Neskonlith Decision Provides Clarity for Local Governments

A significant decision for all BC local governments came down on September 24, 2012, as the British Columbia Court of Appeal dismissed the Neskonlith Indian Band's legal appeal. The appeal arose from the April 4, 2012 verdict in the Neskonlith Indian Band v. City of Salmon Arm case, which essentially concluded that local governments do not have a constitutional obligation to consult with First Nations with respect to the issuance of development permits.

The outcome of the appeal provides much needed direction for local governments and First Nations moving forward, as it clarifies obligations in relation to consultation and accommodation—obligations that have been undeniably unclear to date.

In order to ensure that the BC local government voice was represented throughout the appeal process, UBCM obtained intervener status. Appeal findings and commentary are available from Valkyrie Law Group, LLP, who represented UBCM in the appeal.

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