Erin Thomson-Leach

Associate

  • ethomson-leach@jfklaw.ca
  • P 250-405-1864
  • C 778-679-1739
  • 816-1175 Douglas Street, Victoria, BC V8W 2E1

Erin practices Aboriginal and administrative law in JFK’s Victoria office with a focus on treaty negotiations and Crown consultation.

Erin assists clients involved in treaty negotiations in the BC Treaty Process. She also advises First Nations involved in Crown consultation and negotiations with industry, and provides advice regarding band governance issues, the application of the Indian Act and many other matters. Erin has developed broad experience working on a variety of issues including resource development, fisheries, forestry, land use planning on and off-reserve, environmental assessments and regulatory hearings. As a former officer in British Columbia’s Ombudsperson’s Office, Erin also has significant experience with administrative fairness issues and administrative law principles.

Erin believes in collaborating with Indigenous governments to strategically advance their communities’ rights and title in a variety of contexts. She is passionate about assisting clients to incorporate Indigenous knowledge into Crown decision-making processes and has experience working with community members to gather and present traditional land use information.

Erin is drawn to the practice of Aboriginal law because she believes non-Indigenous settlers must actively engage in reconciliation. Part of this is ensuring that governments recognize and respect Aboriginal rights and title and honour treaties. Erin believes meaningful reconciliation also involves community capacity building, supporting clients in negotiations and consultation and in establishing strong governance structures. A journalist in her past life, Erin also collaborates with clients on strategies for building public profiles and interacting with the media.

Originally a prairie girl, Erin now tries to make the most out of the amazing outdoor opportunities on Vancouver Island and likes to drag her two kids out with her on adventures.

Practice Focus

  • Treaty negotiations
  • Duty to consult and accommodate
  • Indian Act application and interpretation
  • First Nations governance
  • Administrative law
  • Capacity building and community engagement
  • Litigation support

Education

  • Member of the Law Society of BC
  • University of Ottawa, LL.B.
  • University of Alberta, B.A.

Highlights

  • Co-Counsel for BC First Nations in the BC Treaty Process.

  • Advises First Nations in Crown consultation on range of matters including land use planning, aquaculture and fishing, forestry, oil and gas development and Crown land dispositions.

  • Advises First Nations on governance matters regarding on-reserve land management; drafting First Nation laws; and the application and interpretation of the Indian Act.

  • Advises First Nations on integrating Indigenous knowledge and Indigenous laws into their governance and into processes with other levels of government.

  • Developed and facilitated community workshops on Indian Act status provisions.