Your Aboriginal law needs require the experience of a knowledgeable and experienced team. Our lawyers have been practising in this area for many years and can provide you with the strategic and practical advice you need at a reasonable cost.
Our lawyers have broad and comprehensive experience touching all aspects of Aboriginal law. We regularly provide advice to energy and resource clients on Aboriginal consultation law in the context of securing regulatory and environmental approvals for major projects throughout Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories and Nunavut. We also provide advice on commercial, labour and employment, resource and environmental law matters directly to Indigenous governments, organizations and businesses throughout Western and Northern Canada.
Led by Gavin Fitch, Q.C., a senior practitioner in this area, our Aboriginal Law group includes regulatory and environmental lawyers, corporate and commercial lawyers, negotiators and litigators. Our group has the depth of experience needed to help our clients navigate this complex area of the law.
Our Aboriginal Law practice group has specific experience in the following areas:
Aboriginal and Regulatory Matters
- Advising on modern and historical treaty and aboriginal rights
- Advising on regulatory and aboriginal consultation strategy
- Negotiating land access and resource agreements
- Negotiating and drafting consultation protocols and impact benefit agreements
- Reviewing and assessing impacts of major resource projects on Aboriginal rights and interests
- Navigating environmental assessment processes including the integration of traditional knowledge
- Representing industry on legal challenges to the Crown’s duty to consult before administrative tribunals and all levels of court
- Advising on how the United Nation Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples affects resource development in Canada
Corporate and Commercial Matters
- Advice regarding corporate structure and governance models
- Negotiating and drafting corporate and construction agreements
- Negotiating and drafting joint ventures, partnership and commercial agreements
- Negotiation and drafting of mine and surface leases
- Advice regarding commercial development on First Nation reserve land and Métis settlement lands
- Advice regarding commercial development on modern treaty settlement lands
- Advising on commercial development under the First Nation Commercial and Industrial Development Act
- Advice on the extractive transparency and anti-bribery legislation
- Advice regarding financing and taxation issues
- Estates and trusts
Labour and Employment
- Advising on discipline, termination and wrongful dismissal disputes
Policy and Treaty Making
- Policy drafting
- Negotiating modern treaties at Treaty Commission tables
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- Acting as Chief Federal Negotiator for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada in B.C. Treaty Commission Treaty negotiations.
- Acted as second counsel for the Plaintiff and Respondent in a 14-month Federal Court trial and appeal in proving the prima facie claim of the Plaintiff in a claim for the wrongful surrender of reserve lands.
- Represented First Nations in drafting corporate agreements and contracts (such as construction contracts, mining leases, land leases, shareholder agreements, joint venture agreements.
- Advised a First Nation’s school board in Alberta.
- Act as counsel for environmental assessment review panels under the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act on major resource projects affecting aboriginal groups.
- Advised on employment and litigation issues such as jurisdictional, discipline, termination, policy drafting, wrongful dismissal litigation and absenteeism issues.
- Assist with governance reform and policy development election issues, compliance with Federal transparency requirements, and membership issues.
- Provide strategic advice to Chief and Council with respect to development and achievement of political goals.
- Advise and act for a number of energy and mining companies in Alberta and the Northwest Territories regarding Aboriginal groups and issues such as negotiating settlements, drafting agreements, and making submissions before regulatory bodies.
- Advised on Aboriginal tax issues.
- Advised Native American Resource Partners, LLC with respect to aboriginal water rights on Indian reserve land.
- Acted for BC Hydro as part of the negotiating team in respect of settlement negotiations to address long standing claims by one First Nation and one Métis community in the Fort Chipewyan area stemming from the building of the Bennett Dam in 1967.
- Advised Painted Pony Petroleum with regard to aboriginal consultation issues for proposed development in Northeast British Columbia.
- Advised Canbriam Energy with regard to aboriginal consultation issues in northeast British Columbia.
- Proved Endurance Energy with an opinion on risk to project development from First Nations in NE British Columbia for US parent company.