ONTARIO SEEKS TO ESCAPE LIABILITY FOR ISKATEWIZAAGEGAN NO. 39 INDEPENDENT FIRST NATION’S CLAIM AGAINST ONTARIO/CITY OF WINNIPEG FOR COMPENSATION FOR DAMAGES ARISING FROM WATER-TAKING BY CITY OF WINNIPEG
On January 20, 2021, Falconers LLP will be appearing before Justice Perell on behalf of the Plaintiff, Iskatewizaagegan No. 39 Independent First Nation (“IIFN 39”) to defend against Ontario’s Motion to Strike IIFN 39’s claim against Ontario. IIFN 39 is pursuing a claim against both Ontario and the City of Winnipeg seeking compensation for damages arising from a century’s worth of water-taking from Shoal Lake by the City of Winnipeg. Ontario is seeking to escape liability for the claim presented by IIFN 39 without leave to amend, which could result in the court dismissing IIFN 39’s claim against Ontario for compensation for damages arising from Winnipeg’s water-taking.
IIFN 39 claims breaches of fiduciary duties on the part of the Ontario Crown for its failure to protect the Nation’s interests in Shoal Lake and surrounding lands, and for failing to ensure appropriate compensation to the Nation for damages to these interests caused by the City of Winnipeg taking water from Shoal Lake with Ontario’s permission.
IIFN 39 is located on the northwest shore of Shoal Lake. Shoal Lake is a critical part of the identity of the community of the Nation. Since time immemorial, the Nation has used the waters of Shoal Lake and surrounding land for its survival. The Nation’s claim for compensation dates back to a 1913 Order-in-Council from Ontario, which granted Winnipeg the right to take water from Shoal Lake. That Order-in-Council also grants “full compensation be made to the Province of Ontario, and also to all private parties who lands or properties may be taken, injuriously affected or in any way interfered with”.
The livestream of the January 20, 2021 hearing, beginning at 9:30am EST/8:30am CST, can be watched here:
Meeting ID: 698 1076 9807
Further background information can be found here:
Notice of Application issued December 10, 2019
Affidavit of Chief Lewis sworn December 20, 2019
Affidavit of Elder Fred Greene sworn January 25, 2020
Issued Order Disposing of Application July 15, 2020