"They are excellent - you can count on them to provide you with the Canadian advice you need."

Client comment, Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business 2017

Over the last few decades, the development of Canadian natural resources has been fundamentally transformed by what the Supreme Court of Canada describes as a requirement of “reconciliation” between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Peoples. This has given rise to the legal duty of “consultation and accommodation” of First Nations in the context of government consideration of many resource development projects. This evolution of the legal landscape has major practical implications for private sector enterprises pursuing the development of land, projects and/or natural resources throughout Canada.

Aboriginal and treaty claims must often be considered and addressed in the context of developing or financing a wide range of projects, including real estate, mining, oil and gas, renewable energy, forestry and other natural resource or infrastructure such as port development, highways, pipelines or electrical transmission facilities.

For more than 30 years, our lawyers have been providing innovative, thoughtful advice and representation in this highly specialized legal area.  With one of the most extensive aboriginal legal practices of any large law firm in Canada, Blakes is a leading advisor on aboriginal-related legal issues and relationship development to deliver certainty to business risks.

Blakes Aboriginal Law group has detailed knowledge and cross-sector experience in the increasingly complex relationships among businesses, Aboriginal Peoples and governments throughout Canada. Our lawyers deal with a wide range of matters including:

  • Strategic analysis and risk evaluation and mitigation
  • Due diligence regarding aboriginal issues, including understanding the unique aspects of band governance and reserve land matters
  • Advising on and negotiating:
    • memoranda of understanding, consultation protocols, opportunities agreements, impact and benefit agreements, and many other forms of agreement between Aboriginal Peoples and businesses in many different industries
    • joint ventures, commercial agreements, and various other business transactions between corporations and aboriginal communities
  • Addressing specific financing and taxation issues that arise in the aboriginal context
  • Environmental assessments, permitting and regulatory approvals raising aboriginal environmental, cultural and socio-economic issues
  • Dispute resolution and litigation, including regulatory proceedings, judicial reviews, trials and appeals through all levels of court in Canada.

Representative Matters

  • Advising an international collateral agent on the complicated secured financing of a casino, hotel and recreation centre project on reserve lands, including addressing regulatory approvals, contracts, security and related issues.
  • Advising a financial institution on all legal issues regarding a large real estate development on lands held by a self-governing First Nation.
  • Advising Seabridge Gold Inc. on its regulatory strategy for engaging with five different aboriginal groups, including the Nisga’a Nation under its modern treaty, in connection with Seabridge’s proposed approximately C$5-billion Kerr-Sulphurets-Mitchell project, one of the largest proposed gold-copper mines in northern British Columbia.
  • Representing the Six Nations of the Grand River in Ontario in an ongoing large and complex legal action against the federal and Ontario governments pursuing an accounting and equitable compensation for Six Nations property set aside under the Haldimand Treaty in 1784.
  • Successfully represented Hunt Oil in its claim against the Province of British Columbia for damages related to failing to develop an oil and gas tenure due to undisclosed aboriginal rights claiming the area as historically and spiritually significant.
  • Providing aboriginal engagement, negotiations and litigation advice in connection with the development of pipelines and oil and gas projects, including liquefied natural gas projects in coastal British Columbia and hydro-electrical facilities in northern Ontario.



Members of the Blakes Aboriginal Law team are recognized as leaders in the following publications:

  • Chambers Canada: Canada's Leading Lawyers for Business
  • Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business
  • The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory
  • Benchmark Canada: The Definitive Guide to Canada's Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada


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Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9768
Areas of Expertise: Energy Regulatory, Environmental Assessment & Approvals, Aboriginal Law, Oil & Gas, Pipeline & Midstream, Mining, Power, Environmental & Aboriginal, Mining Streaming & Royalties, Oil Sands, Transportation, LNG, Downstream & Marketing
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-4177
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Corporate Litigation, Securities Litigation, Construction Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, International Dispute Resolution, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Aboriginal Law, Environmental & Aboriginal
Partner | Montréal
Montréal: 514-982-4033
Areas of Expertise: Environmental & Aboriginal, Aboriginal Law, Environmental Assessment & Approvals, Climate Change, Brownfields Redevelopment, Oil & Gas, Renewables (Wind, Solar, Hydro & CleanTech), Mining, Mining Streaming & Royalties, Lobbying, Transportation, Major Projects, Pipeline & Midstream
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-2938
Areas of Expertise: Class Actions, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Corporate Litigation, Tax Controversy & Litigation, Aboriginal Law, Brownfields Redevelopment, Chemical & Waste Regulation, Environmental Assessment & Approvals, Environmental Litigation & Enforcement, Communications, Food, Beverage & Agribusiness, Manufacturing, Mining, Mining Streaming & Royalties, Environmental Litigation & Enforcement, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Corporate Litigation, Cannabis
Partner | Montréal, Toronto
Montréal: 514-982-4002
Toronto: 416-863-4003
Areas of Expertise: Chemical & Waste Regulation, Aboriginal Law, Environmental Assessment & Approvals, Mining Law, Plan Nord, Brownfields Redevelopment, Climate Change, Environmental Litigation & Enforcement, Forestry, Mining, Mining Streaming & Royalties
Partner | Toronto
Toronto: 416-863-3047
Areas of Expertise: Product Liability, Aboriginal Law, Class Actions, Drugs & Medical Devices, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Procurement, Cannabis
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3347
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Aboriginal Law
Office Managing Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3336
Areas of Expertise: Tax, Tax Controversy & Litigation, Transfer Pricing, Sales & Commodity Taxes, Pensions & Benefits, Executive Compensation, Aboriginal Law, Forestry, Infrastructure, Middle East
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3383
Areas of Expertise: International Dispute Resolution, Aboriginal Law, Corporate Litigation, Securities Litigation
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-4220
Areas of Expertise: Aboriginal Law, Anti-Money Laundering, Constitutional & Charter of Rights, Construction, Corporate Litigation, Energy, Environmental & Aboriginal, International Trade, Media & Defamation, Mining, Mining Lending, Mining Streaming & Royalties, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution, LNG
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9633
Areas of Expertise: Energy Regulatory, Aboriginal Law, Climate Change, Environmental Assessment & Approvals, Pipeline & Midstream, Power, Mining Law, Mining Lending, Mining Streaming & Royalties, Transportation, LNG
Associate | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9794
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Aboriginal Law
Partner | Calgary
Calgary: 403-260-9799
Areas of Expertise: Energy, Energy Regulatory, Environmental & Aboriginal, Aboriginal Law, Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Power
Partner | Vancouver
Vancouver: 604-631-3358
Areas of Expertise: Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Class Actions, Corporate Litigation, Product Liability, Business Crimes, Investigations & Compliance, Energy, Environmental Litigation & Enforcement, Competition Litigation, Aboriginal Law, Mining Litigation & Dispute Resolution
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