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Indigenous Law

Tailored support and expertise for communities

Indigenous Law

Building bridges that cross cultural divides with qualified Indigenous Law experts.

The law is not an abstract concept for Canada’s First Nations and Inuit peoples. Almost every area of law touches on Indigenous legal issues. The concepts grounding Indigenous Law and Indigenous rights must be considered in every issue. Our clients – whether an individual, a business, a band, an organization or a whole community – need practical solutions. To deliver, we must be strong general practitioners. But a proficiency with the law isn’t enough.

Every community and group has a unique history and dynamic. People have their own views about what the law should be, while the law continues to evolve from the practices of the past. It’s our role to navigate these divides of culture, politics and language to build the bridges that will support open dialogue. This is crucial to achieve the best possible outcomes for our clients.

It’s a responsibility that takes more than conference calls and email exchanges. You can’t build trust without face-to-face engagement. As much as possible, we come to you. Our team works side by side with clients across Quebec, Ontario, Nunavut and the Northwest Territories in multiple languages. We are passionate about understanding and protecting your interests. This begins by asking the right questions and listening to define what it is that you want. We then help you understand your legal options, chose the most appropriate path and see it through.

Why has our team embraced this distinct area of law? We thrive on the intellectual challenge and the emotional satisfaction of doing what we can to create healthier communities and a better collective future. Given that Indigenous law touches on so many other areas, we can draw on the expertise of our colleagues from our firm’s other practice groups to give you full-service counsel and support. Our team provides the quality service you deserve as cost-effectively as possible.

Serving First Nations and Inuit organizations on important issues

We serve First Nations and Inuit organizations on issues that are of major importance to Indigenous communities. Our experience includes:

  • Proceedings against federal, provincial and territorial governments to enforce the implementation of land claims agreements and treaties
  • Litigation to establish and protect commercial and individual harvesting rights
  • Negotiation of revenue sharing and benefit agreements for major mining and resource developments
  • Consultation and accommodation protocols
  • Comprehensive land claims negotiations with federal and provincial governments
  • Land use, parks, and habitat issues
  • Overlap agreements
  • Trust and taxation issues
  • Aboriginal participation in government procurement
  • Establishment, design, and governance of Indigenous organizations in areas including health, education, economic development, justice, policing and self-government

Advice and representation to Indigenous organizations and businesses:

  • Implementation of land claims agreements and self-government legislation
  • Financing community housing projects and commercial real estate development
  • Construction contracts and service agreements
  • Commercial leasing
  • Employment matters
  • Granting interests in land
  • Membership issues
  • Incorporations, partnership agreements, and joint venture agreements
  • Residential school claims
  • Tax planning

Janice Payne, head of our Employment Law group, was a member of the National Certification Committee responsible for having the Residential Schools class action certified and the settlement approved across Canada.

We have worked on cases that are important to individuals and communities in Nunavut, such as land claims and the Residential Schools Class Action. In 1999, one of our partners, David Stout was retained as lead counsel on behalf of the Office of the Interim Commissioner for the Territory of Nunavut. He negotiated the re-organization of the Northwest Territories Power Corporation and the Workers’ Compensation Board of the Northwest Territories, following the division of the Northwest Territories into two new territories. David has continued to practice in Nunavut since that time.

A number of our lawyers have been called to the Nunavut Bar, and we are committed to providing representation and services to our clients in Nunavut in the areas of Indigenous, Business, Employment, Family, and Real Estate Law.

We have competitive pricing, and can arrange interpretation services for clients who prefer to communicate using Inuktitut languages.

To reach a member of our Indigenous Law group call our toll-free direct line at 1-844-628-4664 and we’d be happy to assist you.

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