Ardoch Algonquin First Nation v. Ont., [2000] 1 SCR 950

Judge:L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, McLachlin, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache and Arbour, JJ.
Court:Supreme Court of Canada
Case Date:July 20, 2000
Jurisdiction:Canada (Federal)
Citations:[2000] 1 SCR 950;JE 2000-1451;255 NR 1;[2000] CarswellOnt 2460;(2000), 255 N.R. 1 (SCC);134 OAC 201;[2000] 4 CNLR 145;48 OR (3d) 735;188 DLR (4th) 193;98 ACWS (3d) 1;2000 SCC 37;[2000] SCJ No 36 (QL);75 CRR (2d) 189
 
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Ardoch Algonquin First Nation v. Ont. (2000), 255 N.R. 1 (SCC)

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[French language version follows English language version]

[La version française vient à la suite de la version anglaise]

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Temp. Cite: [2000] N.R. TBEd. JL.020

Robert Lovelace, on his own behalf and on behalf of the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and Allies, the Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and Allies, and Chief Kris Nahrgang, on behalf of the Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation, the Kawartha Nishnawbe First Nation, Chief Roy Meaniss on his own behalf and on behalf of the Beaverhouse First Nation, the Beaverhouse First Nation, Chief Theron McCrady on his own behalf and on behalf of the Poplar Point Ojibway First Nation, the Poplar Point Ojibway First Nation, and the Bonnechere Métis Association and Be-Wab-Bon Métis and Non-Status Indian Association and Ontario Métis Aboriginal Association (appellants) v. Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Ontario and The Chiefs of Ontario (respondents) and Attorney General of Canada, Attorney General of Quebec, Attorney General for Saskatchewan, Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Mnjikaning First Nation, Charter Committee on Poverty Issues, Congress of Aboriginal Peoples, Native Women's Association of Canada, Métis National Council of Women (intervenors)

(26165; 2000 SCC 37)

Indexed As: Ardoch Algonquin First Nation and Allies et al. v. Ontario et al.

Supreme Court of Canada

L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, McLachlin, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache and Arbour, JJ.

July 20, 2000.

Summary:

The Ontario government implemented a pilot project to distribute gambling profits from a casino to Ontario Indian Bands reg­istered under the Indian Act. Certain Indian groups and Métis groups (applicants), not registered as Indian Bands under the Act, were excluded from the negotiations and would not receive a share of casino profits. The applicants applied for a declaration that they had a right to share in the profits. The applicants claimed a denial of their equality rights under s. 15 of the Charter by the government's underinclusive pilot project.

The Ontario Court (General Division), in a judgment reported 14 O.T.C. 105, held that the government's exclusionary actions and policies violated the applicants' equality rights under s. 15 and were ultra vires the province as infringing on the federal power respecting Indians (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 91(24)). The court held that the applicants had a right to participate in the negotiations and a right to share in the casino proceeds. The government and the Chiefs of Ontario appealed. The three main issues were (1) whether the applicants' equality rights were violated; (2) whether the project was ultra vires the province because of the federal government's exclusive jurisdiction over Indians (Constitution Act, 1867, s. 91(24)) and (3) whether the relief ordered by the trial judge was justified.

The Ontario Court of Appeal, in a judg­ment reported 100 O.A.C. 344, allowed the appeal. The main object of the project was to ameliorate the social and economic con­di­tions of a disadvantaged group (Indian Bands) within the meaning of s. 15(2) of the Charter. Since non-Band Indians were not mem­bers of the object group, there was no dis­crimination by excluding them from the project. According­ly, there was no need to consider s. 1 of the Charter. The project, being a straightfor­ward exercise of the pro­vincial spending power, did not infringe on the federal gov­ernment's exclusive jurisdic­tion over Indians (s. 91(24)). In any event, the relief ordered by the trial judge went too far. He should have limited himself to a declaration of invalidity. The applicants ap­pealed.

The Supreme Court of Canada dismissed the appeal. It was unnecessary to decide the appeal on the basis of s. 15(2). The underin­clusive project, although treating equally disadvantaged groups differently, did not constitute discrimination within the meaning and purpose of s. 15(1). The court affirmed that the project did not infringe the federal jurisdiction over Indians under s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act.

Civil Rights - Topic 1034

Discrimination - Race and national or ethnic origin - Indians - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5586 ].

Civil Rights - Topic 5504

Equality and protection of the law - Gen­eral principles and definitions - Scope of right - The Supreme Court of Canada sum­mar­ized the basic principles relating to the purpose of s. 15(1) of the Charter and the proper approach to equality analysis gen­erally, stating that "the synthesized ap­proach requires that the determination of a dis­crimi­nation claim be grounded in three broad inquiries. ... First, we must examine whether the law, program or activity im­poses differ­ential treatment between the claimant and others. Secondly, we must es­tablish whether this differential treatment is based on one or more enu­merated or anal­ogous grounds. And finally, we must ask whether the impugned law, program or ac­tivity has a purpose or effect that is sub­stantively discriminatory. ... This three-staged inquiry is not to be under­taken ac­cording to a fixed formula or a rigid test. Rather, s. 15(1) is to be inter­preted in a purposive and contextual man­ner in order to permit the realization of the provision's strong remedial purpose, and to avoid the pitfalls of a formalistic or mech­anical ap­proach. ... The central purpose of the guar­antee in s. 15(1) is to protect against the violation of essential human dignity. ... The question to be asked is whether, tak­ing the perspective of a 'rea­sonable person in cir­cumstances similar to those of the claim­ant who takes into account the con­textual factors relevant to the claim' ... the law has the effect of demeaning a claim­ant's human dignity" - See paragraphs 53 to 55.

Civil Rights - Topic 5586

Equality and protection of the law - Af­firmative action programs - Particular programs - An Ontario pilot project to distribute casino gambling profits to Ontario Indian Bands registered under the Indian Act excluded the applicants (Indian groups and Métis groups not registered as Indian Bands under the Act) from the negotiations and a share of casino profits -The applicants claimed discrimi­nation contrary to s. 15(1) of the Charter - The Supreme Court of Canada held that the applicants (an equally disadvantaged group) were subjected to differential treat­ment, but not discrimination under s. 15(1) - The exclusion of the applicants did not undermine the purpose of s. 15(1) where it was not associated with a misconception as to the applicants' actual needs, capacities and circumstances - See para­graphs 62 to 92.

Civil Rights - Topic 5588

Equality and protection of the law - Af­firmative action programs - Protection from review - Section 15(2) of the Charter provided that equality rights in s. 15(1) did not preclude any ameliorative laws, pro­grams or activities targeting disadvantaged individuals or groups - The Supreme Court of Canada, discussing the interre­lationship between ss. 15(1) and 15(2), stated that s. 15(2) was "confir­matory and supplemen­tary to s. 15(1)" - It did not provide a defence or exemption to what would other­wise be discrimination under s. 15(1) - Section 15(2) was an interpretative aid to s. 15(1) - See para­graphs 93 to 108.

Constitutional Law - Topic 6350

Federal jurisdiction (s. 91) - Indians and lands reserved for Indians - General - The Ontario government implemented a pilot project to distribute casino gambling profits to Ontario Indian Bands registered under the Indian Act - Certain Indian groups and Métis groups (applicants), not registered as Indian Bands under the Act, were excluded from the negotiations and would not receive a share of casino profits - The excluded groups claimed the project was ultra vires the province, as it infringed on federal juris­diction over Indians (Con­stitution Act, 1867, s. 91(24)) - The Ontario Court of Appeal held that the project did not infringe on the federal power - The pro­ject was a straightforward, permissible exercise of the provincial spending power - The Supreme Court of Canada affirmed that nothing in the project affected the core of the s. 91(24) federal jurisdiction - See paragraphs 109 to 111.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 805

Personal or legal rights - General - Non-band Indians - [See Civil Rights - Topic 5586 ].

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 806

Personal or legal rights - General - Métis -[See Civil Rights - Topic 5586 ].

Cases Noticed:

Law v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [1999] 1 S.C.R. 497; 236 N.R. 1, appld. [para. 5].

R. v. Van Der Peet (D.M.), [1996] 2 S.C.R. 507; 200 N.R. 1; 80 B.C.A.C. 81; 130 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 10].

R. v. Powley (S.) et al., [1999] 1 C.N.L.R. 153 (Ont. C.J. Prov. Div.), varied [2000] O.T.C. 49; 47 O.R.(3d) 30 (S.C.), leave to appeal granted [2000] O.A.C. Uned. 64 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 13].

Corbiere et al. v. Canada (Minister of Indian and Northern Affairs) et al., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 203; 239 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 19].

R. v. Pamajewon (H.) et al., [1996] 2 S.C.R. 821; 199 N.R. 321; 92 O.A.C. 241, refd to. [para. 24].

Perry et al. v. Ontario, [1996] 2 C.N.L.R. 167 (Ont. Gen. Div.), revd. (1997), 100 O.A.C. 370; 148 D.L.R.(4th) 96 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 36].

Ardoch Algonquin First Nation v. Ontario - see Perry et al. v. Ontario.

Roberts et al. v. Ontario et al. (1994), 73 O.A.C. 20; 19 O.R.(3d) 387 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 37].

R. v. Willocks (1995), 22 O.R.(3d) 552 (Gen. Div.), refd to. [para. 38].

Battlefords and District Co-operative Ltd. v. Gibbs and Human Rights Commission (Sask.), [1996] 3 S.C.R. 566; 203 N.R. 131; 148 Sask.R. 1; 134 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 45].

M. v. H., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 3; 238 N.R. 179; 121 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 54].

Winko v. Forensic Psychiatric Institute (B.C.) et al., [1999] 2 S.C.R. 625; 241 N.R. 1; 124 B.C.A.C. 1; 203 W.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 54].

Egan and Nesbit v. Canada, [1995] 2 S.C.R. 513; 182 N.R. 161, refd to. [para. 55].

Douglas/Kwantlen Faculty Association v. Douglas College, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 570; 118 N.R. 340, refd to. [para. 56].

McKinney v. University of Guelph et al., [1990] 3 S.C.R. 229; 118 N.R. 1; 45 O.A.C. 1, refd to. [para. 56].

Eldridge et al. v. British Columbia (Attor­ney General) et al., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 624; 218 N.R. 161; 96 B.C.A.C. 81; 155 W.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 56].

Eaton v. Board of Education of Brant County, [1997] 1 S.C.R. 241; 207 N.R. 171; 97 O.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 60].

Brooks, Allen and Dixon et al. v. Canada Safeway Ltd., [1989] 1 S.C.R. 1219; 94 N.R. 373; 58 Man.R.(2d) 161, refd to. [para. 60].

Vriend et al. v. Alberta, [1998] 1 S.C.R. 493; 224 N.R. 1; 212 A.R. 237; 168 W.A.C. 237, refd to. [para. 60].

Granovsky v. Minister of Employment and Immigration, [2000] 1 S.C.R. 703; 253 N.R. 329, refd to. [para. 61].

Collins v. Canada, [2000] 2 F.C. 3; 178 F.T.R. 161 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 61].

Benner v. Canada (Secretary of State), [1997] 1 S.C.R. 358; 208 N.R. 81, refd to. [para. 67].

Miron and Valliere v. Trudel et al., [1995] 2 S.C.R. 418; 181 N.R. 253; 81 O.A.C. 253, refd to. [para. 67].

Andrews v. Law Society of British Columbia, [1989] 1 S.C.R. 143; 91 N.R. 255, refd to. [para. 93].

R. v. Swain, [1991] 1 S.C.R. 933; 125 N.R. 1; 47 O.A.C. 81, refd to. [para. 93].

Conway v. Canada, [1993] 2 S.C.R. 872; 154 N.R. 392, refd to. [para. 93].

Weatherall v. Canada (Attorney General) - see Conway v. Canada.

Harrison v. University of British Colum­bia; Connell v. University of British Columbia, [1990] 3 S.C.R. 451; 120 N.R. 1, refd to. [para. 95].

Manitoba Rice Farmers Association v. Human Rights Commission (Man.) (1987), 50 Man.R.(2d) 92 (Q.B.), refd to. [para. 98].

Silano v. British Columbia (1987), 42 D.L.R.(4th) 407 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 99].

N.M. v. Superintendent of Family and Child Services (B.C.) (1986), 34 D.L.R.(4th) 488 (B.C.S.C.), refd to. [para. 105].

Canadian Egg Marketing Agency v. Pine­view Poultry Product et al., [1998] 3 S.C.R. 157; 231 N.R. 201, refd to. [para. 106].

Delgammuukw et al. v. British Columbia et al., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010; 220 N.R. 161; 99 B.C.A.C. 161; 162 W.A.C. 161, refd to. [para. 110].

Statutes Noticed:

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, 1982, sect. 15(1), sect. 15(2) [para. 33].

Indian Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. I-5, sect. 2(1) [para. 33].

Ontario Casino Corporation Act, S.O. 1993, c. 25, sect. 1, sect. 15(1) [para. 33].

Authors and Works Noticed:

Agocs, Carol, and Boyd, Monica, The Canadian Ethnic Mosaic Recast for the 1990s, in Social Inequality in Canada: Patterns, Problems, Policies (2nd Ed. 1993), pp. 333 to 336 [para. 69].

Canada, Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), vol. 1, Looking Forward, Looking Back, pp. 303 to 314 [para. 14].

Canada, Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (1996), vol. 3, Gathering Strength, pp. 108 to 114 [para. 69]; 204, 225 [para. 70].

Drumbl, Mark A., and Craig, John D.R., Affirmative Action in Question: A Co­herent Theory for Section 15(2) (1997), 4 Rev. Const. Studies 80, p. 85 [para. 102].

Iacobucci, Edward M., Antidiscrimination and Affirmative Action Policies: Econ­omic Efficiency and the Constitution (1998), 36 Osgoode Hall L.J. 293, p. 326 [para. 104].

Orton, Helena, Section 15, Benefits Pro­grams and Other Benefits at Law: The Interpretation of Section 15 of the Char­ter since Andrews (1990), 19 Man. L.J. 288, p. 299 [para. 105].

Sheppard, Colleen, Litigating the Relationship Between Equity and Equality (1993), pp. 2, 20 [para. 101].

Tarnopolsky, Walter S., The Equality Rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1983), 61 Can. Bar Rev. 242, generally [para. 105].

United Nations, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Concluding Observations of the Committee on Econ­omic, Social and Cultural Rights (Canada), E/C 12/1/Add. 31 (Dec. 4, 1998), paras. 17, 43 [para. 69].

Counsel:

Christopher Reid, for the appellants, Robert Lovelace et al.;

Robert MacRae and Michael S. O'Neill, for the appellants, Be-Wab-Bon Métis and Non-Status Indian Association and Ontario Métis Aborig­inal Association;

Lori R. Sterling and Sarah Kraicer, for the respondent, Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Ontario;

Michael W. Sherry, for the respondent, the Chiefs of Ontario;

Urszula Kaczmarczyk and Michael H. Morris, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Canada;

Isabelle Harnois and Pierre-Christian Labeau, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Quebec;

Kurt Sandstrom and Marilyn Poitras, for the intervenor, Attorney General for Saskatchewan;

David Baker, for the intervenor, Council of Canadians with Disabilities (written submission only);

M. Philip Tunley and Jane A. Langford, for the intervenor, Mnjikaning First Nation;

Cynthia Petersen, for the intervenor, Char­ter Committee on Poverty Issues (written submission only);

Marc J.A. LeClair and Joseph E. Magnet, for the intervenor, Congress of Aborig­inal Peoples;

Mary Eberts and Lucy McSweeney, for the intervenor, Native Women's Association of Canada;

Kathleen A. Lahey, for the intervenor, Métis National Council of Women (writ­ten submission only).

Solicitors of Record:

Christopher Reid, Toronto, Ontario, for the appellants, Robert Lovelace et al.;

Sarlo O'Neil, Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, for the appellants, Be-Wab-Bon Métis and Non-Status Indian Association and Ontario Métis Aborig­inal Association;

Attorney General of Ontario, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent, Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Ontario;

Michael W. Sherry, Toronto, Ontario, for the respondent, the Chiefs of Ontario;

Morris Rosenberg, Deputy Attorney Gen­eral of Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Canada;

Department of Justice, Sainte-Foy, Que­bec, for the intervenor, Attorney General of Quebec;

Deputy Attorney General of Saskatchewan, Regina, Saskatchewan, for the intervenor, Attorney General for Saskatchewan;

McCarthy Tétrault, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, the Mnjikaning First Nation;

Marc J.A. LeClair, Ottawa, Ontario, for the intervenor, the Congress of Aborig­inal Peoples;

Eberts Symes & Corbett, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, the Native Women's Association of Canada;

Sack Goldblatt Mitchell, Toronto, Ontario, for the intervenor, Charter Committee on Poverty Issues;

Kathleen A. Lahey, Kingston, Ontario, for the intervenor, Métis National Council of Women.

This appeal was heard on December 7, 1999, before L'Heureux-Dubé, Gonthier, McLachlin, Iacobucci, Major, Bastarache and Arbour, JJ., of the Supreme Court of Canada.

On July 20, 2000, Iacobucci, J., delivered the following judgment in both official languages for the Supreme Court of Canada.

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