The Nunavut Court of Appeal has affirmed, in a decision issued on April 23, 2014, that the Government of Canada breached Section 12.7.6 of the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement (NLCA) by failing to properly implement the Nunavut General Monitoring Plan, and that the Inuit of Nunavut are entitled to substantial damages. The Court of Appeal, however, has ruled that the precise amount of the damages should be determined after the court hears all the evidence on all the breaches at the main trial.
“The Court’s decision confirms that the Government of Canada, representing the Crown, needs to get serious with honoring and implementing its obligations under the NLCA,” said James Eetoolook, NTI’s Acting President. “History is filled with many sad chapters involving broken promises made to Aboriginal peoples by the Crown. We cannot change history, but we can hope for a better future. NTI is calling on the Government of Canada to honor all the promises under the NLCA and uphold the honor of the Crown in doing so.”
Eetoolook said that NTI is reviewing the decision with its counsel and will determine its next course of action with regard to the summary judgment shortly.
The Appeal, initiated by the Government of Canada, stemmed from Justice Earl Johnson’s decision dated June 27, 2012 that found NTI was entitled to $14.8 million in damages for the failure of the Government of Canada to implement a General Monitoring Plan in accordance with Article 12.7.6 of the NLCA. That summary, or expedited, judgment was one part of a much larger lawsuit initiated by NTI in December, 2006 with respect to a variety of failures on the part of Crown to implement the NLCA fairly and fully. The main part of the lawsuit is scheduled to go to final trial in March, 2015.
The NLCA was signed in 1993 and is protected under the Canadian Constitution, as well as having binding contractual force.