Ratcliff secures $13.8 million award from Specific Claims Tribunal for Huu-ay-aht First Nations

Published Date: 
14 Dec 2016

On December 12, 2016, the Specific Claims Tribunal released a decision--its first addressing the issue of compensation--awarding more than $13.8 million to Huu-ay-aht First Nations for breaches of fidcuciary duty committed by Canada between 1948 and 1969.

Huu-ay-aht filed a claim with the Tribunal in 2011 about logging that took place on former Numukamis IR1 between 1948 and 1969. Huu-ay-aht chiefs petitioned Canada at the time of the logging operations, asserting that the licence should be cancelled, to no avail.

In 2014, the Tribunal found that Canada had breached its fiduciary obligations in relation to the way the timber was sold. Justice Whalen found (in Huu-ay-aht First Nations v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2014 SCTC 7) that Canada had not acted in Huu-ay-aht’s best interests, had entered into an unlawful arrangement, and that Huu-ay-aht had received far less compensation than it ought to have for its timber. This most recent decision, Huu-ay-aht First Nations v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada 2016 SCTC 14, addresses the amount of equitable compensation owed to the Huu-ay-aht as a result of breaches of fiduciary duty by the Crown.

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