Consultation, Accommodation and Regulatory Review

Consultation and Accommodation

Canadian governments are constitutionally required to consult Indigenous communities about decisions that may negatively impact Aboriginal and Treaty rights. Indigenous communities face many external pressures with encroaching development and rapidly changing legal landscapes. It can be challenging for Indigenous communities to ensure their concerns about impacts to their section 35 rights are properly identified, addressed and accommodated.

We provide strategic advice and representation relating to all aspects of the Crown’s duty to consult and accommodate, including assisting Indigenous communities to establish their own consultation processes, develop methods for assessing impacts to rights, and find effective ways of accommodating those impacts.

Where the Crown fails in its consultation and accommodation obligations, we will work with you to challenge those decisions. Through innovative and robust legal strategies, our clients have been successful in challenging projects, influencing development and obtaining important accommodations that allow them to protect their Aboriginal and Treaty rights.

Regulatory Review

The duty to consult frequently arises in the context of resource development proposals, which are overseen by various environmental assessment agencies or boards that make decisions about infrastructure construction or resource development.  Effective participation in these processes is critical to advancing Indigenous rights and interests and ensuring that the Crown fulfills its duty to consult and accommodate.

JFK Law provides practical advice and strategic representation for our clients throughout these regulatory processes.  From helping communities respond to referrals for projects in their traditional territories, to representing communities through environmental assessment and other regulatory review processes, we work with our clients to fearlessly advance their claims and make their voices heard.

Our lawyers are experience advocates for Indigenous peoples in regulatory processes, including those involving the Canada Energy Regulator (formerly the National Energy Board), the Alberta Energy Regulator, the Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (formerly the Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency), the BC Environmental Assessment Office, the BC Environmental Appeal  Board. We also have extensive experience in litigation in all levels of court arising from the assessment and permitting of developmental projects.



  • Representing Indigenous groups in consultations with Crown and proponents on major resource projects, including
    • Pipelines (e.g. Enbridge Northern Gateway, Trans Mountain Expansion, Energy East, Line 3, Nova Gas Transmission Line system expansion)
    • Hydroelectric dams (e.g. Site C, Springbank Dam)
    • Oil and Gas exploration and development including open pit and in situ oil sands development (e.g. Teck Frontier)
    • Mining exploration and development, including coal, iron, uranium, and diamond mines
    • Port expansion and shipping lanes (e.g. Roberts Bank Terminal 2)
  • Counsel for First Nations in numerous regulatory processes and hearings before:
    • Canada Energy Regulator (National Energy Board)
    • Impact Assessment Agency of Canada (Canadian Environmental Assessment Agency)
    • Alberta Energy Regulator
    • B.C. Environmental Assessment Office
    • B.C. Oil and Gas Commission
    • Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission
  • Advising Nations in land use planning and review processes, including:
    • Lower Athabasca Regional Plan (LARP)
    • North Saskatchewan Regional Plan(NSRP)
    • Peel Watershed Regional land use plan