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Slaw: Employment law and First nation band

In Canada, jurisdiction over employment law is normally within the authority of each province or territory, unless the employer or activity falls under the federal jurisdiction. This is a straightforward distinction under normal circumstances, but, in certain areas, it remains unclear. This was the case in Fox Lake Cree Nation v. Anderson, 2013, in which the Federal Court of Canada set aside the order of an adjudicator appointed by the Canadian Labour Ministry because that adjudicator did not have the jurisdiction to hear the complaint made by the terminated employee. In a nutshell, the court found that the operations of the workplace, the negotiations office, was not properly characterized as being a federal work, undertaking or business within the meaning of the Canada Labour Code. This meant that the matter did not fall under federal jurisdiction.

Facts of the case and decision

The Fox Lake Cree Nation is an Indian Band as defined by the Indian Act. The negotiations office is considered an internal consulting office that negotiates contracts on behalf of the band with Manitoba Hydro regarding hydroelectric projects. Specifically, the office negotiates business opportunities, training and employment, project development, environment and resources, adverse effects and commercial terms.

For more, read my latest post on Slaw here.

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Yosie Saint-Cyr

Managing Editor at First Reference Inc.
Yosie Saint-Cyr, LL.B., is a trained lawyer called to the Quebec bar in 1988 and is still a member in good standing. She practiced business, employment and labour law until 1999. For over 15 years, Yosie has been the Managing Editor of the following publications, Human Resources Advisor, Human Resources PolicyPro, HRinfodesk and Accessibility Standards PolicyPro from First Reference. Yosie is one of Canada’s best known and most respected HR authors, with an extensive background in employment and labour across the country. Read more
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