Next week, members of the Boughton team will be representing the Council of Yukon First Nations as intervener before the Supreme Court of Canada in the appeal case of Attorney General of Québec, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, et al.
This appeal—along with Cindy Dickson v. Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation, scheduled to be heard in February 2023—are two upcoming Supreme Court of Canada cases that will have significant implications for Indigenous self-government in Canada.
At its core, Attorney General of Québec, et al. v. Attorney General of Canada, et al. seeks clarity from the Supreme Court of Canada on the constitutionality of the federal Act Respecting First Nations, Inuit and Métis children, youth and families, SC 2019, c 24 (the “Act”), which, among other things, affirms the inherent right of self-government of Indigenous governing bodies to legislate on child and family services and grants such Indigenous laws paramountcy over conflicting or inconsistent provincial laws.
One of 27 interveners granted leave in this appeal, the Boughton team will be presenting oral argument on behalf of the Council of Yukon First Nations. The intervener submissions by the Council of Yukon First Nations focus on the federal Government’s jurisdiction, pursuant to s. 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867, to put into practice decades of reconciliation rhetoric by legislating to afford Indigenous laws made further to both s. 35 self-government rights and s. 91(24) legislation with the status of federal law, and thus paramountcy over conflicting provincial laws, as it has done in ss. 21 and 22(3) of the Act.
The Council of Yukon First Nations’ submissions will also argue that jurisprudence applying the framework in R v Sparrow,  1 SCR 1075 to conflicts between provincial laws and s. 35 rights is inappropriate; rather, the rules of paramountcy apply to shield Indigenous laws on child and family services enacted further to s. 35 and the Act to the extent of a conflict with provincial laws.
For more information about the case, please contact Tammy Shoranick, Daryn R. Leas, or James M. Coady, K.C.