Robert (Bob) Freedman

Robert (Bob) Freedman is a partner in Gowling WLG's Vancouver office.

With nearly 30 years of experience working in Indigenous law and Environmental law, Bob focuses his practice on treaty negotiations, negotiations outside of formal treaty processes, regulatory and duty to consult-related work, environmental assessments, and the negotiation of complex agreements involving Indigenous people, industry and government.

Bob regularly advises clients on a wide range of issues related to negotiation of rights and culture-based cumulative impact studies, shared decision making, agreement implementation, stewardship, monitoring, and revenue generation and revenue sharing. He has represented clients in some of the most prominent Indigenous rights cases in Canada, and at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Since 2008, Bob has been consistently ranked among the top Canadian lawyers in the area of Aboriginal law by Lexpert. He is also recognized as a leading lawyer in Chambers Canada and The Best Lawyers in Canada™. In the 2022 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada™, Bob was named "Lawyer of the Year" for Indigenous Law (Toronto).

  • "The Return of the Political Trust: Recent Developments in the Law of Fiduciary duty in the Crown/First Nations Context", co-written with M. Kirchner for presentation at NITA Conference on Aboriginal Law, 2001.
  • Co-author, "Review of Legal Considerations for First Nations Participation in Water Use Planning," prepared for First Nations Water Use Planning Committee.
  • Synopsis of case law on First Nations issues – rights, title, consultation, etc., for BC Aboriginal Fisheries Commission (1998-1999).
  • Case Comment, Charles v. The Queen, 36(1) Alberta L.R. 218 (surrenders and fiduciary duty).
  • "Models of Self-Government and the B.C. Treaty Process", IX Sovereignty Symposium 352, 1996.
  • "Rights Limitation in R. v. Sparrow," Chapter published in C. Price-Cohen, International Law of Indigenous Peoples, Transnational Publishers, 1999.
  • "The Space for Aboriginal Rights of Self-Government after Delgamuukw," 1994, 28(1) UBC Law rev. 49.

Mandats représentatifs

  • Successful completion of Impact-Benefit Agreements across western Canada on oil sands, mining and pipeline projects.
  • Counsel for non-settled Yukon First Nation on first reconciliation negotiations outside of Yukon Final Agreement Process.
  • Counsel for two First Nations negotiating cumulative impact assessment processes with federal, territorial and provincial governments.
  • Successful development and integration of processes to ensure inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in project planning, regulatory processes, and in agreements with a particular focus on ensuring the proper assessment of impacts to Indigenous rights, culture and way of life.
  • Member of negotiation team for a First Nation in the Final Agreement stage of the BC Treaty Process, including being part of the first table to have a mandate to negotiate shared decision making agreements as part of that treaty.