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Gregory J. McDade* Q.C


Gregory J. McDade* Q.C

Senior Counsel
*Law Corporation

Assistant: Kim Kayley

Greg is a Senior Associate Counsel at Ratcliff LLP working in major litigation and negotiations. A large part of his practice is negotiation of impact benefits agreements, and Aboriginal consultation and accommodation litigation in respect of major resource projects, in BC, the North and Ontario.

Greg has extensive experience before all levels of Court, including Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Courts, and BC Supreme Court and Court of Appeal. He also serves as general counsel and provides business advice to a number of larger First Nations on business, mining, oil and gas and resource land use issues.

Greg grew up in Alberta, took his law degree at UBC, and was called to the Bar and has practiced in British Columbia since 1979. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel (B.C.) in 1996. He has a background in criminal law, and environmental law (founding Exec-Director of Sierra Legal Defence Fund, now Ecojustice), but has served First Nations since 1997.

Leading First Nations Litigation

  • Kamloops v. BC and Canada, Pre-Colonial Reserve litigation (in settlement discussions)
  • Tzeacten v. CLC et al; Pre-Colonial Reserve litigation, ongoing (Chilliwack)
  • Saik’uz and Stellat’en First Nations v. Alcan (BCSC) ongoing, riparian rights and aboriginal title litigation
  • Rio Tinto Alcan v. Carrier-Sekani Tribal Council (2011), Supreme court of Canada, consultation in respect of damming of the Nechako River
  • Deh Cho v AG Canada (2011), supporting establishment of the Edezhie Protected Area, 25,000 in NWT
  • Kwikwetlem v. BCUC (2010, BCCA), Interior to Lower Mainland Hydro transmission line
  • Huu-ay-aht v. Min. of Forests (2005, BCSC) Province’s FRA policy declared invalid;
  • Squamish Nation v. MSRM, (2004, 2005, BCSC) inadequate consultation on Garibaldi ski hill;
  • Tsawwassen First Nation v. Port of Vancouver, (2004) civil action re Port, Ferry activities, (settled with Accommodation Agreement);
  • Deh Cho Dene v. Canada, (2004-5, Fed Court) Mackenzie Valley Pipeline, (settled with Accommodation Agreement);
  • Haida v. Minister of Forests, (2004), Supreme Court of Canada and BC Court of Appeal (2007), counsel for Intervenors (Squamish and Lax Kw’alaams), and (1996) counsel for Haida at trial on first Petition re TFL;
  • Esquimalt and Songhees Nations v. Canada and BC, (2006) Victoria Legislative Buildings site; {settled}
  • Gitxsan v. Min of Forests (2002, BCSC) consultation re TFL transfer;
  • Mathias v. Canada, (1997-9, Fed Court), Senior Co-Counsel (with John Rich); Squamish Nation action re former Kitsilano reserve; longest Federal Court trial in Canada

Environmental Litigation

  • Morton v. British Columbia, (2010), provincial regulation of aquaculture found unconstitutional
  • Counsel, Cohen Commission into the decline of Fraser River Sockeye Salmon, (2010-2011) (for Dr. Alexandra Morton)
  • MiningWatch Canada v Min. of Fisheries, (2010), Supreme Court of Canada decision re federal environmental assessment for mining
  • Greenpeace Canada v. MacMillan Bloedel (1996); Supreme Court of Canada decision re Clayoquot protests in 1994;
  • Friends of Oldman River Society (1991) Supreme Court of Canada decision establishing enforceability of Canadian environmental assessment;
  • NEB v Hydro-Quebec (1994); Supreme Court of Canada decision confirming constitutionality of environmental assessment;

Notable Legal Activities: 

Business, Major Project and Accommodation Agreements, including:

  • Whistler/Blackcomb Master Development Agreements, in progress
  • Prince Rupert Port Expansion, Road-Rail Terminal, Canpotex Terminal (potash), Ridley Coal Port (for Coast Tsimshian), complete, implementation in progress
  • British Columbia pipeline issues (oil, LNG. Enbridge, Kinder-Morgan)
  • Yukon (mineral and Final Agreement implementation)
  • Pacific Trails Natural Gas Pipeline limited partnership (for 15 First Nations, Carrier – Sekani)
  • Mining Agreement Negotiations (interior B.C., Yukon, Ontario)
  • Tree Farm Licence and Forest Licence purchases and General Counsel (Lax Kw’alaams and Squamish Nations), formation of Whistler Community Forest Licence)
  • Sea – to – Sky Highway Accommodation Agreement (Squamish)
  • Proposed Ski Hill developments (Garibaldi, Coquihalla)
  • Forest and Range Agreements
  • Independent Power Project negotiations (Lower mainland, interior, and North Coast)
  • BC Hydro Transmission lines negotiations (Lower mainland, interior, and North Coast)
  • Land Use Planning, Squamish Nation Xay Temixw Land Use Planning process (2001), Lax Kw’alaams (Prince Rupert),
  • Real Estate Development, corporate and negotiations advice

Community Involvement:

  • Honorary Board member, Ecojustice Canada Society (formerly Sierra Legal Defence Fund Society)
  • Honorary Board member, West Coast Environmental Law Association
  • Board of Directors, VanCity Credit Union (Canada’s largest credit union) (former Chair)
  • Former Board member, Smart Growth (B.C.), Citizen’s Bank of Canada, Labor Environmental Alliance Society and others

Public Policy Appointments:

  • Burns Bog Ecosystems Review (1999-2000) BC Government
  • Gulf Islands National Park Public Consultation (2000) Federal Government
  • Inquiry into the Draining of Downton Lake (1996) BC Min of Environment

B.C. First Nations’ lawyers say Ottawa failed to consult on Trans Mountain expansion