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ABORIGINAL LANDS - Courts - Jurisdiction

Friday, March 26, 2021 @ 6:09 AM  

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Application by the Shawanaga First Nation for a declaration the respondents were trespassing on the First Nation’s property and for an order granting the First Nation a Writ of Possession requiring the respondents to vacate the property. The First Nation purchased a property from Pawis in 2019. Prior to the purchase, Pawis rented a house on the property to the respondents. The respondents stopped paying rent to Pawis in 2015. They refused to vacate the property. In 2018, the respondents met with one of the First Nation’s lawyers at a free law clinic to discuss a dispute with the First Nation’s chief and council.

HELD: Application allowed. The respondents’ previous meeting with the applicant’s counsel did not give rise to a conflict of interest given the property in issue was not owned by the First Nation in 2018. The respondents effectively abandoned any claim to tenant status when they stopped paying rent. The Shawanaga First Nation Land Code did not govern the relationship between the parties. The court continued to have jurisdiction with respect to issues affecting land following the adoption of the Land Code. The matter did not raise constitutional issues that were required to be heard in the Federal Court. The Superior Court had jurisdiction over the dispute. The respondents had no licence or other interest in the land. No right of possession accrued to them. Their refusal to vacate the property made them trespassers on the land.

Shawanaga First Nation v. Ladouceur, [2021] O.J. No. 520, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, E.J. Koke J., February 3, 2021. Digest No. TLD-March222021009