Federal Court

Aboriginal Peoples

Band council to reconsider decision including giving farmer opportunity to be heard

First Nation allowed non-Aboriginal farmers to farm on reserve lands under permits. Farmer had been allowed to farm on reserve since 1981. Farmer’s latest permits would expire on March 31, 2016. First Nation’s band council alleged various types of impropriety against farmer. Band council notified farmer in December 2013 that he would no longer be allowed to farm on reserve land as of March 31, 2014. Farmer brought application for judicial review. Application granted; matter remitted for reconsideration. Band council was to reconsider decision in accordance with directions that included giving farmer opportunity to be heard. Farmer was entitled to procedural fairness before decision was made to terminate permits before they expired. There was no authority suggesting procedural fairness should not apply to band council’s decision. Decision was of immense importance to farmer’s business. Farmer had legitimate expectations that band council would secure permits he needed until March 31, 2016. Whole history of farmer’s long association with First Nation required band council to provide farmer with adequate notice of case he had to answer before decision was made to terminate relationship with him.

Hengerer v. Blood Indians on the Blood Indian Reserve No. 148 (Mar. 6, 2014, F.C., James Russell J., File No. T-284-14) 239 A.C.W.S. (3d) 6.

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