Tsilhqot’in Nation v British Columbia

2014 SCC 44

This case began in 1983, when the province of British Columbia granted a commercial logging licence on land claimed by the semi-nomadic Tsilhqot’in Nation as their traditional territory. The Tsilhqot’in Nation sought a declaration prohibiting commercial logging operations on the territory as well as a claim for Aboriginal title to the land. The case turned on whether the Tsilhqot’in could establish the required occupation of the territory to prove their title claim. The trial judge found that occupation, in the sense of being sufficient, continuous and exclusive. The BC Court of Appeal applied a narrower, site-specific test requiring intensive use of a definite tract of land to establish occupation and found title only for small areas. The Supreme Court unanimously allowed the Tsilhqot’in Nation’s appeal, recognizing Aboriginal title for the full area of claimed land based on the test applied by the trial judge. The Supreme Court also granted a declaration that the Crown had breached its duty to consult towards the Tsilhqot’in Nation.

SCC Reasons for Judgment


Date Document
2013/05/30 Appellant – Roger William
2013/09/13 Appellant – Roger William (supplemental)
2013/07/30 Respondents – Her Majesty the Queen et al.
2013/07/29 Respondent – Attorney General of Canada
2013/08/23 Intervener – Attorney General of Quebec
2013/08/29 Intervener – Attorney General of Manitoba
2013/08/29 Intervener – Attorney General of Saskatchewan
2013/08/30 Intervener – Attorney General of Alberta
2013/09/23 Interveners – Tsawout First Nation et al.
2013/09/19 Intervener – Office of the Wet’suwet’en Chiefs
2013/09/24 Interveners – Amnesty International and Canadian Friends Service Committee
2013/09/19 Intervener – Te’Mexw Treaty Association
2013/09/20 Intervener – First Nations Summit
2013/09/20 Intervener – Business Council of British Columbia
2013/09/20 Intervener – Haida Nation
2013/09/20 Intervener – Gitanyow Hereditary Chiefs
2013/09/23 Intervener – Assembly of First Nations
2013/09/20 Interveners – Coalition of the Union of BC Indian Chiefs et al.
2013/09/23 Interveners – Chilko Resorts and Community Association and the Council of Canadians
2013/09/23 Intervener – Gitxaala Nation
2013/09/23 Intervener – Hul’qumi’num Treaty Group
2013/09/23 Intervener – Indigenous Bar Association in Canada