SOAS University of London

Jurisdiction Back: Impact Assessment in the South of the North

Dr Dayna Nadine Scott, Associate Professor, York University (Toronto)

Date: 14 October 2021Time: 5:00 PM

Finishes: 14 October 2021Time: 6:30 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Seminar

In Canada, it has been dramatically demonstrated over and again that when corporate interests thrust contested projects onto Indigenous homelands - even when those projects have passed through settler impact assessment processes and received government approvals – they must still contend with Indigenous governing authority. The concept of “Jurisdiction Back” is being put forward by a collective of Indigenous and settler scholars and activists who draw on the #LandBack movement to offer a profound transformation in legal, economic, and material relations. We insist that movement towards a decolonial constitutional order can begin today with settler governments systematically restoring jurisdiction to Indigenous governing authorities. One area ripe for exploration is impact assessment.

In this presentation I will explain the state of play for Indigenous-led impact assessment in Canada, and offer the example of the Regional Assessment for the Ring of Fire, a mineral frontier in Ontario’s remote northern boreal forest. Regional Assessment is a mechanism enabled by new federal impact assessment legislation purporting to implement ‘next-generation’ techniques, but its imposition is being actively refused by some of the Anishinaabe and Anishini communities whose homelands are threatened. I propose some criteria through which we may judge the extent to which Indigenous-led impact assessment has the potential to advance the movement for Jurisdiction Back.


Dayna Scott is the York Research Chair in Environmental Law & Justice in the Green Economy. She is a Co-Director of the Environmental Justice and Sustainability Clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, Toronto. She is leading, with Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark, a major team grant proposal in the area of indigenous jurisdiction and infrastructure.

This event will take place from 5:00 to 6:30 pm BST (UTC+1) on Zoom 

- All are Welcome