Top Title Stories of 2014!

Jan 6th, 2015 | By FCT

There was one big story in land titles this year so much so that it has introduced a new term into the vernacular, particularly for legal departments of Canada’s resource companies- “Aboriginal Title.” It is truly a game changer and as has been described as the watermark of a new era in aboriginal/government/ corporate relations in Canada. There are many related stories to our top story in the top 5 title stories for 2014.

1.    Supreme Court confirms Aboriginal Title
In late June of 2014 the Supreme Court of Canada announced its decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation land dispute and confirmed aboriginal title, for the first time, to a specific tract of land (where no land claims treaty exists).

Aboriginal title means that governments and others seeking to use land must obtain the consent of the aboriginal title holders. What that consent entails, though, is not clear from the judgment. Still, if a government proceeds with a project that does not have the prior consent of First Nations peoples, the ruling says “it may be required to cancel the project upon establishment of the title…”
Read more here.

2.    Supreme Court rules in favour of Province over Grassy Narrows First Nation Logging rights
In a matter of weeks after the Tsilhqot’in decision the Supreme Court ruled against the First Nation in a logging dispute. The key difference with the in Tsilhqot’in decision was that the Grassy Narrows First Nation had an existing treaty agreement so Aboriginal title did not apply. And yes you will likely need a law degree to understand and interpret these two rulings together.

3.    Hereditary Chiefs of Gitxsan First Nation serve eviction notices to rail and logging companies
In the wake of the Tsilhqot’in Supreme Court Decision, a number of First Nations issued eviction notices to companies to leave their territory for a dispute over treaty talks with federal and provincial governments.  Check out the link here.

4.    Prentice will not sell Alberta Land title Registry.    
Apparently the privatization of the land title registry is not on the table in Alberta anymore according to its pre-election Premier, Jim Prentice. Although Alberta is often positioned as the most “pro-private sector” of the provinces distinct from its neighbour on the Left Coast, BC  and the birthplace of Canada’s socialized healthcare system by Saskatchewan its neighbour to the east. One issue Saskatchewan clearly gets the business friendly nod is on land title privatization- Saskatchewan sold minority shares in its Information Services Corporation which retains its land title records in 2013 – while the land title system is 100% government owned in Alberta. Then again it was an election promise in Alberta

5.    Land Title Disputes persist in historic African-Nova Scotian communities outside of Dartmouth
While Canada was the end of the Underground Railway bringing runaway slaves to freedom north of 54’40, the history of the black Canadian community in Canada was still a struggle against racism and oppression when they arrived. One of the legacies is the challenges of land title in these communities outside of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. A recent report has brought these issues into perspective.

What was your favourite title related story of 2014?    Send us your comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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