory without consultation. The Ehattesaht First Nation filed a similar petition in June 2022, and the B.C. Supreme Court heard the cases together this spring. The court’s ruling released Tuesday says the B.C. government claimed in court that the system did not “create adverse impacts” great enough to trigger a constitutionally mandated duty to consult First Nations. The nation’s original court petition not only sought to change the system, but…

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