In 2004 and 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) handed down three landmark decisions that found the Crown (provincial and federal) has a duty to consult with Aboriginal peoples regarding decisions or taking actions that might adversely affect their established or potential Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights (Haida and Taku, 2004, Mikisew Cree,2005).
In response, the governments of Nova Scotia and Canada, and the Mi’kmaq have agreed to follow a Consultation Terms of Reference that clearly lays out a process for Crown consultation with the Mi’kmaq.
A proponent has no legal duty to consult with the Mi’kmaq. However, where resource based projects or project where impacts to the environment are potential the Province has to consult with the Mi’kmaq. (Especially where the Province issues regulatory permits and licenses). However in many cases the Province will delegate the consultation to the proponent.
Since 2004, KMKNO has been actively engaged in meaningful and productive consultations on a number of projects in diverse fields, on behalf of the Assembly of Nova Scotia Mi’kmaq Chiefs.
With over 300 consultations currently underway many of Nova Scotia’s most prominent corporations have become engaged in the consultation process.