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Aboriginal Law

Our Aboriginal law group provides creative, cutting-edge representation for Aboriginal clients on a wide range of legal matters.

We help our clients navigate the complex and unique challenges that inevitably arise in Aboriginal law. We work with Aboriginal individuals, communities, institutions and governments to help them advance and protect their rights and interests. Our goal is to help our clients take a community-led approach to build internal capacity within their communities through self-government, economic self-sufficiency and environmental stewardship.

We represent Aboriginal clients before courts and tribunals in jurisdictions across Canada, up to and including the Supreme Court of Canada. We provide services in both English and French.

Our experience includes:

  • Aboriginal and treaty rights litigation
  • Environmental stewardship and natural resource management
  • General litigation, including injunction applications regarding development on Aboriginal land
  • Administrative law issues, including appeals and judicial review of administrative decisions
  • Constitutional law, including section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982
  • Advice on the duty to consult and accommodate
  • Advice regarding the application of the Indian Act on reserves‎
  • Advice for claimants seeking compensation for physical and sexual abuse under the Independent Assessment Process of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
  • Litigation surrounding the interpretation of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement
  • Criminal matters relating to systemic issues confronting Aboriginal peoples
  • Employment, discrimination and harassment issues on behalf of Aboriginal employees
  • All aspects of corporate and commercial law, including corporate structuring, governance matters and contract development
  • General tax consulting
  • Negotiations and Alternative Dispute Resolution

We have been involved in a number of notable Aboriginal law cases, including:

R. v. Kokopenace ( 2015 SCC 28), which deals with Aboriginal representation on juries.

Detlor v. Brantford (City) (2013 ONCA 560) which deals with the constitutional duty of consultation, and the availability of injunctive relief to prevent Aboriginal protest.

R. v. Ladue, R v. Ipeelee (2012 SCC 13), which deals with sentencing Aboriginal offenders.

United States v. Leonard (2012 ONCA 622), regarding the application the Gladue principles in the context of extradition proceedings (leave to the Supreme Court of Canada refused).

Strateco Resources v. Attorney General of Quebec (2020 QCCA 18), in which the Quebec Court of Appeal upheld Quebec’s refusal to grant a permit to Strateco’s advanced uranium exploration project on the basis of the project’s lack of social acceptability amongst the Cree Nation of Mistissini.

Fontaine v. Canada (Attorney General) (2014 ONSC 283), in which the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that the Federal Government “misconstrued” its disclosure obligations under the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and ordered it to disclose any documents in its possession relating to abuse at St. Anne’s Indian Residential School.