Economic Development and Governance

JFK Law works alongside Indigenous communities to advance self-government and build a solid foundation for community prosperity. Our lawyers help clients structure policies and corporate entities that are suited to their specific needs and goals and foster sustainable economic development.

Indigenous Business and Economic Development

Indigenous governments are seeking economic development opportunities and want to ensure they are supported by predictable systems of decision-making that can both honour traditional laws and foster prosperity. JFK Law can work with your community to achieve the thoughtful balance required for successful economic development that protects cultural and environmental integrity.

We understand that the concept of ‘separating business from politics’ must be applied carefully to ensure Indigenous governments retain appropriate decision-making authority over the development of resources that belong to the collective, while making sound business decisions that create long-term, sustainable economic development. We assist clients to develop policies and establish corporate and partnership entities that provide a foundation for economic growth. We provide advice to our clients entering complex commercial transactions with governments and third parties in a wide variety of industries such as commercial leasing, tourism, fishing, renewables, and natural resources.

We recognize that successful agreements don’t end with negotiations, but require diligent implementation and ongoing capacity building. JFK Law has experience in guiding and supporting this work. Whether economic development is on or off-reserve, JFK Law is dedicated to providing full service to Indigenous governments that generate economic opportunities and wealth for their communities.


JFK Law provides many services to assist clients developing, refining and implementing governance structures, laws, bylaws and policies that address their current needs and honor traditional legal traditions and values. These include development of membership and election codes, as well constitutions, inter-governmental and inter-Nation accords, and land use on reserve.


  • Counsel to the Chief’s Water Committee of the Alberta Assembly of Treaty Chiefs on the first federal legislation regarding First Nation drinking water.
  • Advising First Nations on water and wastewater infrastructure matters including water supply agreements, licensing and regulatory issues, and participation in regional water systems.
  • Assisting First Nations with the implementation of modern Treaties, including one of the largest electronic registrations with the Land Title and Survey Authority of British Columbia
  • Drafting election codes, membership codes for various First Nations
  • Assisting First Nations with their on-reserve land matters under the Indian Act, First Nations Land Management Act, and modern Treaty, including the negotiation and registration of instruments and encumbrances such as utility and road permits, security agreements, and transactions involving certificates of possession.
  • Assisting First Nation economic development businesses with their off-reserve business partnerships, including limited partnerships and joint ventures in the oil and gas, forestry, mining, tourism, eHealth, and fishing industries.
  • Developed rules of practice for the Sahtu Land Use Planning Board 
  • Advising clients on conflict of interest issues.
  • Counsel for three individuals seeking to judicial review decisions of band council to deny them membership under a custom membership code Peters v. Peters First Nation Band, 2018 FC 544