aboriginal law

Employment Opportunity: Project Lead - Indigenous Community Facilitator Network

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


RELAW (Revitalizing Indigenous Law for Land, Air and Water) is seeking a project lead to develop and launch an Indigenous community facilitator network, with an initial focus on development and delivery of training curriculum for Indigenous community facilitators. Deadline for applications is December 18, 2015.

Fort Nelson First Nation Shuts Down Nexen’s License to Frack

20 November, 2015

In September, the Fort Nelson First Nation won a major legal challenge at the Environmental Appeal Board (EAB) that overturned a long term water license issued to gas giant Nexen Inc for hydraulic fracturing (or “fracking”). The EAB decision is an important win – setting new precedents on how water managers should deal with scientific uncertainty and the government’s obligations to consult First Nations on water use.

BC Premier Christy Clark presents on shale gas operations in BC. Photo by Province of BC (License:

West Coast signs an open letter about the NEB process

Monday, November 16, 2015

West Coast, along with dozens of environmental organizations across the country, releases an open letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Catherine McKenna, Minister of Environment and Climate Change about the NEB process. Read the letter here.

Day 6: Judges left to decide fate of Enbridge

9 October, 2015

First Nations and environmental organizations had a chance to make reply submissions before the Federal Court of Appeal today. This six-day hearing was the culmination of thousands of hours of work, mountains of documents, and tremendous displays of community support. Now it is up to the panel of three judges to decide the fate of the Enbridge pipeline. Keep an eye out for the release of the decision sometime in the upcoming months!

The sixth and final day of the Enbridge hearing was as charged and exciting as the first. The Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers (CAPP) was up first to make submissions on whether or not the Enbridge pipeline is in the ‘public interest’. Neither Canada nor Northern Gateway made submissions on the issue of public interest and instead chose to rely on arguments made by CAPP.

Yinka Dene Alliance kick off Day 2 of the Enbridge hearing

2 October, 2015

Day 2: Another inspired and spirited day at the Enbridge Hearing! The courtroom was jam-packed all day as lawyers for the Nak’azdli, Nadleh Whut’en, Gitga’at and Gitxaała Nations presented their arguments. This wrapped up the submissions from the eight First Nations applicants. Next Monday, October 5th, four environmental organizations and a labour union will make their case against the Enbridge approval so… stay tuned!

Spirits remained high in the 8th floor courtroom even as a dense fog settled on downtown Vancouver. The courtroom was jam-packed all day long while lawyers representing the Nak’azdli, Nadleh Whut’en, Gitga’at and Gitxaała Nations made their cases. Watching the proceedings on a video-screen in an overflow room felt a bit like going to a matinee movie screening. Except with less popcorn and far more mention of “jurisdictional mazes”.

Day 1 of Enbridge hearings: #UnitedAgainstEnbridge in the courtroom and on the streets

1 October, 2015

Four First Nations made their case in front of the Federal Court of Appeal today while hundreds rallied outside to show their support and express opposition to the Enbridge pipeline. Inside the packed courtroom, lawyers presented compelling arguments and answered challenging questions as chanting and drumming could be heard from 8 floors down. Stay tuned for Day 2 of the hearing tomorrow October 2nd. Nak’azdli and Nadleh Whut’en Nations, WCEL’s clients, are getting things started at 9:30am!

Representatives from the Haisla, Haida, Kitasoo Xai’xais, Heiltsuk, Nadleh Whut’en, Nak’azdli, Gitga’at and Gitxaala Nations travelled hundreds of kilometers to attend proceedings in front of the Federal Court of Appeal from October 1st – October 8th. These eight First Nations are challenging the federal government’s approval of the Enbridge pipeline and oil tanker project on the grounds that the federal government violated First Nations rights.

Legal challenge to Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project

Monday, August 31, 2015

You are invited to join us in a historic legal battle this fall as we head to court on October 1st to challenge Enbridge's Northern Gateway pipeline and tanker project. Find out more.


Adding to the pile: Another legal challenge regarding Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal argues BC is required to make its own decision

18 February, 2015

The pile of lawsuits sitting on top of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines and Tankers Project keeps getting bigger, and this time the Province of British Columbia has been dragged into the mix.

In January 2015 a new legal challenge was launched by Gitga’at First Nation and Coastal First Nations, arguing that the Province of BC has a legal duty to make its own decision about the Enbridge project, and to consult impacted First Nations before doing so.

This legal challenge adds to the ever-growing array of obstacles that have stopped Enbridge’s Northern Gateway from making any significant progress despite obtaining conditional federal approval last summer.


The pile of lawsuits sitting on top of the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipelines and Tankers Project keeps getting bigger, and this time the Province of British Columbia has been dragged into the mix.

Tsleil-Waututh Nation: “Yes” to solar; “No” to Kinder Morgan

21 January, 2015

I was honoured to attend the Tsleil-Waututh Nation’s (TWN) launch and celebration of its new solar tracker. With the installation of TWN’s solar tracker, TWN signaled that the green energy future is now. Far more than just opposing a pipeline that threatens their culture and spirituality while facilitating the expansion of the tar sands leading to runaway climate change, TWN is demonstrating leadership by investing in alternatives and looking to the future.

Carleen Thomas with parents & grand daughters
Solar is Intergenerational: TWN Sacred Trust member Carleen Thomas with her parents Ernest and Dee George and granddaughters Lily, Miya and Jasmine.

“We have installed this solar tracker outside of our daycare centre to remind

Federal Court: Canada Acted Unconstitutionally in Ramming Through 2012 Environmental Law Changes

Monday, December 22, 2014

VANCOUVER, COAST SALISH TERRITORIES– The Federal Court of Canada has ruled that Canada failed to uphold its constitutional duties to the Mikisew Cree First Nation when it rammed through sweeping changes to federal environmental laws in 2012. West Coast Environmental Law congratulates the Mikisew Cree on their successful legal challenge to the federal government’s 2012 changes to environmental protection and assessment laws.

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