Skip to main content
Client Work

Indigenous citizen seeking to run for a seat on her Nation’s Council

Reading Time 2 minute read Subscribe



Cindy Dickson

Cindy Dickson is a citizen of the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation (VGFN), an Indigenous community in the far north of Yukon. Ms. Dickson seeks to run for a position on VGFN’s Council but is barred from serving on Council because of where she lives.  The VGFN requires all Council members to live in Old Crow, a fly-in, fly-out community located 800 km north of Whitehorse. Ms. Dickson grew up in Old Crow, but now lives in Whitehorse with her son.

 Ms. Dickson brought a challenge to the residency requirement pursuant to s. 15 of the Charter. The VGFN argued that the Charter does not apply to them as a modern self-governing nation, or in any event, that the law should be shielded pursuant to s. 25 of the Charter.  The Yukon Supreme Court and Court of Appeal found the Charter applies to the VGFN, and found the law to be discriminatory, but also found the law is shielded pursuant to s. 25 of the Charter.  The Supreme Court of Canada has agreed to hear Ms. Dickson’s appeal, with a court hearing expected in 2023.

Ms. Dickson’s case raises novel and fundamental issues related to the Charter and democratic rights of Indigenous citizens in Canada. It will be the first case to consider s. 25 of the Charter, and is expected to provide important guidance on reconciliation and Indigenous rights in the context of Indigenous governments within Canada.

Bridget Gilbride has represented Ms. Dickson throughout in this ground-breaking matter.


  • British Columbia



    Receive email updates from our team