Tar Sands - Save the Caribou Lawsuit


Three First Nations - Athabasca Chipewyan, Beaver Lake Cree and Enoch Cree - are suing to force the federal minister of the environment to exercise his statutory duty to protect woodland caribou under the Species at Risk Act (SARA.) The legal action is an effort to save the dwindling herds in northeastern Alberta where they are being threatened by expansion of the tar sands industries. Case heard Jan-Feb 2012.

Category Energy

Type Tar Sands

Prov AB

Region North

Posted 09Feb12

Updated 09Feb12


Status Active

Belongs to this group:

Alberta Tar Sands



See Aboriginal section, below


Federal Minister of Environment, Hon. Peter Kent, 819-997-1441, Minister(at)ec.gc.ca


Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, www.acfn.com, Chief Allan Adam, 780-697-3730, 888-420-7011, Fort Chipewyan, AB

Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Robert Gillis, Executive Director, BLCN Consultation Office, www.beaverlakecreenation.ca, 780-623-9221

BLCN Legal counsel: Drew Mildon, Woodward & Company, drew(at)woodwardandcompany.com, www.woodwardandcompany.com, 250-383-2356




Federal Minister of Environment, Hon. Peter Kent, 819-997-1441, Minister(at)ec.gc.ca

More information


Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation Fort Chipewyan
Beaver Lake Cree First Nation Beaver Lake

Woodland Caribou range in AlbertaOn January 24, 2012, lawyers filed a motion in Edmonton brought by ACFN, Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, Alberta Wilderness Association and Pembina Institute. Because this is a motion done by way of written representations, there won’t be a hearing. Canada will have to respond on or before February 2, then applicants will have four days after government responds to file a reply. A decision from the court will follow; however, there is no timeline for that.

The short story is that despite a court order issued in 2011, the federal Environment Minister continues to delay in protecting Woodland Caribou.

Last year, the applicants brought a court case challenging the Federal Minister of the Environment’s refusal to recommend an emergency order that would offer immediate, concrete protections for boreal caribou in NE Alberta (The herds at issue in the litigation that are within ACFN’s traditional territory are Red Earth, Richardson, East Side Athabasca and West Side Athabasca River ). On July 28, 2011 Mr. Justice Crampton ordered the Minister to reconsider his refusal to issue an emergency order, and this time to take into account treaty rights and the honour of the Crown. Specifically, the court told the Minister to consider:

. . . the extent to which . . . continued inaction with respect to boreal caribou would, in all the circumstances discussed in this decision and in the more detailed Certified Record pertaining to the Decision, would be consistent with the honour of the Crown. . .

Almost six months later, there still is no decision from the Minister.

This motion is for a variance of the Court’s July 28 order. The court is being asked to impose a very short deadline (three days after the Court makes a decision) for the Minister to issue his decision.

From http://www.raventrust.com/beaverlakecree.html

Javascript is required to view this map.