Federal Court


Aboriginal Peoples

Crown relationship
Decision to appoint third party management to ensure delivery of essential social programs was reasonable

Application for judicial review to set aside decision of Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development Canada, as carried out by Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada (AANDC) to place applicant, Thunderchild First Nation (TFN) under third party management following its refusal to sign Aboriginal Recipient Funding Agreement (ARFA) for 2014-2015 fiscal year. TFN chose not to sign ARFA because of previous stated concerns about absence of consultation; fact that agreement was affording wider discretion to Minister; insufficient funding; and requirement that Band Council prepare consolidated audit. Decision had been taken to place TFN under third party management to ensure that AANDC programs and services continued to be delivered to people of TFN. Application dismissed. AANDC made significant efforts to find alternative solution and to come to agreement with TFN for funding its programs and services. While court agreed that TFN did not lack ability to manage its own finances, it was lack of ARFA that was determinative. Given circumstances, decision to appoint third party management to ensure delivery of essential social programs was reasonable and fell within range of possible, acceptable outcomes. TFN chose not to participate in review of process by which AANDC addressed concerns of First Nations of Saskatchewan with respect to ARFA for 2014-2015 fiscal year. TFN could not now rely on fact that it was not consulted in meaningful and serious manner. Minister neither failed to observe principles of natural justice nor his duty to consult and accommodate.

Thunderchild First Nation v. Canada (Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development) (Feb. 18, 2015, F.C., George R. Locke J., File No. T-791-14) 250 A.C.W.S. (3d) 181.

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