Federal Court

Aboriginal Peoples


Record too sparse to conclude that First Nation fell within definition of ‘Band’ in Indian Act (Can.)

Delegate of Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada refused applicant First Nation’s request for $5,000 to be paid to it from trust money held by Government of Canada. Funds were sought to assist First Nation in paying for research to be used in negotiations with Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Refusal was based on fact that First Nation was not recognized Band pursuant to Indian Act (Can.). First Nation applied for judicial review of minister’s delegate’s decision. Application dismissed. In order to make declaration that applicant sought, namely that Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development held funds for its benefit, court would first have to find that First Nation was entitled to claim money on basis that land in New Brunswick that was set aside as reserve land in 1881 was set aside for Passamaquoddy people. Court would then have to find that members of First Nation were successors to Passamaquoddy people for whom reserve was created. Effect of such findings would be that First Nation would then come within definition of Band in s. 2 of Act, and would be entitled to social programs and other benefits. However, record before court was far too sparse to make findings First Nation sought. Delegate’s decision was not incorrect or unreasonable, based on limited record before him when decision was made. Delegate did not apply wrong standard of proof in rejecting First Nation’s request for fund.

Schoodic Band v. Canada (Attorney General) (Dec. 21, 2015, F.C., Anne L. Mactavish J., T-1183-14) 262 A.C.W.S. (3d) 4.

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