Complex Negotiations

JFK Law has a team of experienced negotiators that operate across a variety of issues. Effective negotiations require holistic strategic consideration of legal, political and economic factors. JFK’s team is highly experienced in addressing these matters.

Treaty and Related Negotiations

Since contact, the lands and resources of many, if not all, First Nations have been taken over by other users, without permission or Treaty-making.  Modern Treaty negotiation is complex and requires a careful, thorough and sensitive approach. These processes involve understanding a First Nation, its history, objectives and unique character. Each Treaty negotiation brings its own challenges and opportunities based on culture, history, geography and goals.

JFK Law has worked closely with several First Nations at different stages of the Treaty process, and with many First Nations engaged in other complex negotiations related to land, governance and resources.  This work includes helping to:

  • develop a strategic vision;
  • negotiate a land and cash package;
  • conduct community outreach; and
  • undertake the detailed drafting and negotiation required to get to an agreement.

We offer First Nations the knowledge, experience and service needed to allow the nation to advance their cause and strengthen their position at the negotiating table. Our commitment is to provide practical advice, determined support and creative problem-solving to assist nations to achieve the best possible outcomes in the Treaty process.

Our firm also assists with long-standing claims to Treaty Land Entitlement and advancing specific claims.

Impact Benefit Agreements

Impact benefit agreements (IBA) have become a critical instrument allowing Indigenous communities to fully participate in projects carried out within their traditional territories. IBAs are now a common vehicle for community consultation and approval of projects. They allow Indigenous communities to identify their concerns about a project, and that the proponent addresses adverse impacts.  An IBA is a tool to ensure Indigenous communities are compensated for a project’s adverse impacts and to reconcile the competing interests of the community and of the business.

A successful IBA will provide real benefits to both parties.  The Indigenous community might negotiate benefits including training, employment, contracts, profit sharing, and environmental and cultural protections. In return, the proponent receives the benefit of the community’s consent. This paves the way for a long term, sustainable relationship.

JFK Law can advise you in negotiating fair and equitable IBAs with proponents interested in developing your territories. Each IBA is unique to the parties’ needs and circumstances. Our strategy is to ensure that through the IBA process that the Indigenous group is sufficiently consulted adequately accommodated.

Commercial Agreements

Commercial agreements between Indigenous communities and project proponents can include joint-venture agreements, equity transactions, commercial land transactions, and a variety of other transactions. Our approach is to ensure negotiated agreements provide the best value for the client in a manner that ensures the clients received benefits equal to a fair share of the commercial value of the project having their support.



  • Representing the Te’mexw Treaty Association (and its member First Nations) as well as the Pacheedaht and Ditidaht First Nations in the B.C. Treaty process through Agreement-in-Principle stage.
  • Negotiation of complex Impact-Benefit Agreements across western Canada and Yukon on oil sands, mining, pipeline and other resource development projects.
  • Advising First Nations regarding the negotiation and implementation of modern land claim agreements North of 60, including modernization and amendment of comprehensive land claims agreements.
  • Negotiating novel agreements relating to on-reserve water issues.
  • Negotiation of reconciliation agreements, consultation protocols, funding agreements and accommodation measures relating to resource development
  • Assisted the Indigenous Caucus in co-developing the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the Trans Mountain Expansion Project
  • Successful development and integration of processes to ensure inclusion of Indigenous Knowledge in project planning, regulatory processes and in agreements