Find Lawyers in Toronto, Ontario for Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice
Julie Abouchar, B.Sc. (Hons.), LL.B., B.C.L., LL.M., is a partner at Willms & Shier Environmental Lawyers LLP and certified as a Specialist in Indigenous Legal Issues and Environmental Law by the Law Society of Ontario. Julie provides solutions to environmental law issues including water taking and discharges, contaminated land risk avoidance, regulatory management and compliance. Julie is recognised for her experience working with Indigenous communities. Focusing on resource and infrastr...
Adam Chamberlain is an active member of Gowling WLG's Environmental Law, Indigenous Law and the Canada North Practice Groups. Certified as a Specialist in Environmental Law by the Law Society of Upper Canada, Adam has practised environmental and energy law for most of his career, focused on infrastructure development. Adam's practice encompasses diverse matters related to the environmental and other regulatory requirements involved with project development. Adam is also extensively involved i...
John is one of Canada’s foremost experts in environmental, regulatory, administrative, and Indigenous legal issues in Canada’s North. John focuses on environmental approvals for resource development, land claims implementation, and modern treaties in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. He advises industry, Indigenous groups, governments, and co-management tribunals involved in environmental impact assessment and land and water regulation for resource development projects in the...
Jessica Orkin has a broad litigation practice including criminal, civil and administrative law matters, with an emphasis on constitutional, human rights, Aboriginal rights and access to information law matters. Jessica appears at all levels of court, including the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. She is also a frequent speaker at legal conferences and seminars. Jessica received her law degree from the University of Toronto. She also holds an M.Phil. degree in Devel...
Bob Potts has been a Partner in the firm for more than thirty-five years. He is an experienced litigation counsel with a varied practice and extensive client list. Bob has successfully acted for clients in disputes involving real estate and business contracts, corporate disputes and mortgage enforcement remedies. He has defended class actions and served as counsel in several leading cases, including Abdool , Bre-X and the class action stemming from the 2008 propane explosion in Toronto. Actin...
Adrienne practices in the areas of labour, constitutional, administrative, and national security law, as well as in Aboriginal law and Indigenous rights. She has appeared before all levels of courts in Ontario, the Federal Courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada. She provides strategic legal advice to clients on a range of issues, and advances their interests through negotiation, litigation, and oral and written advocacy before courts, tribunals, and in other forums. Adrienne's labour law pra...
Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice Definition
Aboriginal law in Canada, in its broadest sense, is law about Aboriginal people; namely First Nations people (e.g. the Dene people or the Cree people), Inuit, people and Metis people (i.e. a distinct group of people created from the union of First Nations people and Europeans).
Much of Aboriginal law is about four important concepts: Aboriginal title, Aboriginal rights, Treaty rights, and the closely associated duty of consultation and accommodation. All of these rights are protected by s. 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
Aboriginal title recognizes that Aboriginal people have property rights to Canada due to occupation before assertion of European control/sovereignty. These property rights are held communally by Aboriginal nations and can only be sold to the Crown, not private parties. Title is seen commonly in areas without treaties, such as British Columbia or the Maritimes.
Aboriginal rights arise from practices, customs, and traditions integral to an Aboriginal group at the time of European contact (or effective control in the case of the Metis). Examples include the right to hunt for food or in some cases the right to harvest fish commercially. Aboriginal rights are seen across Canada.
Treaty rights arise from treaties between Aboriginal people and the Crown. It is a solemn contract and treaty promises can depend on the treaty text. The treaties in the Prairie provinces are known as “surrender” treaties as the treaty cedes land to the Crown in exchange for treaty rights such as the right to hunt for food or the creation of reserve land. Many, if not all, First Nation people dispute that they have extinguished their rights to land as asserted in the treaty.
Finally, the duty of consultation and accommodation is an obligation on the Crown (Federal or Provincial) to engage an Aboriginal group before the Crown makes a decision to do something (e.g. allow tree harvesting or allocate Crown land) that may adversely impact proven or asserted rights. This is an important obligation designed to inform the Crown decision making process by ensuring Aboriginal perspectives on Crown action are brought forward before decisions are made.
Many lawyers assist resource developers, First Nations, and the Crown on the duty of consultation as a part of the regulatory process, which is required if development is to occur. Further, many lawyers assist First Nation and the Crown in addressing title, rights, and treaty claims.
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