Co-Chairs

Karey Brooks, Principal, JFK Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Ms. Brooks has extensive experience in civil litigation. Her practice focuses on Aboriginal and constitutional law issues. She represents First Nations and First Nations organizations on matters relating to treaty and Aboriginal rights, land use issues, environmental issues, oil and gas related matters and water rights. Ms. Brooks represents clients in BC, Alberta and Ontario.

   

 Jeff Langlois, Associate, JFK Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Jeff acts for First Nations in a broad range of matters, including constitutional litigation, environmental assessments and engagement with the Crown, and businesses relating to diverse areas such as land use planning, oil and gas, mining, hydroelectric development and the implementation of land claims agreements. Jeff has appeared before all levels of court in British Columbia, as well as the Yukon Supreme Court and the Ontario Court of Appeal, and has assisted clients in the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada. His practice includes clients in British Columbia, Yukon, the Northwest Territories, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Ontario. Prior to joining JFK Law, Jeff practised at a national law firm in Vancouver where he represented First Nations and businesses in a broad range of contexts, including Aboriginal law, commercial litigation, insolvency, and dispute resolution.

   

Faculty

Caleb Behn, Lawyer, Fort Nelson First Nation, Fort Nelson, BC. Caleb Behn is Eh-Cho Dene and Dunne Za/Cree from the Treaty 8 Territory of Northeastern BC. He recently graduated from the University of Victoria with a Juris Doctor and is among the first UVic Law students granted the Concentration in Environmental Law and Sustainability. Prior to law school, he was the Oil and Gas Officer for the West Moberly First Nations and a Lands Manager for the Saulteau First Nations. He was recently featured in the acclaimed documentary film Fractured Land. Caleb is currently the Lands Director for the West Moberly First Nation and is also Executive Director for the Keepers of the Water.

 

Robert Freedman, Principal, JFK Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Mr. Freedman practises Aboriginal law with a focus on advising clients in consultation processes and assisting them in litigation to protect their Section 35 rights. His practice focuses primarily on advising First Nations and First Nation organizations on a variety of matters including environmental assessments, treaty negotiations, treaty and Aboriginal rights, environmental issues, oil and gas related matters, hydro-electric matters, and water rights. He has particular expertise assisting First Nations in their consultations with federal and provincial governments and industry, and in negotiating consultation/accommodation agreements. Mr. Freedman has appeared at all levels of court in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Since 2008, he has been recognized by Lexpert as a leading lawyer in Canada in the field of Aboriginal law.

   

Maegen Giltrow, Associate Counsel, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. Maegen works as associate counsel with Ratcliff & Company. Maegen began working at Ratcliff at the beginning of her career after clerking at the BC Court of Appeal, and spent several years working exclusively in all areas of Aboriginal litigation including commercial disputes, fiduciary duty claims, reserve based claims, tort claims, consultation and accommodation, and Aboriginal rights and title claims. She also helped to develop inaugural laws for self-governance under treaty, including the establishment of one of the first Indigenous dispute resolution tribunals in B.C. Her interest and experience in governance matters has expanded in recent years as she has broadened her legal practice to advising and representing local governments and others in public law matters.

 

Crystal Lameman, Treaty Coordinator and Communications Manager, Beaver Lake Cree Nation, AB. Crystal is from the Beaver Lake Cree Nation, Treaty No. 6, Alberta where she is the Treaty Coordinator and Communications Manager. She uses her formal academia (two university degrees) but most importantly her Indigenous ways of knowing and being to articulate the damaging impacts of industrialization and resource extraction on her homelands. Prior to her current position, she was the Climate and Energy Campaigner for Sierra Club Canada, Prairie Chapter and prior to that was the Canadian Tar Sands Campaigner for the Indigenous Environmental Network.

 

Melody Lepine, Director, Government & Industry Relations (GIR), Mikisew Cree First Nation. Ms. Lepine is a member of the Mikisew Cree First Nation and was raised in the beautiful community of Fort Chipewyan, Alberta. Melody is currently enrolled in the Masters of Science program at Royal Roads University. Melody has worked for her community and First Nation for the past eleven years as the Director of GIR. She is responsible for overseeing all government and industry consultation pertaining to resource development that may impact the Mikisew Cree. During her time with the GIR, she has been managing hundreds of government and industry consultation files some of which include six oil sands regulatory interventions and judicial reviews. Melody has led the development of consultation protocols and guidelines, numerous traditional land use studies and is one of the key negotiators of impact benefit agreements. Ms. Lepine is also quite proud to have initiated a community based environmental monitoring program, cultural impact assessments, land use plans and indigenous knowledge studies. Ms. Lepine serves as a board member for the Cumulative Environment Management Association and as a trustee for the MCFN IBA trust.

 

Dr. Bruce McIvor, Principal, First Peoples Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Dr. Bruce McIvor is a lawyer and historian. First Peoples Law is dedicated to defending and advancing Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights. Bruce has represented First Nations at all levels of court and assists First Nations across the country in the defence of their Aboriginal and Treaty rights and the negotiation of impact benefit agreements for major resource development projects. Bruce holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in Aboriginal and environmental history and is a Fulbright Scholar.

   
 

Ross Neil, Crown Consultation Lead, Major Projects Management Office, Vancouver, BC. Ross works as a consultation lead at the Major Projects Management Office. Prior to his current position, Ross worked as a team leader at the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency. He holds a masters in Political Geography from Carlton University and a B.Sc. in Environmental Engineering from the University of Guelph.

   

Martin Olszynski, Professor, University of Calgary, Faculty of Law, Calgary, AB. Mr. Olszynski holds a B. Sc. and an LL.B. from the University of Saskatchewan and an LL.M. (specializing in environmental law) from the University of California at Berkeley. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Calgary he was counsel at the federal Department of Justice practising in the legal services unit at Fisheries and Oceans Canada. He also spent time on secondment to the Legislative and Regulatory Affairs Division at Environment Canada. Mr. Olszynski clerked for the Federal Court of Appeal in 2006.

   

James Tate, Partner, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. James is a litigator, negotiator, and acts as general counsel for a number of First Nations. As a litigator, his practice is focused on Aboriginal consultation and accommodation in relation to major resource projects. James has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia and at the Federal Court of Canada. He has also represented First Nation clients at various administrative tribunals, including the National Energy Board and the Specific Claims Tribunal. James was lead counsel for the Fort Nelson First Nation in a 2015 Environmental Appeal Board decision which resulted in the cancellation of a provincially authorized water license being used to withdraw water from the Tsea lakes for fracking. As a negotiator for First Nation clients, James has concluded significant settlements with both the federal and provincial crown, including major economic benefit agreements, forest and range agreements, consultation agreements, BC Hydro agreements and specific claim settlements. He has also negotiated many agreements with corporate proponents, in diverse areas including forestry, independent power, and aquaculture.