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First Nations Consultation, Negotiation & Accommodation

We can assist at all levels of negotiating and litigating on consultation matters.

A key area of Ratcliff LLP’s practice is negotiating and litigating in the area of the Crown’s obligation to consult with and accommodate First Nations’ constitutionally protected Aboriginal rights, title and treaty interests. Consultation with First Nations, and accommodation of First Nations’ interests, is required when the Crown is contemplating conduct which affects Aboriginal rights, title and treaty interests. We can assist at all levels of negotiating and litigating on consultation matters – from assessing the potential benefits in a proposed project to managing the consultation process for First Nations, negotiating accommodation arrangements and benefits packages, and where the Crown fails to discharge its legal duty, pursuing court action to enforce our clients’ consultation rights.

We have represented First Nations in several landmark consultation cases at all levels of court, including at the Supreme Court of Canada. These cases include, among others:
  • Coldwater Indian Band v. Canada (Attorney General) and Trans Mountain ULC; Squamish Nation v. Canada (AG) and Trans Mountain ULC, 2018-2020 – Multiple decisions regarding First Nation challenges so the approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion project
  • Haida Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Forests), Intervenors for the Squamish Nation and Lax Kw’alaams Indian Band in the Supreme Court of Canada
Our lawyers have collectively handled hundreds of negotiations leading to various types of benefits agreements with provincial and federal Crowns and/or third-party project proponents which have led to significant economic and cultural protection benefits for our First Nation clients. Notable achievements in this regard include:
  • Representing the Squamish Nation and Lil’wat Nation in accommodation negotiations and agreements relative to the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games
  • Representing numerous First Nations in forestry, fisheries, mining and energy matters on their territories
  • Comprehensive benefits agreements for numerous First Nations affected by the Pacific Trails LNG pipeline
  • Landmark accommodation agreements concerning the rapid development of the Port of Prince Rupert
  • Negotiating significant accommodation agreements for First Nations affected by mining development in British Columbia, Yukon and Ontario

Ready when you are

Our lawyers offer a broad range of experience and expertise, with a client-first philosophy to help you achieve your goals.

Ready when you are

Our lawyers offer a broad range of experience and expertise, with a client-first philosophy to help you achieve your goals.