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  • DGW provides a full suite of negotiation services for all the potential situations that arise for our First Nation, Métis, and Inuit clients. These matters may include Impact Benefit Agreements, Consultation Protocols, Resource Review Sharing Agreements, Economic Participation and Collaboration Agreements, and Claim Settlement Agreements.

    Our firm provides all-encompassing legal services in the treaty negotiation and Specific Claims area. These services include assistance with funding proposals, hiring researchers, providing legal reviews and options, and conducting negotiations with government to ratification. We assist First Nations experiencing problems with overlapping claims to their traditional territories from other First Nations. We also provide legal services for the adjudication of rejected or stalled claims, in the courts and before the Specific Claims Tribunal.

    Treaty-making continues to play an important role in Aboriginal law and social justice for First Nations. There are two main treaty-making processes in western Canada: the British Columbia Treaty Commission (“BCTC”), and the federal bilateral process (Comprehensive and Specific Claims). The BCTC is a tripartite approach to modern treaties in British Columbia, where little of the land is subject to older Crown treaties like the rest of Canada. Under the BCTC, a First Nation negotiates with both the federal and provincial governments a treaty for land and rights, based on unextinguished aboriginal title. The BCTC process is a six-stage process which can result in a modern, comprehensive treaty.

    Under the federal Comprehensive Claims process, the federal government determines whether there is a valid claim against the Crown for aboriginal title or self government; if so, then Canada negotiates to settle the claim. In British Columbia, comprehensive claims are conducted under the auspices of the BCTC process.

    Under the federal Specific Claims process, the federal government determines whether a First Nation has a valid claim against the Crown under the federal Specific Claims Policy; if so, then Canada negotiates with the First Nation to settle the claim. The Specific Claims Tribunal Act, S.C. 2008, c.22 provides First Nations, for the first time, with statutory leverage to ensure their Specific Claims no longer languish for decades in Ottawa. After a First Nation files a specific claim, Canada has only three years to decide whether to accept or reject the claim. If no decision is reached within that time, the First Nation can take the claim to the Specific Claim Tribunal for a binding decision on Canada. The Tribunal will be staffed with new federally appointed judges. As well, if negotiations of an accepted claim take longer than three years, the First Nation can refer the claim to the Tribunal for a binding decision.

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    Representative Experience:

    • Participating in negotiations of Impact Benefit Agreements and Environmental Protocol Agreements involving Indigenous clients and resource companies (spanning the forestry, oil & gas, wind, hydro-electric and mining sectors), including revenue sharing structures
    • Negotiation of consultation and accommodation protocols and agreements with Crown and industry
    • Drafting Collaborative Agreements
    • Negotiation and drafting of Leases and Permits under the Indian Act
    • Management of evidence and submissions in the context of an Audit process for a service provider
    • Negotiation of a consultation protocol agreement between Indigenous clients and public agencies
    • Negotiated Specific Claims on behalf of First Nations with Canada
    • Negotiated settlements in small and large scale civilian matters, as well as in criminal matters
    • Mediation services
    • Preparing and reviewing draft agreements with governments and industry regarding resource development and wildlife management issues
    • Negotiation of Government to Government Agreements including Strategic Engagement Agreements, Forest Consultation and Revenue Sharing Agreements, Economic and Community Development Agreements and Wildlife Agreements
    • Negotiation of Specific Claims Settlement Agreements