April 21st, 2024

Supreme Court upholds First Nation election requirement, rules that Charter applies

By The Canadian Press on March 28, 2024.

OTTAWA – The Supreme Court of Canada is upholding a rule that requires members of a Yukon First Nation to live in its community should they want to serve on its council.

Cindy Dickson had been fighting in the courts to have that requirement declared unconstitutional because it means council members must move back to the community within 14 days of winning a seat.

Living about 800 kilometres away, Dickson was unable to move to Old Crow if elected because her son requires access to medical care not available in the community.

The self-governing First Nation’s rule, however, was found by the majority of the court to constitute a specific government activity, and the court ruled that the Charter of Rights and Freedoms applies.

The Court found that while Section 25 of the Charter applies, so too do the individual rights in Section 15.

But in a case where both apply, the court ruled the aboriginal and treaty rights laid out in Section 25 prevail.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 28, 2024.

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