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The Charter versus Aboriginal Rights? Supreme Court Releases Decision on Dickson v Vuntut Gwitchin – OKT

Today, the Supreme Court released Dickson v Vuntut Gwitchin, 2024 SCC 10 (Dickson), an important decision that interprets the relationship between individual Charter rights and freedoms, and Indigenous collective rights protected in s. 35 and other parts of the Canadian Constitution.

The Supreme Court found that a law of an Indigenous government (the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation’s Constitution and its requirement that their elected leaders must reside in their community) were valid, in the face of a Charter challenge that the law was discriminatory. This short analysis provides a quick summary of the case, but OKT will provide a more detailed analysis in the near future.

In its decision released on March 28, 2024, the Supreme Court of Canada provides important clarifications about the relationship between Aboriginal and Treaty rights (protected by s. 35 of the Constitution), individual rights such as equality rights under the Charter, and s. 25 of the Charter, which is meant to prevent individual rights under the Charter from eroding collective Indigenous rights.

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