Supreme Court rules in favour of Yukon First Nations in Peel watershed dispute

“Unanimous decision requires gov't to consider independent commission's plan, gov't sought to restart process.

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled in favour of Yukon First Nations in their fight to protect the Peel watershed region, overturning a decision that rolled back years of planning and ordering the government to consider a final recommended plan proposed by an independent commission.

The unanimous ruling released Friday ends a five-year legal battle between the Yukon government and a group of First Nations and environmental groups. The case was fought in territorial courts before the First Nations and environmental groups appealed to the country's highest court.

A Supreme Court hearing was held in Ottawa in March.

In the ruling Friday, written by Justice Andromache Karakatsanis, the court upheld a ruling by a trial judge to quash the territorial government's final land use plan, ordering the planning process to resume at an earlier stage.

Changes made by the territorial government's land use plan "did not respect the Chapter 11 process," the decision reads. "Respect for this process is especially important where, as here, the planning area includes First Nations' traditional territories within non-settlement areas.

"As both the trial judge and Court of Appeal noted, Yukon's conduct was not becoming of the honour of the Crown."”

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Article Source: www.cbc.ca

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