Thomas v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., (2015) 370 B.C.A.C. 193 (CA)

JudgeSaunders, Tysoe and Bennett, JJ.A.
CourtCourt of Appeal (British Columbia)
Case DateApril 15, 2015
JurisdictionBritish Columbia
Citations(2015), 370 B.C.A.C. 193 (CA);2015 BCCA 154

Thomas v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (2015), 370 B.C.A.C. 193 (CA);

    635 W.A.C. 193

MLB headnote and full text

Temp. Cite: [2015] B.C.A.C. TBEd. AP.018

Jackie Thomas on her own behalf and on behalf of all members of the Saik'uz First Nation, and Reginald Louis on his own behalf and on behalf of all members of the Stellat'en First Nation (appellants/respondents on cross-appeal/plaintiffs) v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. (respondent/appellant on cross-appeal/defendant)

(CA041491; 2015 BCCA 154)

Indexed As: Thomas et al. v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.

British Columbia Court of Appeal

Saunders, Tysoe and Bennett, JJ.A.

April 15, 2015.

Summary:

The plaintiffs, Aboriginal First Nations and their Chiefs (the "Nechako Nations") claimed against the defendant ("Alcan") in private nuisance, public nuisance, and breach of, or interference with, riparian rights as a result of the operations of the Kenney Dam. They sought injunctive relief, and damages in the alternative. Alcan applied for: (1) summary judgment under rule 9-6 on the basis of the defence of statutory authority; and (2) an order striking out specific paragraphs in the notice of civil claim and in the reply, on the basis they constituted an impermissible collateral attack in connection with Alcan's defence of statutory authority. In the alternative, Alcan sought an order under rule 9-5(1)(a) striking out the notice of civil claim as not disclosing a reasonable cause of action.

The British Columbia Supreme Court, in a decision reported at [2013] B.C.T.C. Uned. 2303, dismissed Alcan's application for summary judgment but granted its application to strike out the notice of civil claim. As a result, the action was dismissed. The Nechako Nations appealed. Alcan cross-appealed.

The British Columbia Court of Appeal allowed the appeal in part. The Court set aside the portion of the order striking the notice of civil claim and dismissing the action. The Court struck the claim for breach of riparian rights, to the extent that those rights were alleged to arise from an interest in their reserve lands. The Court dismissed the cross-appeal.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 4

General - Duty owed to Indians by third parties - See paragraphs 53 to 79.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 5502.1

Lands - Reserves - Rivers and lakes - See paragraphs 80 to 89.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 5566

Lands - Land claims - Aboriginal title - Nature of - See paragraphs 48 to 79.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 6005

Aboriginal rights - General - Nature of - See paragraphs 48 to 79.

Indians, Inuit and Métis - Topic 6012

Aboriginal rights - Evidence and proof - See paragraphs 48 to 79.

Injunctions - Topic 7124

Particular matters - Particular interests protected - Aboriginal rights - See paragraphs 53 to 79.

Practice - Topic 2239

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Grounds - Abuse of process or delay - See paragraphs 106 to 116.

Practice - Topic 2239.4

Pleadings - Striking out pleadings - Grounds - Abuse of process - Collateral attack on administrative decision - See paragraphs 106 to 116.

Torts - Topic 1002

Nuisance - General principles and definitions - Elements of - See paragraphs 37 to 42.

Torts - Topic 1004

Nuisance - General principles and definitions - Actionable nuisance - What constitutes - See paragraphs 53 to 79.

Torts - Topic 1007

Nuisance - General principles and definitions - Private nuisance defined - See paragraphs 37 to 40.

Torts - Topic 1008

Nuisance - General principles and definitions - Public nuisance defined - See paragraphs 41 and 42.

Torts - Topic 1800

Nuisance - Defences - Statutory authority - See paragraphs 91 to 105.

Waters - Topic 130

Natural watercourses - Riparian rights - General - Right to natural flow - See paragraph 43.

Waters - Topic 135

Natural watercourses - Riparian rights - General - Interference or diversion of water flow - See paragraphs 43 to 47.

Waters - Topic 7405

Regulation - General - Effect of Crown ownership of waters - See paragraphs 44 to 47.

Cases Noticed:

Carrier Sekani Tribal Council v. British Columbia Utilities Commission et al. (2010), 406 N.R. 333; 293 B.C.A.C. 175; 496 W.A.C. 175; 2010 SCC 43, refd to. [para. 3].

Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. v. Carrier Sekani Tribal Council - see Carrier Sekani Tribal Council v. British Columbia Utilities Commission et al.

Heyes (Susan) Inc. v. Vancouver (City) et al. (2011), 301 B.C.A.C. 210; 510 W.A.C. 210; 2011 BCCA 77, refd to. [para. 28].

William v. British Columbia et al. (2014), 459 N.R. 287; 356 B.C.A.C. 1; 610 W.A.C. 1; 2014 SCC 44, refd to. [para. 30].

Tsilhqot'in Nation v. British Columbia - see William v. British Columbia et al.

British Columbia v. Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd. et al. (2011), 419 N.R. 1; 308 B.C.A.C. 1; 521 W.A.C. 1; 2011 SCC 42, refd to. [para. 34].

Antrim Truck Centre Ltd. v. Ontario (Minister of Transportation) (2013), 441 N.R. 342; 301 O.A.C. 281; 2013 SCC 13, refd to. [para. 37].

Hunter et al. v. Canary Wharf Ltd.; Hunter et al. v. London Docklands Development Corp., [1997] A.C. 655; 215 N.R. 1 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 38].

Motherwell v. Motherwell (1976), 1 A.R. 47; 73 D.L.R.(3d) 62 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 40].

Foster v. Warblington Urban District Council, [1906] 1 K.B. 648 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 40].

Sutherland et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al., [2001] B.C.T.C. 1024; 2001 BCSC 1024, refd to. [para. 40].

Ryan v. Victoria (City) et al., [1999] 1 S.C.R. 201; 234 N.R. 201; 117 B.C.A.C. 103; 191 W.A.C. 103; 168 D.L.R.(4th) 513, refd to. [para. 41].

Cook v. Corporation of the City of Vancouver, [1914] A.C. 1077; 18 D.L.R. 305 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 45].

Delgamuukw et al. v. British Columbia et al., [1997] 3 S.C.R. 1010; 99 B.C.A.C. 161; 162 W.A.C. 161; 153 D.L.R.(4th) 193, refd to. [para. 48].

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. 52].

Bolton v. Forest Pest Management Institute (1985), 66 B.C.L.R. 126; 21 D.L.R.(4th) 242 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 55].

R. v. Sparrow, [1990] 1 S.C.R. 1075; 111 N.R. 241; 70 D.L.R.(4th) 385, refd to. [para. 70].

R. v. Marshall (S.F.) et al.; R. v. Bernard (J.) (2005), 336 N.R. 22; 287 N.B.R.(2d) 206; 750 A.P.R. 206; 235 N.S.R.(2d) 151; 747 A.P.R. 151; 2005 SCC 43, refd to. [para. 70].

Hunt v. Halcan Log Services Ltd. (1986), 34 D.L.R.(4th) 504; 15 B.C.L.R.(2d) 165 (S.C.), refd to. [para. 71].

Westar Timber Ltd. v. Gitksan Wet'suwet'en Tribal Council (1989), 60 D.L.R.(4th) 453; 37 B.C.L.R.(2d) 352 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 72].

Uashaunnuat v. Iron Ore Company of Canada, 2014 QCCS 4403, leave to appeal dismissed, 2015 QCCA 2, refd to. [para. 73].

Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests) et al. (2004), 327 N.R. 53; 206 B.C.A.C. 52; 338 W.A.C. 52; 2004 SCC 73, refd to. [para. 76].

Burrard Power Co. v. The King, [1911] A.C. 87 (P.C.), refd to. [para. 83].

Palmer v. Nova Scotia Forest Industries (1983), 60 N.S.R.(2d) 271; 128 A.P.R. 271 (T.D.), refd to. [para. 86].

Joe v. Findlay (1981), 122 D.L.R.(3d) 377; 26 B.C.L.R. 376 (C.A.), refd to. [para. 89].

Manchester (City) v. Farnworth, [1930] A.C. 171 (H.L.), refd to. [para. 93].

Tock v. St. John's Metropolitan Area Board, [1989] 2 S.C.R. 1181; 104 N.R. 241; 82 Nfld. & P.E.I.R. 181; 257 A.P.R. 181; 64 D.L.R.(4th) 620, refd to. [para. 94].

Sutherland et al. v. Canada (Attorney General) et al. (2002), 170 B.C.A.C. 233; 279 W.A.C. 233; 2002 BCCA 416, refd to. [para. 97].

Behn et al. v. Moulton Contracting et al. - see Moulton Contracting Ltd. v. British Columbia et al.

Moulton Contracting Ltd. v. British Columbia et al. (2011), 309 B.C.A.C. 15; 523 W.A.C. 15; 2011 BCCA 311, affd. (2013), 443 N.R. 303; 333 B.C.A.C. 34; 571 W.A.C. 34; 2013 SCC 26, dist. [para. 108].

Canadian Forest Products Ltd. v. Sam et al. (2013), 332 B.C.A.C. 292; 569 W.A.C. 292; 2013 BCCA 58, dist. [para. 108].

Garland v. Consumers' Gas Co. (2004), 319 N.R. 38; 186 O.A.C. 128; 2004 SCC 25, refd to. [para. 116].

TeleZone Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General) (2010), 410 N.R. 1; 273 O.A.C. 1; 2010 SCC 62, refd to. [para. 116].

Statutes Noticed:

Constitution Act, 1982, sect. 35(1) [para. 62].

Water Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 483, sect. 2 [para. 46].

Water Privileges Act, S.B.C. 1892, c. 47, generally [para. 45].

Authors and Works Noticed:

LaForest, Gerard V., Water Law in Canada, The Atlantic Provinces (1973), p. 200 to 201 [para. 43].

Counsel:

G.J. McDade, Q.C., and M.J. Skeels, for the appellants/respondents on cross-appeal;

D.R. Bennett, Q.C., and R.D.W. Dalziel, for the respondent/appellant on cross-appeal.

This appeal and cross-appeal were heard at Vancouver, British Columbia, on January 26-28, 2015, before Saunders, Tysoe and Bennett, JJ.A., of the British Columbia Court of Appeal. In reasons written by Tysoe, J.A., the Court delivered the following judgment, dated April 15, 2015.

To continue reading

Request your trial
25 practice notes
8 cases
  • British Columbia v. Apotex Inc.,
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 4 Enero 2022
    ...context, I draw some guidance from the decision in Saik'uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., 2015 BCCA 154, where the Court of Appeal allowed an appeal by the plaintiffs (the Nechako Nations) from an order striking its notice of civil claim and di......
  • Thomas and Saik�uz First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc.,
    • Canada
    • Supreme Court of British Columbia (Canada)
    • 7 Enero 2022
    ...Appeal on April 15, 2015 in a decision indexed as Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., 2015 BCCA 154 (the “2015 Appeal Decision”). Speaking for the Court, Mr. Justice Tysoe ·      There is no reas......
  • Gottfriedson et al. v. Canada, 2015 FC 706
    • Canada
    • Canada (Federal) Federal Court (Canada)
    • 3 Junio 2015
    ...Although in a different context, the tort of nuisance, in Saik'uz First Nation and Stellat'en First Nation v Rio Tinto Alcan Inc. , 2015 BCCA 154 (CanLII), the Court of Appeal for British Columbia was of the view that recognition of aboriginal rights could not result in Aboriginal peoples a......
  • Valeant Canada LP/Valeant Canada S.E.C. v. British Columbia,
    • Canada
    • Court of Appeal (British Columbia)
    • 2 Noviembre 2022
    ...property and a resource. d.  In Saik’uz First Nation and Stellat’en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., 2015 BCCA 154, this Court held “it is arguable that unreasonable interference with the public’s interest in harvesting fish…is a type of interfer......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
15 firm's commentaries
  • 2015 In Review: Top 10 Judicial Decisions Of Import To The Canadian Oil And Gas Industry
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • 11 Enero 2016
    ...ABQB 218. 16 2014 SCC 7. 17 2014 ABQB 652. 18 2015 ABQB 433. 19 2015 ABQB 606. 20 2015 ABQB 650. 21 2015 ABQB 725. 22 2015 ABQB 775. 23 2015 BCCA 154. 24 2014 SCC 44. 25 2015 ABQB 342. 26 2015 BCCA 472. 27 M. Marion, M. Massicotte and J. Duhn, Canada's Aging Oil and Gas Infrastructure: Who ......
  • Alberta Court Strikes Out Pleadings Challenging Validity Of Oil And Gas Permits
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • 13 Octubre 2015
    ...in areas subject to asserted but unproven Aboriginal title and rights claims, affirming Saik'uz First Nation v Rio Tinto Alcan Inc, 2015 BCCA 154, which is currently subject to an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of The content of this article is intended to provide a ge......
  • Intersection Of Aboriginal Rights Law And Private Tort Law: A New Development?
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • 23 Julio 2019
    ...by the Court of Appeal on April 15, 2015, in its decision in Saik'uz First Nation and Stellat'en First Nation v. Rio Tinto Alcan Inc., 2015 BCCA 154. The Court of Appeal determined that the First Nations had properly brought their action against Alcan, as their claims to aboriginal title an......
  • Litigation Between First Nations And Project Proponents: A New Development
    • Canada
    • Mondaq Canada
    • 22 Junio 2015
    ...the British Columbia Court of Appeal's landmark decision in Saik'uz First Nation and Stellat'en First Nation v Rio Tinto Alcan Inc, 2015 BCCA 154, which held that Nechako Nations could rely on as-yet-unproven Aboriginal title and rights claims to ground a tort action against a private Now i......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
2 books & journal articles

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT