Chair

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.

   

Faculty

Kate Blomfield, Partner, Ratcliff & Company LLP, Vancouver, BC. Kate has been acting for First Nations since 2003 when she joined Ratcliff & Company LLP after clerking with the Nunavut Court of Justice. Her practice focuses on litigation, negotiations and governance matters for First Nations clients in BC and the Yukon. Kate has appeared before every level of court in Canada, as well as the Specific Claims Tribunal. Kate also represents First Nations in multi-party negotiations and assists First Nations with internal governance matters. Kate engages with communities, structures and undertakes negotiations, and drafts agreements, laws and policies for First Nations relating to lands, resources, and governance.

   

Jan Brongers, Senior General Counsel, Department of Justice (British Columbia Regional Office), Vancouver, BC. Jan has been a civil litigator throughout his 22-year career with the Department, which began in Ottawa before he returned to his home town of Vancouver in 2006. Jan has appeared before courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada, several administrative tribunals, and two commissions of inquiry. He is also a co-author of the Annotated Crown Liability and Proceedings Act. Jan is a graduate of McGill University and maintains his membership with the Bars of Quebec, Ontario and British Columbia.

   

Elizabeth Bulbrook, Associate, White Raven Law, Vancouver, BC. Elizabeth has an interest in Aboriginal, Indigenous, Environmental and Constitutional law, and brings extensive professional experience working with indigenous peoples to her position. Prior to studying law, Elizabeth received a Master’s degree in Archaeology and worked as an archaeological consultant for the Haida Heritage and Forest Guardians to protect and document archaeological sites on Haida Gwaii. Elizabeth has had the opportunity to work on high-profile litigation for the Haida Nation directed at environmental protection.

   

The Honourable Paul Favel, Federal Court of Canada, Ottawa, ON. Prior to his appointment, effective December 11, 2017, the Honourable Paul Favel was a partner at McKercher LLP in Saskatoon, specializing in Aboriginal law with an emphasis on corporate and commercial law related to First Nations economic development. In that role, he acted as legal counsel to various First Nations, advising on issues such as land designations, leases for commercial developments, land claims, and self-government negotiations. Justice Favel had served as Deputy Chief Commissioner with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission and as a member of the Oversight Committee established pursuant to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. In addition, he was a sessional lecturer for a course on First Nations economic development at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law. Justice Favel obtained a B.A. from the University of Saskatchewan and a law degree from Dalhousie University. A member of both the Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia Bars, he was appointed Queen’s Counsel for Saskatchewan in 2010. A member of Poundmaker Cree Nation, Justice Favel maintains close connections with his community.

   

Lisa C. Fong, Partner, Ng Ariss Fong, Vancouver, BC. Lisa is honored to be able to assist Aboriginal peoples with their legal representation and governance needs. Her work with Aboriginal groups extends to litigation, providing strategic advice, consulting or negotiating with government and third parties, and assisting her clients to build and maintain governance infrastructures. She and her firm have a special interest in environmental regulatory reviews.

   

Robert C. Freedman, Principal, JFK Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Mr. Freedman practises Aboriginal law with a focus on advising clients in complex negotiations with a particular focus on IBA negotiations and treaty negotiations. In addition, his practice focuses on advising First Nations and First Nation organizations on a variety of matters including environmental assessments, treaty and Aboriginal rights, environmental issues, oil and gas related matters, hydro-electric matters, and water rights.

   

Leah George-Wilson, Lawyer, Miller Titerle Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Leah is a lawyer practising in the area of Indigenous law, and is also a well-known and respected Indigenous leader. Leah is the former Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation and was the first woman to serve in this position, which she held for 6 years. She is currently an elected Co-Chair of the First Nations Summit, a Director on the Land Advisory Board and an appointed member of the First Nations Health Council.

   

Bridget Gilbride, Partner, Fasken Martineau DuMoullin LLP, Vancouver, BC. Bridget is a litigator in Vancouver specializing in Aboriginal, environmental, and maritime law. She advises clients seeking provincial and federal project approvals and permits, including environmental assessments, and represents clients in regulatory hearings and litigation. Bridget acts as counsel at administrative tribunals and at all levels of court in British Columbia and the Federal Court, and has appeared as counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada. She has extensive Aboriginal law experience, and assists clients in understanding both the law and their obligations. She advises clients who are consulting with Aboriginal groups and represents their interests in court challenges, injunctions and regulatory proceedings.

   

Arthur M. Grant, Partner, Grant Kovacs Norell, Vancouver, BC. Since being called to the British Columbian bar in 1985, Art has practised in civil litigation in a wide variety of cases, ranging from Aboriginal and constitutional law, administrative law, intellectual property, class actions, construction litigation, professional liability, commercial disputes, insurance law and personal injury law. He has appeared in every level of court in the Province, from the Provincial Court of British Columbia to the Supreme Court of Canada and has been counsel in cases in administrative tribunals, commercial arbitrations and mediations.

   

The Honourable Harry S. LaForme, Senior Counsel, Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, Toronto, ON. The Honourable Harry S. LaForme is Anishinabe of the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, Ontario. He was born and mostly raised on his reserve where some of his family continues to reside and remain active in the First Nation’s government. Judge LaForme graduated Osgoode Hall Law School, 1977 and was called to the Ontario Bar, 1979. He articled with Osler, Hoskin and Harcourt, and shortly thereafter commenced private practice in Indigenous law focused on Constitutional and Charter issues. In 1994 he was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, Ontario – then, one of 3 Indigenous judges ever appointed to this level of trial court in Canada. In 2004, he was appointed a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal. He is the first Indigenous appointment to any appellate court in Canada’s history. He retired from the judiciary in 2018 and commenced a position as Senior Counsel to Olthuis Kleer Townshend, LLP. Judge LaForme has been honoured with numerous awards, including the gift of Eagle Feathers at his swearing in at the Ontario Court of Appeal, and by the National Indian Residential School Survivors Society. Judge LaForme has published numerous articles on issues related to Indigenous law and justice, and speaks frequently on these topics.

   

Jaimie Lickers, Partner and National Leader of the Indigenous Law Group, Gowling WLG, Hamilton, ON. Ms. Lickers is a member of the advocacy department and her practice is focused on the areas of Indigenous, environmental and construction law. In 2018, Ms. Lickers was appointed as the national leader of Gowling WLG’s Indigenous Law Group. Ms. Lickers has experience with First Nations on a variety of matters, including taxation, trusts, self-government, regulatory matters and consultation issues. Ms. Lickers has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Ontario Court of Appeal. She regularly presents at conferences on topics related to First Nations taxation, First Nations trusts, Indigenous litigation, and consultation and accommodation.

   

Dr. Bruce McIvor, Lawyer and Historian, Principal, First Peoples Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC and Toronto, ON. Dr. Bruce McIvor is principal of First Peoples Law Corporation, a law firm dedicated to defending and advancing Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights and Treaty rights. His work includes both litigation and negotiation on behalf of Indigenous Peoples. Bruce is dedicated to public education. He recently published the third edition of his collection of essays entitled First Peoples Law: Essays in Canadian Law and Decolonization. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of British Columbia’s Allard School of Law where he teaches the constitutional law of Aboriginal and Treaty rights. 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. Bruce is recognized nationally and internationally as a leading practitioner of Aboriginal law in Canada.

   

Sonya Morgan, Lawyer, Woodward & Company LLP, Victoria, BC. Sonya practises Aboriginal and commercial litigation. She has extensive experience in large-scale litigation and arbitration, addressing issues in contract and statutory interpretation, Aboriginal law, administrative law, injunctions, and property ownership and transfer. Sonya has appeared as co-counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada, all levels of Court in Alberta, the Federal Courts, and the British Columbia Supreme Court.

   

John Rich, Emeritus, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. John has been with Ratcliff & Company LLP for over 25 years. He represents First Nation Governments as general counsel and in litigation. He has conducted several major trials respecting aboriginal rights and historic claims and has appeared at all levels of Provincial and Federal Courts and the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as numerous administrative tribunals. John has conducted independant investigations into allegations of breach of fiduciary duty for First Nations.

   

Maya Stano, Associate, Gowling WLG, Vancouver, BC. Maya practises natural resource, environmental and Indigenous law. Maya has a wide range of legal experience assisting individuals, companies and Indigenous Nations and other levels of governments on natural resource projects, including mining, forestry, large and small scale hydro projects, oil and gas projects, and nuclear projects. Maya provides timely and effective advice at all stages of project life, from early planning and tenure applications, through construction, operations and final closure, decommissioning and reclamation. Maya's services cover due diligence matters, permitting (including environmental assessments), land rights (including leases and other land access and tenure agreements), regulatory compliance, and engagement and agreement negotiations between First Nations, the Crown and proponents. Maya also assists Indigenous Nations in various government-related matters, including drafting laws and bylaws, drafting and implementing trust instruments for sustainable long-term financial management, managing land use and rights on reserve, and working with land codes and other governance matters. Maya studied law at the University of British Columbia, graduating with a specialization in environmental and natural resource Law. After graduation, Maya clerked at the Federal Court of Canada for the Honourable Mr. Justice John A. O'Keefe. Concurrently, she completed an LLM at the University of Ottawa, focusing on the legal implications associated with lifecycle management of metals. Maya is also a professional geological engineer and previously worked on mining projects both domestically and abroad, as well as on contaminated sites across British Columbia, and on oil and gas projects in northern Alberta. Maya's leadership talents extend beyond Gowling WLG, and she is actively engaged on numerous boards and committees including the division of environmental professionals of the Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia and multi-stakeholder committees such as the Mine Environmental Neutral Drainage committee and the Towards Sustainable Mining Community of Interest Panel.

   
 

Tim Timberg, General Counsel, Department of Justice Canada, Vancouver, BC. Tim practises Aboriginal, environmental, and administrative law. He has worked extensively in matters involving Aboriginal rights and title, fisheries law, and judicial reviews of Ministerial decisions regarding the management of fisheries, environmental reviews, international trade, and administrative law. He earned his LL.B. in 1996 from the University of British Columbia and his B.A. from Simon Fraser University.

   

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, Professor, Peter A. Allard School of Law; and Academic Director of the Indian Residential School Centre for History and Dialogue, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC. Professor Turpel-Lafond or Aki-kwe is a member of the Indigenous bar as well as the Law Societies of British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan. She was a Saskatchewan Provincial Court judge for 20 years (1998-2018) and served as B.C.’s first Representative for Children and Youth from 2006-2016, an independent Officer of the Legislative Assembly. During her time on the bench, Professor Turpel-Lafond was actively involved in projects relating to improving supports for Indigenous peoples, especially in addressing the unique circumstances and needs of children and youth involved in the justice system. Her work as Representative for Children and Youth included detailed and systemic examination of the child services system and she advocated for the human rights of children, resulting in many needed improvements. Professor Turpel-Lafond holds a Doctorate in Law from Harvard Law School (SJD), a Masters in international law from Cambridge University (Gonville and Caius College), a JD from Osgoode Hall at York University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Carleton University. She also holds a Certificate in the International and Comparative Law of Human Rights from the University of Strasbourg. She was awarded the distinction of Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel from the Indigenous Bar Association in 2006, and has been awarded honourary degrees from nine Canadian universities and schools of Law.

   

Kimberly Webber, Associate, Ng Ariss Fong, Vancouver, BC. Kimberly is the product of a west coast upbringing, having been raised on Vancouver Island. She completed her Juris Doctor degree at the Peter A. Allard School of Law at the University of British Columbia, graduating in 2017.  During her time at law school, Kimberly received numerous awards recognizing her passion and achievement in environmental law.  Kimberly also was fortunate enough to spend a semester abroad at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, where she took specialized courses in international law. After graduating from law school, Kimberly worked as a legal researcher, creating human rights and sustainability policies for corporations. Kimberly has also volunteered for numerous organizations, including the David Suzuki Foundation, Access Pro Bono, Reconciliation Canada. She is also currently a high school student mentor at the YWCA. Outside the office, Kimberly enjoys hiking, fishing, and exploring British Columbia’s outdoors.