Finding harmony through business and culture.
We work with First Nations owned businesses, Tribal Councils, and Aboriginal Political Organizations in all aspects of economic development and constitutional entitlements. We can help with structuring First Nation owned business, establishment of trusts, taxation, and the financing of economic development projects.
Our Aboriginal Law group has extensive experience in proudly representing First Nations' interests at a wide variety of regional and national administrative tribunals, and all court levels including the Supreme Court of Canada. We have the necessary background and experience to help our clients achieve their goals, offering services in:
- Economic Development and Business Structuring: We have extensive experience advising on the design and structure of economic vehicles for the creation of own source revenue streams that maximize tax advantages, governance, and self-determination objectives for our clients.
- Employment and Housing: We support First Nations through advising and representing on employment matters, such as employment contracts and dismissals, including the unique jurisdictional and taxation issues that apply in the Aboriginal context. We also assist First Nations in crafting and enacting their own laws and policies on housing and employment matters.
- Financing Advice for On and Off Reserve Developments: We advise First Nations and lending institutions on specific financing and securitization issues that arise in the Aboriginal context. We work to maximize affordable borrowing capacities for our clients. We understand commercial land development both on and off reserve lands and have extensive experience drafting appropriate leases and permits for First Nations and third party developers.
- First Nation Taxation: We help First Nations navigate specific taxation issues that arise in the Aboriginal context, including: tax planning through appropriate structuring, employment and business taxation, and minimizing liabilities arising from provincial and federal taxation laws and policies.
- Gaming: We advise and draft Gaming Centre and VLT Site Holder Agreements, and related management and procurement agreements, on behalf of First Nations. We are extensively experienced with advising, negotiating, and drafting complicated secured financing transactions for casino and hotel property developments on reserve lands, including regulatory approvals.
- Governance: We lend strategic insight in drafting governance models that work to fulfill our clients' objectives and mandates, including the development of First Nation laws, workable corporate board structures, and multi-Nation organizational structures.
- Impact Benefit Agreements: We help clients navigate complex matters, including negotiating and advising on memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, consultation protocols and term sheets, as well as exploration, collaboration and impact benefit agreements between First Nations and businesses in many different industries.
- Indigenous Peoples Individual and Family Entrepreneurship Advice and Coaching: We provide legal advice, negotiation, advocacy, relationship building and facilitation in ways that are intended to empower individuals to be able to create and operate their own businesses that are consistent with their values and cultures. Through forming valuable relationships with our clients, we believe that we can help multiple generations of families seeking to engage in modern day kinds of family business ownership and operations achieve freedom from dependency.
- Joint Venture and Partnership Agreements: We have extensive experience negotiating and advising on structured economic opportunities between First Nations and industry partners, that maximize the commercial and taxation benefits for all concerned. Our clients can count on us for support and leadership every step of the way.
- Restorative Justice and Sharing Circle Facilitation: When applicable, we can help clients with the learning and healing process of conflict resolution through our experience with Sharing Circle Facilitation. In these cases, we custom design a process to help each of our clients’ unique situations.
- Treaty, Aboriginal, and Inherent Rights Opinions: We have extensive experience advising how government actions impact rights, and representing our clients before administrative and regulatory bodies to assert their rights. We also draft potential claims against Canada or for filing with the Specific Claims Tribunals, and provide second opinions to third parties on the strength of claims, filed by First Nations.
- Trust Structuring: We have extensive experience drafting and advising First Nations and corporate trustees on settlement and community development trusts, including advising on the unique trustee and taxation issues that apply in the Aboriginal context.