At Sage Legal, we believe that effective negotiation requires a mastery of contrasts: competition and cooperation; knowledge and creativity; art and science. This versatility positions us to achieve optimal results for our clients.
- Government-to-government agreements, including revenue/benefits sharing agreements, agreements requiring consensus-based processes, and various consultation-related agreements
- Impact benefit agreements and similar agreements between Indigenous clients and project proponents in various resource sectors, including pipeline, mining, forestry, wind, aggregate, construction, and oil and gas
We provide corporate/commercial law services to facilitate the growth and sustainability of modern and traditional Indigenous economies. This requires an understanding of the unique cultures and goals of clients, expertise using a wide variety of business and legal tools, and the good judgement to know which ones are best suited to each situation.
- Corporate structuring, including limited partnerships, corporations, trusts, joint ventures, MOUs, and other business arrangements
- Tax issues, including Indian Act and Income Tax Act exemptions for First Nations
- Contract drafting and review related to procurement opportunities
- Commercial transactions, including commercial real estate, share purchase agreements, and other investment opportunities
consulTation & regulatory processes
With extensive experience in the area, we support Indigenous leaders in a number of ways. In some cases, we simply highlight unclear or obscure legal and policy issues within a given process. In others, we develop and help carry out multifaceted strategies aligning consultation with other activities such as negotiation, litigation, media, and mobilization.
We have worked within a wide range of resource sectors, including:
- oil and gas
- hydro-electric projects
- independent power projects (run-of-river, wind)
We have acted in various regulatory processes, including:
- National Energy Board hearings
- BC and Canadian Environmental Assessments
- BC Utilities Commission hearings
- Alberta Energy Regulator hearings
employment & governance
We provide legal support for employment, membership, financial management, on-reserve issues, and a wide range of other governance affairs encountered by our Indigenous clients. Our approach is efficient, respectful, and practical. We don't draft 100-page policies when 10 pages will do. We find solutions that work in situations that tend to be complex and highly personal.
Employment law (wrongful dismissal, harassment, human rights, HR policies), including civil actions, and complaints under the Employment Standards Act and Canada Labour Code
Membership (membership rights/codes, approval & ratification procedures)
Financial Management (INAC social assistance programs, audit & reporting, debtor/creditor matters)
On-reserve issues (criminal activity & enforcement, jurisdictional issues, land management, residency issues)
Other governance affairs (Indian Act bylaws, taxation, on-reserve economic development)
We have been on the front lines in recent precedent setting cases, including West Moberly v. British Columbia (Chief Inspector of Mines) 2011 BCCA 247, which rejected the Crown's attempt to ignore cumulative effects during consultation (and was cited recently by the Supreme Court of Canada).
Our approach to litigation is to work closely with a network of accomplished litigators and trusted professionals to assemble case-specific litigation teams. These teams benefit from the courtroom expertise of seasoned litigation counsel, and Sage Legal's experience working in the field of aboriginal law and with each Indigenous client's unique community.
We have represented Indigenous clients in judicial reviews and civil actions covering a wide range of issues:
- Duty to consult and accommodate
- Aboriginal and Treaty rights
- Administrative law (procedural fairness, statutory interpretation, etc)
- Wrongful dismissal and related employment law claims
- Breach of contract