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Pipeline Project’s Approval Killed for Failing to Adequately Consult First Nations

A federal court quashed the federal approval of the proposed Northern Gateway Project, which would consist of two oil pipelines. The court ruled that although interested parties had ample opportunity to participate in the environmental assessment process, the federal government failed to adequately consult with First Nations before the governor-in-council approved the project. Specifically, the court held that Canada “offered only a brief, hurried and inadequate opportunity” for consultation with First Nations before approving the project, which “left entire subjects of central interest to the affected First Nations, sometimes subjects affecting their subsistence and well-being, entirely ignored.” Canada may reconsider its approval but must fulfil its consultation requirements before coming to any conclusions [Gitxaala Nation v. Canada, [2016] FCA 187, June 23, 2016].