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Injunctions as a Tool of Colonialism – First Peoples Law

July 30, 2020

Since the entrenchment of protections for Aboriginal and Treaty rights in the Constitution Act, 1982, Indigenous people in Canada have used injunctions to protect their ancestral lands from exploitation.

In recent years, however, court decisions have followed a trajectory which directly undermines the protection of Indigenous rights. On the one hand, courts are increasingly reluctant to grant injunctions to Indigenous groups where the result would be to halt or delay a proposed project. At the same time, companies now frequently obtain injunctions to prevent Indigenous people from erecting blockades, interfering with project activities or exercising other “self-help” remedies intended to protect and preserve their lands.

The result is to transform the injunction from a tool used by Indigenous people to protect their lands and rights to one which suppresses Indigenous opposition and denies the exercise of Indigenous law.

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