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Environment • Aboriginal • Energy

Aboriginal Law

Overview

Aboriginal law, consultation, negotiation and accommodation are critical elements of developing successful natural resource and energy projects and fostering strong relationships between Aboriginal communities and industry proponents.

Willms & Shier helps clients bridge complex, culturally sensitive matters to achieve effective, practical and long-term solutions.

We advise industry, Aboriginal communities, municipalities, conservation authorities and governments on the legal framework and requirements for Aboriginal consultation and accommodation. We draft and negotiate resource agreements to discharge consultation obligations, ensure respectful relationships and successful projects.

We work with Aboriginal communities to help build internal capacity for governance, strategic direction and project development. We assist with various aspects of regulatory, corporate/commercial, governance and policy-setting matters.

Selected Recent Projects

  • Multiple IBAs and Economic Development for First Nation—Willms & Shier acted for and worked closely with the Chief and Council of a First Nation in Northern Ontario on several projects that represent significant development for the First Nation within a very short period of time. Willms & Shier negotiated and drafted an Impact Benefit Agreement for a hydroelectric project with Ontario Power Generation and assisted in developing an equity partnership with Ontario Power Generation concerning another project. Willms & Shier negotiated and drafted an Impact Benefit Agreement with a gold mining company and helped the First Nation develop corporate structures for joint ventures and limited partnerships made possible by the Impact Benefit Agreement. We also provided advice in purchasing land and businesses.
  • Municipality Negotiations and Agreements with First Nation—Willms & Shier acted for a municipality developing an infrastructure project which crossed under a river and area of high archaeological potential. Through effective negotiation of agreements with First Nations, we enabled the project’s successful completion.

Speaking Engagements

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 to November 16, 2017

45th Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum

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Wednesday, November 22, 2017 to November 23, 2017

Canadian Aboriginal Law 2017 Conference

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

6 Minute Environmental Lawyer CLE: Environmental Liabilities & Reform

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Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Infonex: Indigenous Communities Land Use & Resource Development

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Monday, April 3, 2017 to April 06, 2017

Nunavut Mining Symposium: Regulating for Caribou Protection - What Can Work?

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Thursday, April 27, 2017 to April 28, 2017

CBA Environmental, Energy & Resources Law Summit

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Infonex Conference: Recent Developments in Environmental Law with Land Use Planning Implications

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Tuesday, November 15, 2016 to November 17, 2016

The 44th Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum

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Monday, November 14, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada: Indigenous Law Issues 2016

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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Ontario Waterpower Association: Power of Water Canada Conference

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada: The Six-Minute Environmental Lawyer 2016

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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

The Law Society of Upper Canada: The Six-Minute Business Lawyer 2016

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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

2016 Nunavut Mining Symposium: Double Bonding - A Continuing Barrier to Development?

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Thursday, February 4, 2016 to February 06, 2016

CBA NB Conference: Resource Agreements with Aboriginal Communities: Challenges and Opportunities

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Wednesday, January 27, 2016 to January 29, 2016

Environmental Law Forum: Cross Country Check Up

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Tuesday, November 24, 2015 to November 26, 2015

The 43rd Annual Yellowknife Geoscience Forum

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Aboriginal Consultation: Understanding Roles and Responsibilities

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Wednesday, September 30, 2015

2015 Yukon North Slope Conference

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Willms & Shier Speaker Series in Environmental Law

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Monday, September 28, 2015

LSAC Toronto Forum: "What Do Lawyers Do?"

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Tuesday, March 10, 2015 to March 12, 2015

Canadian Water Network: Connecting Water Resources 2015

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Monday, November 3, 2014 to November 04, 2014

Aboriginal Law Forum

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OBA: Cold Truths: Infrastructure Development in the Ring of Fire

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

OBA Seminar: Tsilhqot'in and Keewatin - Implications for Aboriginal and Treaty Rights in Ontario

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014 to May 28, 2014

Insight's North of 60 - Aboriginal Land and Resource Development Conference in Yellowknife, NWT

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Thursday, June 19, 2014 to June 20, 2014

CBA's 2014 National Aboriginal Law Conference in Iqaluit, Nunavut

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

OBA's Aboriginal Property Issues for Real Estate Lawyers

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Julie Abouchar Speaking at the OBA's "Aboriginal Property Issues for Real Estate Lawyers" Event

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Insight: Aboriginal Land Resource Management Forum

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Monday, January 27, 2014

The Commons Institute: Aboriginal Law and Resource Development

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Corporate-Aboriginal Relations: Building Mutually Beneficial Partnerships

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Impact of New Federal Environmental Legislation on Aboriginal Relations

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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Ring of Fire - Hot or Cold?, Ontario Bar Association, Aboriginal Law Section

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Monday, July 29, 2013

Don’t Forget the Role of Governance in IBA, Ontario Waterpower Association (OWA)

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Monday, June 24, 2013

Current Understandings of the Triggers for Aboriginal Engagement, Association for Professional Archaeologists (APA)

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Impact Benefit Agreements: Stories about Resource Extraction and Communities, Global Development Forum

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Ontario’s Mining Act, Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB)

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Wednesday, May 29, 2013 to May 31, 2013

Aboriginal Lands and Natural Resources Forum, Insight

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Indigenous Leadership & Self-Governance, The Canadian Institute

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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Overview of Types of Mining Agreements, NAN First Nations Mining Information and Strategy Sessions

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Friday, March 15, 2013 to March 16, 2013

We Are All Here to Stay: Reconciling Mining and First Nations, Lakehead University, Centre for Northern Studies Symposium

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Duty to Consult in Ontario: Where Are We Now and Where Will We Be?, Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada (PDAC)

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Thursday, February 21, 2013

Update on the Ring of Fire in Northern Ontario – The Importance of Aboriginal Consultation

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Effective Strategies for Reconciling Mining and First Nations, Global Development Forum

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Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Duty to Consult and Beyond: Hot Topics, Practical Tips and Pitfalls to Avoid for Aboriginal Law Practitioners, Ontario Bar Association

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Monday, January 28, 2013 to January 30, 2013

Understanding Environmental Regulations, Educational Program Innovations (EPIC)

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Monday, September 24, 2012 to September 25, 2012

Environmental Considerations and Consulting with Aboriginal Communities: Legal Issues, Mini-MBA for Mining, Federated Press

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Articles

December 08, 2017

Reconciliation Includes Respecting Land Claims Agreements and Co-Management Processes – Supreme Court of Canada Quashes Yukon’s Peel Watershed Land Use Plan

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November 10, 2017

Supreme Court Finds Development of Jumbo Valley Ski Resort Does Not Impair Ktunaxa Nation’s Freedom of Religion

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August 23, 2017

GNWT Seeks Feedback on Development of New “made-in-North” Mineral Resources Act

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July 25, 2017

Saugeen First Nation v Ontario: Court Comments on Crown Role and Consultation Funding

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July 17, 2017

BC Court Declines to Issue Injunction in Aboriginal Treaty Rights Case

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May 11, 2017

Is Your Contract with a First Nation Binding? Maybe Not.

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April 06, 2017

Expert Panel Releases Its Report: A New Vision for Impact Assessment in Canada

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February 22, 2017

Is There a Duty to Consult on Legislation? SCC May Decide

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December 01, 2016

Aboriginal Consultation and Administrative Proceedings: Two Cases Heard by the SCC in November

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September 15, 2016

Reconciliation Update: A Look Beyond Resource Engagement

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September 07, 2016

Climate Change Action Plan: Indigenous Partnerships and Clean Energy

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July 11, 2016

Ontario Government to Support Indigenous and Community Involvement in Renewable Energy Projects

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April 29, 2016

Métis and Non-status Indians: Out of the Jurisdictional Wasteland

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March 28, 2016

2016 Federal Budget Increases Funding for Environmental and Aboriginal Issues in Canada

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December 15, 2015

Ross River Dena Council v. Yukon: The Duty to Consult and Wildlife Management

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December 07, 2015

Peel Watershed Decision: Yukon did not Honour the Letter or Spirit of the Final Agreements, Peel Watershed Planning Returned to Earlier Stage in Process

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October 29, 2015

First Nations Not Barred From Bringing Claims Against Private Parties Based On Harm To Unproven Aboriginal Rights, Title and Treaty Rights

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October 16, 2015

Third Time Lucky as Great Lakes Protection Act is Finally Passed

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July 23, 2015

Yellowknives Dene First Nation v. Debogorski: Is the duty to consult changing?

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July 21, 2015

NEB Releases List of Aboriginal Intervenors for Energy East

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May 12, 2015

BC Court of Appeal: First Nations can bring tort claims for harm to asserted rights

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April 28, 2015

Nunavut Homeowner Ordered to Pay $55,000 for Heating Oil Tank Spill

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April 01, 2015

The Northwest Territories and Alberta Sign a Mackenzie River Basin Bilateral Water Management Agreement

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March 27, 2015

Update: Canada files Notice of Appeal for the Injunction granted by the Northwest Territories Supreme Court to Delay Elimination of Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board

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March 02, 2015

Northwest Territories Supreme Court Grants Tłįchǫ Government Injunction To Delay Elimination of Wek’èezhìi Land and Water Board

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February 19, 2015

Ontario Source Water Protection Plan Approval Update

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January 12, 2015

Energy East Pipeline Project Moves Closer to National Energy Board Hearing

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January 06, 2015

First Nation Challenges to Hydroelectric Development - A Tale of Two Provinces

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December 10, 2014

The First Nation of Nacho Nyak Dun v Yukon—Interpretation, Reconciliation and the Land Use Planning Process in Modern Treaties

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November 28, 2014

New NWT Wildlife Act Comes Into Force November 28, 2014

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November 11, 2014

Canada Tables Extractive Sector Transparency Measures Act – Mandatory Reporting of Payments to Aboriginal Governments

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November 06, 2014

Julie Abouchar Discusses Provincial Aboriginal Consultation Responsibilities and What Proponents Can Do to Move Projects Forward

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October 30, 2014

Ontario Premier Wynne Mandates Aboriginal Priorities

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July 17, 2014

Supreme Court Clarifies Provincial Aboriginal Consultation Responsibilities When Issuing Resource Permits in Keewatin and Applies Tsilqot’in Infringement Test

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July 08, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada Grants Tsilhqot’in Aboriginal Title in William – Implications for Resource Development in Canada

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June 24, 2014

First Nations Launch Drinking Water Lawsuit Against Federal Government

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June 18, 2014

Federal Government Approves Northern Gateway Pipeline With Conditions

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June 03, 2014

Julie Abouchar Quoted in Article – Eastbound and Down: Atlantic Canada is the Next Major Pipeline Battleground

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May 20, 2014

Pipeline Update: New Rules, UN Report and Court Challenge to Energy East

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May 08, 2014

TransCanada Files Eastern Mainline Pipeline Project Description with National Energy Board

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May 08, 2014

Mounting Opposition by Municipalities, Aboriginal Communities and Environmentalists Threatens To Halt Pipeline Development

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May 05, 2014

Limited Partnerships – Dangers for Unwary Limited Partners

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April 28, 2014

Federal Government Releases Details of New Environmental Review Process Under CEAA, 2012

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April 22, 2014

2014 Nunavut Mining Symposium Stresses Investment, Patience and Diligence in Developing Mineral and Exploration Sector

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April 15, 2014

Julie Abouchar Quoted in Article - Aboriginal Interests Gain Ground in Land Use Planning

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April 02, 2014

Proposed Amendments to Federal Metal Mining Effluent Regulations

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February 20, 2014

Disclosure of Oil and Gas & Aboriginal Payments Uncertain, Despite Release of Recommendations on Mandatory Disclosure of Payments from Canadian Mining Companies to Governments

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February 13, 2014

Federal Budget 2014 Largely Quiet on Major Energy, Environment and Aboriginal Initiatives

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February 04, 2014

First Nations and Environmental Groups Apply To Reopen Northern Gateway Project Environmental Joint Review Panel

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July 16, 2013

Julie Abouchar Quoted in Article – Drinking Water Dispute

Julie Abouchar quoted in article by Kerry Freek – Drinking Water Dispute, Water Canada, May/June 2013.

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April 01, 2012

Courts Shed Light on Consultation

Ever since the Supreme Court’s landmark Haida decision in 2004, companies, governments and aboriginal communities have been making sense of the “duty to consult” when a contemplated action may adversely affect an aboriginal right or title.

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March 01, 2012

Looking into the Future of Water: Technology, Energy, Rates and First Nations Rights

After learning that this issue’s theme is Cities of the Future, we decided to take the rare opportunity to rise above the current and pending legislation, regulations and policies and look more broadly into the future of the water industry in Canada.

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January 23, 2010

Ontario Supports Aboriginal Access to Green Energy Boom

A renewable energy boom is coming to Ontario if the government estimates come to fruition. Ontario estimates that the Green Energy Act will create 50,000 jobs in the sector over three years and $10 billion in revenue.

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News

November 02, 2017

Moving - Friday, November 3, 2017

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August 01, 2017

Julie Abouchar Quoted in Article - Government Failed in its Duty to Consult

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December 07, 2016

Willms & Shier Lawyers Are Once Again Listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2017

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October 08, 2015

Taykwa Tagamou Nation and OPG Start Construction of New 28 MW Hydro Facility

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August 26, 2015

Willms & Shier Lawyers Are Once Again Listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2016

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February 17, 2015

Julie Abouchar Called to the Bar of Northwest Territories

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November 27, 2014

Charles Birchall Called to the Northwest Territories Bar

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September 08, 2014

Welcome Nicole Petersen and Robert Woon!

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August 25, 2014

Willms & Shier Lawyers Once Again Listed in The Best Lawyers in Canada© 2015

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July 07, 2014

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2014

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June 19, 2014

Willms & Shier Partners Called to the Nunavut Bar

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June 03, 2014

Eastbound and Down: Atlantic Canada is the Next Major Pipeline Battleground

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May 02, 2014

John Donihee Speaking at the North of 60 - Aboriginal Land and Resource Development Conference in Yellowknife, NWT

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April 25, 2014

Katherine Koostachin on Research Advisory Board for Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business' New "Promise and Prosperity: Ontario Aboriginal Business Survey Report 2014"

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April 21, 2014

Katherine Koostachin Quoted in Article - An economic transformation: Business law, with an aboriginal twist, has gone mainstream

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February 20, 2014

Disclosure of Oil and Gas & Aboriginal Payments Uncertain, Despite Release of Recommendations on Mandatory Disclosure of Payments from Canadian Mining Companies to Governments

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February 13, 2014

Federal Budget 2014 Largely Quiet on Major Energy, Environment and Aboriginal Initiatives

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January 07, 2014

Conference: The Commons Institute: Aboriginal Law and Resource Development

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November 11, 2013

Far-Reaching Fisheries Act Amendments Come into Force November 25, 2013

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November 01, 2013

Breakfast Seminar: Impact of New Federal Environmental Legislation on Aboriginal Relations, November 7, 2013

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October 28, 2013

Webinar: Corporate-Aboriginal Relations, December 6, 2013

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