Co-Chairs

 

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.

   

Aaron Christoff, Partner, Gowling WLG, Vancouver, BC. Aaron Christoff is a partner in Gowling WLG’s Vancouver office with a practice focused on Aboriginal and Treaty rights and governance, as well as litigation engaging constitutional, commercial, and fiduciary issues. Aaron regularly advises First Nations on specific claims against the Crown, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, self-government, employment and human rights, use and possession of reserve land, fiduciary duties of Chief and Council, band council elections, and governance disputes. Aaron is a citizen of Saulteau First Nations in northeastern British Columbia, and has lived, worked, and studied across Canada.

   

Faculty

Elizabeth Bulbrook, Managing Lawyer, White Raven Law, Vancouver, BC. Elizabeth acts for the Haida through litigation and other legal strategies to advance their title, rights and interests and advises on governance, land and resource issues. Elizabeth has been involved in high-profile litigation for the Haida Nation directed at environmental protection and Indigenous title and rights at the BC Supreme Court, BC Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada.

   

Gary Campo, Partner, Woodward & Company LLP, Victoria, BC. In his role of partner at Woodward and Company, Gary’s work primarily focuses on a general practice for Indigenous governments. His current practice spans settlement negotiations, business transactions, taxation, economic development, reserve infrastructure projects, environmental remediation, band governance, leasing, contractual and employment matters, and ‘Indian’ status issues. Gary was born in North Vancouver and is a member of the Squamish Nation.

   
   

Robert J. Dennis Sr., Chief Councillor, Huu-ay-aht First Nations, BC. Robert has served as the Chief Councillor of Huu-ay-aht First Nations since 2015. He also previously served as the Nation’s elected chief, councillor, Band Manager and Chief Negotiator. In addition to the years of service he has offered his Nation, for eight years, Robert was the Executive Director, Building Coordinator, and Program Director for the Port Alberni Friendship Center. Robert also worked as a Director and Shore Worker for Central Native Fisherman’s Co-op for more than six years. He was, and still is, a logger and fisherman and is passionate about celebrating, preserving, and sharing his culture and language with the outside world.

   

Evan C. Duffy, Partner, Parlee McLaws LLP, Edmonton, AB. Evan is an experienced litigator based out of Parlee’s Edmonton office. Evan is the head of Parlee’s aboriginal law practice group and regularly advises First Nations or Indigenous individuals on various aspects of Indigenous governance, land claims, labour and employment matters, election litigation, and a wide variety of other issues involving First Nations. He has acted on matters before the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench, Alberta Court of Appeal, Federal Court of Canada, Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Evan is a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law and is a regular presenter at professional development events for lawyers and human resources professionals.

   

Maegen Giltrow, Partner, Ratcliff & Company LLP, North Vancouver, BC. Maegen works in litigation, negotiation and law & policy development. She is lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Blueberry River First Nations v. HMTQ (BC), currently before the BC Supreme Court, the first case to go to trial alleging breach of treaty rights arising from the cumulative impacts of development. She clerked at the BC Court of Appeal in 2003 for Justices Rowles and Southin, and has appeared as counsel and co-counsel before every level of court in Canada.

   

Grand Chief Peter Johnston, Council of Yukon First Nations, Whitehorse, YK. Peter Johnston was elected Grand Chief of the Council of Yukon First Nations in June 2016 and reacclaimed in 2019. He is a member of the Yanyedi clan. Peter’s years in service in Teslin Tlingit Council Government have provided him with opportunities to sit in many capacities including education, investments and economic development. He has several years of leadership abilities at the highest levels of First Nations governance.

   

Rob Louie, DipIPSM, BA, LLB and LLM (Candidate), President, BMAAAC, Fort McMurray, AB. Rob is the founder, CEO and President of the Band Members Alliance and Advocacy Association of Canada (BMAAAC), a national, non-profit society that helps Band members get access to justice to hold elected Chiefs and Band Councils accountable. BMAAAC has partnered with law firms in Canada to carry out this service. Rob is from the Ktunaxa (Kootenay) First Nation in British Columbia. He was the litigation strategist in Louie v. Louie (2015 BCCA). He is currently working towards a Masters in Law degree from York University specializing in constitutional law. Combining his educational and professional background with his own personal recovery from alcoholism, Rob is an active member in the Indigenous, legal and recovery communities.

   
Michael McDonald, Q.C., Partner, Clark Wilson LLP, Vancouver, BC. Mike McDonald is a Partner with Clark Wilson LLP, where he serves as Chair of the Indigenous Law Group. Since 1990, Mike has been a principal proponent of Indigenous economic growth, leading many of Canada’s most intricate and complex precedent-setting Indigenous development projects totaling more than $20 billion, in the energy, forestry, mining, oil & gas, construction, tourism and real estate sectors, including various businesses and wealth management structures flowing from those deals. A member of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba, Michael couples vast business experience with distinct cultural understanding to serve his clients from a holistic perspective, crafting solutions that unite legal, commercial, governance and social interests.
   

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.

   

Maya Stano, Partner, Gowling WLG, Vancouver, BC. Maya practices corporate, natural resource, environmental and Indigenous law. Maya has a wide range of legal experience assisting individuals, companies, governments and Indigenous Nations on resource development, including mining, forestry, large and small scale hydro projects, oil and gas, nuclear and cannabis. Maya also assists Indigenous Nations with economic development and governance-related matters, such as relations and agreements with other governments, law-drafting, stewardship, and protection of Title, Rights and interests. In addition to being a lawyer, Maya is a professional geological engineer and is actively engaged on numerous boards and committees, including Engineers and Geoscientists British Columbia (Division of Environmental Professionals), Mine Environmental Neutral Drainage and Georgia Strait Alliance.

   

Mary Teegee, Executive Director of Child and Family Services, Carrier Sekani Family Services, Takla Lake First Nation, British Columbia. Mary is Gitk’san and Carrier from Takla Lake First Nation, and is a proud member of the Luxgaboo Wolf Clan. Within CSFS, Mary oversees the provincially delegated programs, youth services, family preservation, maternal child health, and the Highway of Tears Initiative, as well as violence prevention programs. Mary is a relentless advocate for human, Indigenous, and women’s rights and has served on various provincial, national, and international committees. She represents BC on the Board of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, has acted as a Steering Committee member of the First Nation Early Childhood Development Council, and has been a member of the Provincial Ministers Advisory Council on Aboriginal Women.

   

Michael Welters, Partner, Aldridge + Rosling LLP, Vancouver BC. Michael advises on taxes and inter-governmental fiscal relations. Michael specializes in providing tax advice to the tax-exempt sector, including modern treaty nations, bands, municipalities, health authorities, school districts, charities and non-profit organizations. He provides those clients with advice on: obtaining or maintaining their income tax exempt status and structuring new activities; complying with and mitigating their commodity tax obligations (e.g., PST, GST, property transfer tax); and the application of, or exemption from, annual property taxes. Michael teaches aboriginal tax as an adjunct professor at UBC Faculty of Law.