Aboriginal and treaty rights
Over many years, our firm has acquired extensive experience advising Indigenous Peoples on the issues of Aboriginal and treaty rights. Aboriginal title is a right protected by the Constitution, and originates from the fact that Indigenous Peoples were living here before the arrival of Europeans and were never conquered. Our lawyers defend Indigenous Peoples’ right to use, control and enjoy the benefits of the land on which they have an ownership interest. We help them assert their right to the economic benefit of land and to proactively use and manage it.
Our lawyers have litigated many significant Aboriginal and treaty rights cases before the Supreme Court of Canada and lower courts, including Aboriginal rights of hunting, fishing trapping, gathering, self-government, border crossings, environmental and resource use issues.
For over twenty years, we acted as lead counsel to the seven signatory First Nations of the 1923 Williams Treaties in litigation involving their hunting, fishing, trapping and gathering rights. We were subsequently counsel to the Williams Treaties First Nations’ negotiators throughout the process that led to a monumental settlement agreement in 2018.
Through our expertise in treaty rights litigation and negotiations, we facilitate and promote a nation-to-nation relationship between Indigenous Peoples and the Crown. We ensure that the spirit and intent of treaties and the rights affirmed in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples guide the implementation process.