Tzeachten First Nation v. Canada Lands Company Ltd

The Supreme Court of British Columbia released a decision on September 10, 2014 in Tzeachten First Nation v. Canada Lands Company Limited, dismissing the plaintiffs' application for severance of the trial of their claim into two phases.

The plaintiff First Nations are seeking possession of two parcels of land that formed part of the former Canadian Armed Forces Base Chilliwack, as well as compensation for the parts of these land parcels that cannot be restored to them and damages for loss of use of these lands. Their claim is put forward on the basis that they hold Aboriginal title to the land parcels, as well as on the basis that the land parcels were set aside for their benefit and use as reserve lands in 1864, only to be wrongfully reduced in size in or around 1868. The plaintiffs sought to sever the trial so that the matter could first be heard on the issue of liabilty, then proceeding to a damages phase only if the defendants are found liable. They argued that doing so would result in significant savings of cost and time for all parties. The Court, however, rejected this argument and expressed concerns with severing a determination of whether the plaintiffs hold Aboriginal title to the lands in question from determinations regarding the alleged infringement and justification of that infringement.
Share this story