Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations v. Rio Tinto Alcan

In 2019, Ratcliff lawyers Matthew Kirchner, Kevin Lee, Melinda Skeels, Emma Hume and Natalia Sudeyko began a trial in British Columbia’s first private nuisance claim based on Aboriginal Rights and Title. The claim seeks to restore flows and fisheries in the Nechako River that was dammed in the 1950s by the Aluminum Company of Canada (Alcan), which is now owned by the multi-national Rio Tinto Inc.

In January 2022, the British Columbia Supreme Court held that Saik’uz and Stellat’en have a constitutionally-protected Aboriginal right to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes in the Nechako watershed and that Alcan’s operation of the Kenney Dam has caused significant historic and ongoing harm to the Nechako River and its fisheries.