Chair

Maxime Faille, Partner, Gowling WLG, Vancouver, BC. Named Benchmark Canada’s Aboriginal Law Litigator of the Year for 2016, Max Faille served until recently as national leader of the Indigenous Law Group at Gowling WLG, which was honoured by Best Lawyers in Canada as “Aboriginal Law Firm of the Year” for 2018-2019. Max’s clients consist of Indigenous governments, businesses and entrepreneurs across Canada, as well as private sector interests and other governments seeking to work with Indigenous communities. In addition to legal representation in the courts and in negotiations, Max regularly provides advice on matters of Aboriginal and treaty rights, First Nation taxation, self-government, Aboriginal consultation and accommodation, Impact and Benefit Agreements, and Indigenous economic development. Among numerous recognitions and awards for his work in Aboriginal law, Max is recognized as a leading lawyer in Aboriginal Law in Best Lawyers in Canada, Chambers Canada, Lexpert’s Leading Canadian Lawyers in Energy, and Leading Canadian Lawyers in Global Mining.

   

Faculty

Karey Brooks, Principal, JFK Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Karey practises civil litigation with a focus on Aboriginal, constitutional and administrative law. She has appeared in all levels of court, including in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Karey primarily acts for First Nations and First Nations organizations in court and negotiations with government and industry on matters relating to Aboriginal rights and title, consultation, regulatory matters, including environmental assessments, and general governance matters, including status and membership issues. Karey also has experience in other public law related work, including with respect to Charter rights litigation and public inquiries. Karey was co-counsel to the Aseniwuche Winewak Nation in Daniels v. Canada. In 2016, Karey was awarded the UBC Law School Outstanding Young Alumnus Award and in 2015, she was recognized as one of Canada’s Legal Rising Stars by Lexpert.

   

Aaron Bruce (Kelts'-Tkinem), Partner, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. Aaron is member of the Squamish Nation and is passionate about working with First Nations to balance economic development opportunities with the protection of Aboriginal rights and title interests and environmental conservation. He advises on land and resource issues, Aboriginal rights and title, matters under the Indian Act, First Nation governance issues, economic development opportunities, and acts as general counsel for First Nations governments. Aaron specializes in the negotiation of impact benefit agreements, accommodation agreements with the Crown, and other interim agreements concerning land and natural resources.

   

Raf De Guevara, Manager, Intergovernmental Affairs/Title and Rights, Westbank First Nation, Kelowna, BC. Raf De Guevara is a member of Westbank First Nation (WFN) and has lived in the community for more than 25 years. A former elected councilor, Raf was instrumental in negotiating a Community Forest License representing a land base of over 47,000 hectares. He was also involved in revitalizing the Aboriginal Education Agreement with the local school district which resulted in solidifying First Nations’ place at the table. For a 14 year period, Westbank negotiated a Self-Government Agreement with the federal government and underwent an extensive consultation process with the community. The last three years of the process was focused on lobbying with all levels of senior government and Raf was part of the team that saw this through to completion. As Manager of Intergovernmental Affairs/Title and Rights with WFN, Raf’s primary role is to implement all aspects of the Self-Government Agreement, to negotiate, strengthen and maintain relationships with government of all levels, and to respond and negotiate Third Party interests and agreements within Westbank First Nation territory.

   

Sandra A. Gogal, Partner, Miller Thomson LLP, Toronto, ON. Sandra Gogal has been nationally recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in Canada for Aboriginal and Environmental Law, as well as Lexpert Leading Lawyers for Aboriginal and Global Mining. Her practice focuses on natural resource development, primarily in the mining and hydro sectors, providing both strategic business and legal advice to clients in developing projects on treaty and aboriginal claimed lands. Sandra has negotiated many agreements with Aboriginal peoples to facilitate development, including impact and benefit agreements and partnerships between industry and aboriginal peoples across North America. She has acted as counsel for industry in litigation matters involving aboriginal and treaty rights and has successfully negotiated many settlements with First Nations in excess of $100 million.

   

Jennifer Griffith, Lawyer, Donovan & Company, Vancouver, BC. Jennifer has been a member of Donovan & Company since 2000. She holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Aquatic Biology from Brown University and worked as an environmental consultant prior to receiving her law degree from McGill University. Jennifer was called to the bar in British Columbia in 1994. Jennifer advises her First Nation clients on various matters including consultation and accommodation issues, impact benefit agreements, government-to-government discussions, and specific claims (legal opinions and negotiations).

   

Erin Hanson, Policy Advisor, Tsleil-Waututh Nation, North Vancouver, BC. Erin works as a Policy Advisor at the Tsleil-Waututh Nation with a particular focus on issues relating to Indigenous laws, jurisdiction, rights and title. She has over ten years’ experience managing consultation and accommodation processes for several Coast Salish communities. Erin recently graduated with her Masters in Anthropology at the University of British Columbia. Her research examines the impacts and implications of Crown-First Nations consultation processes, in particular how Indigenous nations assert and enact their own laws and jurisdiction over their lands, waters, and resources in response to resource development in their territories.

   

Robert J.M. Janes, Q.C., Principal, JFK Law Corporation, Victoria, BC. Mr. Janes is a litigator with extensive experience in Aboriginal law. Recognized by Lexpert for many years as a leading lawyer in Aboriginal law, he has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia, Ontario and Alberta acting for Aboriginal people. He has also appeared many times at the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeals. In addition to his litigation work, Mr. Janes advises nations involved in the BC Treaty Process.

   

F. Matthew Kirchner, Partner, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. Mr. Kirchner practises in the areas of Aboriginal rights, land and resource issues, rights under the Indian Act, specific claims, fiduciary duties and general litigation for aboriginal clients. He also practises in the areas of civil litigation, administrative law and environmental law. Mr. Kirchner has appeared before administrative tribunals, all levels of court in B.C. and the Supreme Court of Canada, particularly on First Nations issues. He was recently counsel for the plaintiffs in Ahousaht et al. v. Canada where the Nuu-chah-nulth plaintiffs successfully established Aboriginal rights to harvest any species of fish from their territories and sell that fish into the commercial marketplace.

   

Rosanne Kyle, Partner, Mandell Pinder LLP, Vancouver, BC. Ms. Kyle has practised Aboriginal law for over 20 years. Her practice focuses on litigation, regulatory processes for resource development projects, consultation issues, and negotiations. She has appeared as litigation counsel in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario courts, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also been counsel to First Nations before regulatory bodies such as the National Energy Board and environmental assessment panels. For the last several years, she has been recognized as one of the leading lawyers in the aboriginal law field in the Canadian Lexpert Directory and is also listed in Best Lawyers in Canada.

   

Dr. Bruce McIvor, Lawyer and Historian, Principal, First Peoples Law, Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON. Bruce represents First Nations across Canada. His recent and ongoing work includes litigation involving treaty rights, the duty to consult and Aboriginal title. He also works with numerous clients across Canada to negotiate agreements based on consent and recognition of their Indigenous laws and jurisdiction. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada (Canadian Legal Expert Directory and Chambers Canada). Bruce is a proud Métis from the Red River in Manitoba. He holds a law degree, a Ph.D. in Aboriginal and environmental history, and is a Fulbright Scholar.

   

Paul Seaman, Partner, Gowling WLG, Vancouver, BC. A member of the firm’s Indigenous and Environmental Law groups, Paul advises a variety of clients on a broad range of legal problems, with an emphasis on complex commercial, regulatory and constitutional matters. He regularly advises Indigenous communities, industry groups and government on projects and transactions where the Crown’s duty to consult Indigenous Peoples is engaged, and on the negotiation of agreements between Indigenous communities, industry and government in those circumstances. He represents clients before all levels of court in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as before tribunals in regulatory matters. He currently acts as counsel to the Tsleil-Waututh Nation before the National Energy Board, the lead applicant that was successful before the Federal Court of Appeal in its recent decision in connection with the Trans Mountain Expansion Project. His academic articles on Indigenous business and legal issues have been published in Canada and internationally. Paul is a proud citizen of the Manitoba Métis Federation and an active member of the Métis community. He carried the torch in the 2010 Olympic torch relay on behalf of the Métis Nation of British Columbia.

   

Mark Smith, General Counsel & Director of Process, BC Treaty Commission, Vancouver, BC. Mark joined the Treaty Commission in 2001. He manages the advisors and is directly responsible for process and communications initiatives. Mark provides legal, political, and strategic policy advice on a wide-range of treaty-related and Aboriginal rights issues. Mark leads complex facilitations on overlapping and shared territory discussions and is involved in dispute resolution processes. He works directly with First Nations to find Nation-led resolutions, and consults on governance-related matters. Mark assisted the Treaty Commission with its submission to the United Nations, which was endorsed in Final Report of the 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. A graduate from the University of Alberta Law School, Mark was called to Alberta Bar, and is currently a member of the Law Society in British Columbia. Mark has focused his career on Aboriginal law and First Nations issues. Mark previously was a sole-practitioner, and has practiced Aboriginal and environmental law with the firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He is completing a Master of Laws at the University of British Columbia focusing on First Nations legal issues.

   

Scott A. Smith, Partner, Gowling WLG, Vancouver, BC. Scott regularly advises Indigenous peoples and companies across Canada on Indigenous, environmental assessment, regulatory and constitutional issues for major energy and natural resource projects. Scott has extensive experience advising clients on the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate Indigenous peoples. He also negotiates and drafts agreements between Indigenous peoples and companies. He works closely with Indigenous clients to develop innovative legal strategies to help them leverage their rights and title to achieve their goals - whether to successfully oppose projects or secure direct economic benefits from them. Scott’s Indigenous and environmental advocacy practice includes representing Indigenous peoples in regulatory hearings, judicial reviews and appeals of administrative decisions (such as the Crown’s failure to consult Indigenous peoples), multi-party civil litigation in respect of contaminated sites, and complex tort litigation. Scott is currently representing Indigenous clients in environmental assessment and regulatory hearings for a number of proposed major oil and natural gas pipelines, including Enbridge’s Line 9B Project, Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain Expansion Project, TransCanada’s Energy East Pipeline Project and natural gas pipelines in B.C.

   

Jean Teillet, Jean Teillet, IPC, Senior Counsel, Pape Salter Teillet LLP, Vancouver, BC. Jean specializes in Indigenous rights law and has long been engaged in negotiations and litigation with provincial and federal governments concerning Métis and First Nation land rights, harvesting rights, commercial harvesting and self-government. She is currently the chief negotiator for the Sto:lo Xwexwilmexw in the BC treaty process and was part of the legal team on the Tlicho Land Claims and Self-Government Agreement negotiations. Jean has served as counsel before all levels of court, including lead counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada. She was the first recipient of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Lincoln Alexander Award and, in 2011, was awarded the title “Indigenous Peoples Counsel” by the Indigenous Bar Association. In 2012, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. She has been awarded two honorary doctorates: Guelph University (2014); Law Society of Upper Canada (2015). Jean is the great grand niece of Louis Riel.