Gowlings is proud to honour and celebrate National Aboriginal Day on June 21 and to continue its strong support of Aboriginal communities across Canada. With one of the largest and most respected groups of its kind, the firm has been helping First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples advance their Aboriginal law and Treaty rights, vision, and goals for over half a century.
Last year, Gowlings became the first law firm to join the Progressive Aboriginal Relations (PAR) program, an initiative of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business and the world’s only corporate responsibility assurance program for Aboriginal relations.
Other examples of our ongoing activities and involvement in the Aboriginal community include:
- Gowlings is a corporate member of the National Aboriginal Trust Officers Association (NATOA), a charity dedicated to building knowledge about trusts and investments within Aboriginal communities to enhance the professionalism and accountability in the management of this important resource.
- Not only is Gowlings the only law firm to be a member of the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business, but the firm’s Aboriginal Group leader, Maxime Faille, also sits on the board of directors.
- Along with the First Nations Bank of Canada, Gowlings co-hosted a gala dinner supporting the Program of Legal Studies for Native People (PLSNP). The eight-week PLSNP course, offered by the University of Saskatchewan’s Native Law Centre, gives Aboriginal students the opportunity to study first-year property law before entering law school. Three-quarters of all Aboriginal lawyers in Canada have entered the practice through this program.
- Gowlings is also heavily involved with Indspire, a national organization dedicated to supporting, innovating and transforming education for Indigenous students across Canada. In addition, Peter Lukasiewicz, our firm managing partner (external), sits on the organization’s board, and sat on that of its predecessor organization for 25 years.
- Gowlings has also donated $50,000 towards Indspire scholarship programs as part of the Gowlings Legal Studies Award for Indigenous Women. This award provides support to Indigenous women who are enrolled — or who will be enrolled — in accredited, post-secondary legal studies or law school diploma or degree programs in Canada.
- Since its inception, Gowlings has sponsored the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference, which promotes sustainable economic development in Aboriginal communities.
- Jaimie Lickers, an associate in the Aboriginal Law Group, sits as a legal trustee on the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation Community Trust.
The Gowlings Aboriginal Law Group has a long-standing tradition of excellence, advising in areas such as land claims, self-government agreements, Aboriginal and Treaty rights, trusts and economic development, consultation and accommodation, impact benefit agreements, corporate structuring, tax, and governance.
The group is recognized as one of Canada’s most frequently recommended authorities on Aboriginal legal matters, and its lawyers have played key roles in many landmark land claim agreements and major court decisions.