Comparing Aboriginal and Other Duties to Consult in Canadian Law


  • Peter Carver



This article compares recent Aboriginal rights and labour relations court decisions to assess the way the Canadian jurisprudence has conceptualized the duty to consult. While traditionally the duty to consult has been considered a constitutional duty, enshrined in section 35(1) of the Constitution Act, 1982 and section 2(d) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the author suggests that courts have had great difficulty conceptualizing this duty as a constitutionally required process. The author’s analysis reviews the sources and purposes of constitutional duties to consult and the hurdles the courts have faced in applying the duty meaningfully, and drawing on concepts from administrative law, offers a tentative solution to the problem of making consultative practices effective.

Author Biography

Peter Carver

MA (Toronto), LLB (McGill), LLM (UBC), Associate  Professor, Faculty of Law, and Chairperson of the Board of the Centre for Constitutional Studies, University of Alberta.