Treaty Rights in the Historic Treaties of Canada



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Thomas Isaac & Kristyn Annis
Contemporary Themes in Aboriginal Law Series
ISBN 978-0-88880-558-4
2010 80 pp. Softcover

The treaties between the Crown and First Nations are unique and hold a distinct position in Canadian law. The historic treaties in Canada, namely, those treaties entered into by the Crown prior to the era of comprehensive land claims and modern treaties beginning in the late 1970s, represent an important part of the relationship between the Crown and Aboriginal peoples.

In this monograph, authors Thomas Isaac and Kristyn Annis examine the legal interpretation of historic treaties in Canada and set out core legal principles from a wide array of case law, generated over decades. They present a straightforward discussion of the relevance of the historic treaties in modern circumstances, helping the reader to understand

  • what is a treaty
  • how courts interpret treaties and how the recognition of treaty rights in the Constitution Act, 1982 affects treaty rights and governmental authority
  • in what circumstances treaty rights can be infringed and how governments must justify infringement of treaty rights
  • what processes exist to deal with outstanding claims under the historic treaties of Canada
  • leading judicial treaty-rights decisions, including decisions outlining the Crown’s duty to consult Aboriginal peoples

The authors provide a brief overview of significant treaties negotiated between First Nations and the Crown in both the pre- and post-Confederation eras.

Thomas Isaac is a partner with the law firm of McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Vancouver. He has published numerous books and many articles in the area and his published work has been cited with approval by numerous Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Kristyn Annis is an associate in the Business Law Group of McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Toronto. She practices in the areas of energy and Aboriginal law. Ms. Annis advises a wide range of clients across the energy sector and has particular experience with respect to First Nations and Métis issues.