Webinar on The Honour of the Crown (1:23:38)


Wednesday, September 14, 2022

90-minute webinar


To celebrate the 40th anniversary of s.35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 recognizing and affirming the “existing aboriginal and treaty rights of the aboriginal peoples of Canada,” this webinar will critically consider and discuss the development of the honour of the Crown, its use and application.

The honour of the Crown is a constitutional principle and a “core precept” in Aboriginal Law—the law governing the constitutional relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples. The Supreme Court has defined the honour of the Crown as the principle that servants of the Crown, or the government, must “act honourably” and it is always “at stake” in the Crown’s dealings with Indigenous peoples. The duties that flow from the honour of the Crown will vary, but include the making and applying of treaties, protecting Aboriginal or Treaty rights recognized and affirmed under s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and consulting and accommodating Indigenous communities when the Crown would undertake or consider an action that would potentially have adverse effects upon s.35 Aboriginal or Treaty rights. The honour of the Crown requires the Crown to interpret its constitutional obligations broadly and purposefully while diligently fulfilling them and prohibits even “the appearance of sharp-dealings” in the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples.

This panel will explore the honour of the Crown, both in terms of its promises and its drawbacks. While the Supreme Court has framed the honour of the Crown as advancing the “reconciliation of the pre-existence of aboriginal societies with the sovereignty of the Crown”, this underpinning is problematized by the recognition of the history of colonization and assertion of Canadian sovereignty as unquestionably legitimate. Does the honour of the Crown represent an idealized and attainable way forward on the path to reconciliation, or is it too steeped in a colonial and paternalistic understanding of the Crown’s relationship with Indigenous peoples to truly effect change?



CIAJ Members: Free
Non-members: $40