Over the past several decades, there has been a remarkable evolution in the recognition of the Aboriginal peoples of Canada as key contributors to the economic and social fabric of Canada. After a long history of neglect and assimilation, it is now recognized that our constitution requires meaningful involvement of Aboriginal peoples in all economic endeavours that affect their rights and title. This leads to a duty to consult and accommodate First Nations that are affected by resource and energy projects in the more remote areas of our country as well as with respect to dispositions of government-owned lands and interests in urban regions.
Aboriginal peoples of Canada and, in particular, those of British Columbia, are at a significant turning point in their history and have unprecedented opportunities to achieve economic and cultural independence as they leverage their rights to participate more fully in the economy. At the same time, government and industry now recognize their obligation to reconcile past conduct and present objectives with affected Aboriginal rights and interests.
As one of Vancouver’s longest standing regional firms, we have particular insight into BC’s history, culture and industry as well as BC’s unique relationship with the First Nations of BC. We help Aboriginal communities and groups work with industry and governmental agencies to achieve economic solutions and strategies which are beneficial to all.
MST Development Corporation and the First Nations it represents (Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil-Waututh Nation)
- Advising in connection with the acquisition of the Jericho Lands from the Province of British Columbia and associated development and land use issues
Musqueam Capital Corp.
- Advising in relation to the management of assets that are owned and developed for the benefit of Musqueam Indian Band, including the 21.4 acre development known as “Block F” in the University Endowment Lands area of Vancouver
The Government of Canada
- Retained to negotiate the Olympic Legacy Agreements with Musqueam Indian Band, Squamish Nation and Tsleil Waututh Nation
Our team consists of senior lawyers with deep-rooted relationships working with several First Nations communities. Our clients benefit from the support of these experienced lawyers with expertise in areas pertinent to First Nations economic development.
- Community-based Aboriginal business ventures (buy/sell, joint ventures, management agreements, partnerships and strategic alliances)
- First Nations land development (leasing, financing and structuring developments)
- Consultation and Accommodation (opinions, negotiations, referral response support, drafting C&A policies and agreements)
- Impact Benefit Agreements
- Resource development (forestry, mining, energy, construction, oil & gas and tourism)
- First Nations governance (self-government agreements, land codes, internal governance laws, treaty implementation legislation and regulation, municipal services agreements, tax revenue sharing and taxation regimes)
- Financing arrangements (opinions and transactions for First Nations, individuals and businesses)
- Litigation and negotiation between aboriginal groups and government bodies
- Aboriginal and Treaty Rights (opinions, negotiations and agreements)
- Environmental law and Regulatory Management
- Tax (opinions for structuring transactions and business entities)
- Aboriginal wealth management (trusts, foundations and advisory services)
Whether starting new businesses or working with existing ones to facilitate growth and development, we help First Nations and private sector groups and governmental agencies to strike the balance between preserving cultural and community values with opportunities for commercial development. We assist with the creation of beneficial legal structures and solutions for First Nations that benefit their communities in the long-term through sustainable economic development. We also help private businesses and government agencies achieve their objectives when working with First Nations in ways that are viable and beneficial for all parties.
We recognize that each First Nation is unique and rich in tradition and heritage; we take the time to understand each community so as to achieve positive impact, blending community interests and values with contemporary business strategies that facilitate economic development while recognizing and enhancing cultural and social values.