Claire Truesdale


  • P 250-405-3467
  • C 250-217-6979
  • 816 - 1175 Douglas Street Victoria, BC V8W 2E1

Claire practices aboriginal, environmental and constitutional law in JFK’s Victoria office, with a particular focus on civil litigation and treaty negotiation. She is passionate about pushing the law for greater recognition of aboriginal rights while offering aboriginal governments and individuals practical advice on the immediate legal challenges they face. Claire is the Chair of the Aboriginal Law – Vancouver Island Section of the Canadian Bar Association.

Claire serves aboriginal governments primarily in the areas of governance, modern treaty negotiations and aboriginal rights and title litigation. She advises First Nations on their rights and responsibilities on and off reserve such as the duty to consult, bylaw and constitution development, and property rights including certificates of possession, leases and other interests. Claire also helps individual aboriginal clients with Indian status registration.

Claire has experience in a variety of settings having worked for a provincial government, a court, non-governmental organizations and aboriginal communities. Prior to joining JFK, Claire clerked at the Ontario Court of Appeal where she worked on a wide range of criminal and civil law issues. As a law student, Claire worked at the Ontario Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs where she conducted research for policy development, litigation and Treaty Land Entitlement negotiations. She was initially drawn to working for aboriginal peoples through her studies in resource management and the conflict between aboriginal and non-aboriginal fishers on the Fraser River.

Outside of her work Claire enjoys the beautiful outdoors of BC especially in, on or around water.

 Practice Focus:

  • Appellate litigation
  • Modern treaty negotiation and litigation
  • Indian status and band membership
  • Species at risk and conservation
  • Aboriginal and treaty fishing rights


  • Called to British Columbia Bar, 2013
  • Called to Ontario Bar, 2013
  • University of Victoria, J.D., 2012
  • Simon Fraser University, B.A., 2008



  • Co-counsel for the Chief of a Vancouver Island First Nation defending against an injunction application seeking to prevent him from exercising his aboriginal right to protect a burial islet.

  • Co-counsel for Aseniwuche Winewak Nation at the Supreme Court of Canada in Daniels v. Canada.

  • Advocates for aboriginal individuals seeking to establish their entitlement to Indian status. 

  • Assists the Te’mexw Treaty Association and its member First Nations in their ongoing modern treaty negotiations under the BC Treaty Process.

  • Has drafted written argument for aboriginal communities and organizations in significant aboriginal and treaty rights litigation at all levels of court including several interventions at the Supreme Court of Canada.