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The objective of modern Aboriginal law, the Supreme Court of Canada has held, is reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people. In recent years this has fundamentally transformed the legal landscape in Canada, with major implications for Aboriginal communities, industry, and the federal, provincial and territorial governments. In this environment of increasingly complex relationships, it’s essential to rely upon effective legal counsel with significant experience and a proven track record in this highly specialized area.

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Gowlings is proud to have a long-standing tradition of excellence in all aspects of Aboriginal law, including land claims and self-government agreements, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, establishing trusts and economic development, consultation and accommodation, Impact Benefit Agreements, corporate structuring, tax and governance.

Our team is recognized as one of the most frequently and consistently recommended authorities for Aboriginal legal matters in Canada. Gowlings’ lawyers have played key roles in landmark land claim agreements, as well as many of the key court cases, including the leading Supreme Court of Canada decisions. We facilitated a major resolution agreement between the James Bay Crees and Hydro Québec, negotiating Aboriginal overlap agreements in Labrador, and provided legal and public policy advice during Nunavut’s transition to a territorial government. We continue to work on behalf of numerous Aboriginal communities across Canada, as well as industry and federal, provincial and territorial governments.

In traditional areas such as land claims and Aboriginal and Treaty rights, there is an increasing focus on self-government, governance and economic development and complex business ventures. These arrangements all require significant experience and skill and must be structured to maximize benefits for all involved. Such structures must also be appropriate to the culture, history, customs and circumstances of a particular Aboriginal community and incorporate underlying Aboriginal rights and interests.

Our highly skilled team also provides effective alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services such as mediation and arbitration. With one of the most distinguished and experienced ADR practices in the country, we focus on building long-term, collaborative partnerships through the provision of early dispute prevention, process planning, consultation design, and impartial third-party research to facilitate discussions and advance consensus.


As part of a national full-service law firm, the Gowlings Aboriginal Law Group provides a range of services in both English and French across a variety of legal areas, including Aboriginal and Treaty rights, comprehensive and specific claims, self-government, governance, environment, natural resources, consultation and accommodation, Impact Benefit Agreements, government relations and regulatory affairs, financial services, taxation and business law.


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