Co-Chairs

Andrea East, Partner, Pushor Mitchell LLP, Kelowna, BC. Ms. East assists First Nations and the organizations that do business with them to navigate the regulatory systems governing their economic and real estate development projects. Ms. East also provides advice on the liability and governance considerations of various business structures, and prepares and reviews the associated agreements. Ms. East has been involved in numerous successful on-reserve real estate developments in British Columbia.

   

Michael Nienhuis, Associate, Kornfeld LLP, Vancouver, BC. Mike Nienhuis practises primarily in the areas of commercial real estate and Indigenous law. Prior to joining the legal profession, Mike worked as an executive with companies in Vancouver, San Diego and Seattle, with responsibility for sales and operations in North America, Europe and Asia. He frequently draws on that experience to develop an understanding of his clients’ businesses and transactions, which span a range of industry sectors and areas of law. Mike has developed a strong understanding of First Nations land issues in particular. He regularly advises clients – both First Nations and their partners in the larger business community – on transactions involving First Nations lands and other Indigenous law matters.

   

Faculty

Michael McDonald, Q.C., Partner, Clark Wilson LLP, Vancouver, BC. Mike McDonald is a partner with Clark Wilson LLP, where he serves as co-chair of the Aboriginal Business group. Over the course of his 30+ year career, Michael has been a principal proponent of Aboriginal economic growth, leading many of Canada’s most intricate and complex precedent-setting Aboriginal development projects totaling more than $20 billion in the mining, oil & gas, energy and infrastructure sectors, including various business ventures and wealth management structures flowing from these 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.

   

Kirk McIntosh, Project Manager, Urban Systems Ltd., Vancouver, BC. Kirk McIntosh is a project manager with Urban Systems, one of Western Canada’s leading multi-disciplinary consulting firms. Urban Systems offers a broad range of complementary skills in the fields of civil engineering, community planning and landscape architecture, which allow them to take projects from start to finish including vision, concept, pre-design, design, and construction. Kirk received his training in civil engineering technology at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. Kirk has over 35 years experience in land development and related infrastructure projects. Most recently Kirk has assisted Tsawwassen First Nation with several development initiatives.

   

Clifford Smirl, AACI, P. App, Partner, Kent-Macpherson, Kelowna, BC. After completing his Undergraduate degree (History) and Masters of Business Administration degree, Mr. Smirl completed post graduate certificates in Real Property Valuation and agriculture studies (wine business management and sustainable urban agriculture). As a designated appraiser specializing in on-reserve real estate valuation and consulting assignments throughout the province, Mr. Smirl has an extensive background in completing complex appraisal assignments on and off reserve lands.

   

Mindy Wight, CPA, CA, National Leader, Indigenous Tax Services, MNP LLP, Prince George, BC. Mindy is a Partner and Tax Specialist with MNP and serves as National Leader, Indigenous Tax Services. Based in Prince George, BC and serving First Nation clients and communities across Canada, Mindy specializes in helping First Nation members and organizations to utilize and maintain their income tax exemptions when organizing their corporate structures. Her clients include proprietorships, corporations, trusts and partnerships owned by First Nation members and communities. Mindy is a member of the Squamish Nation in North Vancouver, BC. With more than a decade of experience, Mindy assists her clients with purchases and sales of businesses, reorganizing companies, and minimizing taxes. Recognizing that every client’s situation and objectives are unique, she takes the time to develop an in-depth understanding of their tax needs and then works collaboratively to find and implement practical, workable solutions.

   

Jean Yuen, Shareholder, Boughton Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Jean practises primarily in the area of Indigenous law, with a special emphasis on First Nations economic development and is ranked as a leading Canadian Indigenous Law lawyer by LEXPERT. Jean has extensive experience in advising on land issues and development projects in respect of reserve land. She has assisted both First Nations and developers in structuring partnerships and other business arrangements to pursue commercial and residential developments on reserve land, and advised lenders in securing their loans for on reserve projects. Jean is the author of the chapter entitled “Real Estate Development on First Nations Lands” in the CLE British Columbia Real Estate Development Practice Manual, was recently a member of British Columbia Real Estate Association Standard Forms First Nations Leasehold Land Task Force and is a frequent presenter at CLE and PBLI conferences.