The Standard of Review and The Duty to Consult and Accommodate Indigenous Peoples: What is the Impact of Vavilov?


  • Robert Hamilton
  • Howard Kislowicz



Following the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark decision in Vavilov, an especially relevant issue in Canadian jurisprudence is how courts have applied Vavilov’s new standard of review framework. This article seeks to answer how the Vavilov framework affects decision-making regarding the duty to consult and accommodate. While Vavilov establishes a general presumption of reasonableness review for administrative decisions, it also carves out several exceptions to that presumption where the standard of correctness applies. The exception for section 35 Aboriginal and treaty rights under the Constitution Act, 1982 is relevant to the discussion in this paper, including what that exception means for cases involving the duty to consult and accommodate. Most cases involving duty to consult and accommodate questions regarding “trigger’ and “scope” have been reviewed on a correctness standard, while all other issues have been reviewed on a reasonableness standard. The authors argue that the logic in Vavilov suggests that a broader range of issues should be subject to the correctness standard than is currently the practice.