Historic Ruling from the Nunavut Court of Justice Upholding Inuit Rights
History was made yesterday when Justice Earl Johnson of the Nunavut Court of Justice issued his ruling in favour of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. on the failure of the Government of Canada to create a Nunavut General Monitoring Plan as required by the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement. This is the fourth legal motion NTI has won in relation to the lawsuit filed in 2006 against the Government of Canada, on behalf of the Crown.
Justice Johnson granted NTI’s motion for summary judgment on one part of NTI’s lawsuit and ordered the Government to pay $14.8 million in damages. “NTI is very happy with the decision. The amount of damages, $14.8 million, clearly illustrates to all Canadians and the federal government that ignoring duties and obligations under the NLCA is a very poor choice,” said Acting President James Eetoolook. The decision involves only one part of the lawsuit. Other parts of the lawsuit, including government’s breaches on Inuit employment (Article 23) and government contracting (Article 24), are continuing to move forward. “The court’s decision shows that it is bad law for the federal government to fail to implement the NLCA and other land claims agreements properly, and that such failure works against building a genuine and constructive partnership with Inuit and all other land claims parties,” said Eetoolook. NTI filed the lawsuit after trying unsuccessfully for many years to negotiate a new implementation contract with the Government of Canada. The federal government walked away from the negotiating table, refused many offers by NTI to go to arbitration, and refused to accept the recommendations of Thomas Berger, a mutually-selected conciliator. NTI’s Board felt they had no other choice but to take legal action against the government for failing to live up to their obligations under the NLCA. “This decision is a vindication of all the Inuit who have had the determination to stand up for Inuit rights for the last four decades,” said Eetoolook. “NTI will continue to confidently forge ahead with the lawsuit.”