Attawapiskat First Nation Wins Challenge to Minister’s Appointment of Third Party Manager

The Federal Court today released its decision in the challenge by Attawapiskat First Nation to the appointment of a Third-Party Manager over its finances by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development in November, 2011.  The Court held that the choice of a Third-Party Manager appointment was an inappropriate and unreasonable response to the housing crisis experienced by the First Nation which attracted national media attention.  In doing so, Justice Phelan made clear that there was no basis to conclude that financial mismanagement or incapacity was the cause of the housing crisis.  Rather, a chronic lack of financial and material resources gave rise to the community’s state of emergency in the fall of 2011.

Both the underlying emergency and the dispute with the Minister have attracted national media attention throughout, including in response to the Court’s decision.

Stockwoods lawyers Brendan van Niejenhuis and Ben Kates acted as counsel to the First Nation, together with co-counsel Katherine Hensel and Maria Golarz of Hensel Barristers.