The recognition of Aboriginal rights in s. 35(1) of the Constitution Act transformed the legal landscape in Canada. In this article, we empirically estimate the economic impact of this transformation on the value of Canadian natural resource firms. We focus on six landmark Supreme Court of Canada precedents that are often viewed as having imposed significant economic effects on Canadian resource firms. We use event studies to test these claims, measuring changes in resource firms’ share prices on the Toronto Stock Exchange after each of the landmark rulings. A total of 2,110 firm events allow us to estimate market responses at the individual firm level. Our findings show that although the decisions triggered statistically and economically significant changes in the value of Canadian resource firms, these changes were not uniformly negative, and they varied widely in size across decisions, industries, and firm characteristics.
April 22, 2022 | Virtual | Noon - 1:00 pm


Dr. Cherie Metcalf is an Associate Professor at Queen’s University. She completed her undergraduate degree at Queen’s before earning postgraduate degrees in Economics (MA, PhD) at the University of British Columbia, later returning to Queen’s to obtain her LLB. Following completion of her LL.B., she clerked at the Federal Court of Appeal, and then for former Justice Ian Binnie at the Supreme Court of Canada. She then completed her LLM at Yale on a Fulbright scholarship before joining the faculty. Professor Metcalf’s research as a legal scholar often draws on her graduate training in economics, which focused on empirical study of natural resource and environmental issues. She has used economic theory and empirical methods to investigate the Supreme Court’s s. 35 Aboriginal rights cases, considering impacts on governance, rights holders and resource industry participants. Her related work with Ian Keay has been awarded the Vanderkamp prize for best paper in Canadian Public Policy and also published in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies.