Federal Court


Aboriginal Peoples

SELF-GOVERNMENT

Permanent residency requirement was not met by Chief

Current Chief of Cowessess First Nation was evicted from house on Reserve because of non-payment of rent. Current Chief lived in Regina and no longer had home on Reserve. Current Chief maintained farmland that he worked on Reserve and kept equipment on land. Motion was passed to transfer unit to current Chief. Tenant refused to vacate unit and current Chief was unable to take occupancy. Current Chief refused to call meeting to discuss issues with respect to his residency and Cowessess First Nation #73 Custom Election Act. Current Chief was not allocated house on Reserve. Band Council refused to order by-election to fill position of Chief. There was dispute about whether position of Chief was vacant by operation of law, which concerned current Chief’s compliance with residency requirements set out in Act. Applicants sought judicial review. Application granted. Position was deemed vacant. Respondents did not adduce sufficient evidence to show traditional understanding of permanent residence. Relevant provisions of Act required physical presence of Chief on Reserve. Record showed current Chief did not take up residence on Reserve. Permanent residency requirement was not met. Current Chief did not take up permanent residence on Reserve within three-month time period required by Act, which triggered article of Act that mandated that when person elected as Chief did not take up permanent residence as required by Act, position of Chief was deemed vacant.

Ferguson v. Lavallee (Jun. 13, 2014, F.C., E. Heneghan J., File No. T-1412-13) 242 A.C.W.S. (3d) 756.

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