Consultation Manager and Advisor
- P 604-687-0549 Ext 112
- C 647-927-9036
- Legal Assistant Elena Polyachek 604-687-0549 Ext 112 email@example.com
- 340 - 1122 Mainland Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 5L1
Matt has a background spanning twenty-five years in aboriginal and treaty rights protection and enforcement matters.
Matt has worked for Indigenous communities since 2002 and prior to this, he gained valuable insight and knowledge having worked for the energy industry and the BC Environmental Assessment Office on major project reviews. Matt feels very honoured to have been instructed and taught by elders, community members and leaders about their perspective on their rights, traditional and natural laws and what constitutes a just way forward today. Matt works with Indigenous People and their legal and environmental experts in helping to trouble shoot, problem solve and help create positive outcomes in the following areas:
- Steering third party environmental and cultural reviews of major projects to better address community concerns and interests;
- Significant experience in assisting with the setting up of consultation and lands departments and the carrying out consultation;
- Negotiating agreements with proponents and the Crown to support First Nation involvement in consultation and environmental assessment review processes;
- Co-planning and implementing legal strategies to protect critical community areas from unrestricted oil and gas and forestry;
- Building leadership and technical capacity in First Nations to support First Nations in taking a lead role in their dealings with the Crown and industry;
- Assisting First Nations in litigation, negotiations and consultation in relation to major projects;
- Supporting communities in preparing for and participating in regulatory hearings and panel reviews;
- Planning and directing Indigenous Knowledge research and studies to build the community’s ability to lead such studies while producing solid information to support community rights assertions;
Matt is from the Wolf clan of the Cayuga, being part of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. While Matt is based in the Six Nations Grand River Territory in Ontario, he is available to support JFK clients across the country.
When working for a northern Alberta First Nation, Matt took a lead role with a team in planning and implementing an Indigenous Knowledge study and an alternate sustainable forest management plan reducing the overall proposed cut, preserving old growth forest and areas containing high concentration of community cultural values. At the end of the day the proponent agreed with the First Nation’s proposed alternatives, setting a positive precedent in northern Alberta in relation to forestry management.
Matt was tasked by a First Nation in north-east B.C. with advancing a legal and political strategy to oblige the BC Government to suspend natural gas exploratory seismic and drilling within a critical community use area. This effort resulted in the parties engaging in negotiations on the development of a sub-regional land use plan informed by cumulative impact research and scenarios. As of today, this area represents one of the first examples in the Western Canadian Sedimentary Basin where a drilling moratorium has been put into effect, tenures withdrawn and a treaty hunting only area established.
Matt played a key role in coordinating a First Nations’ participation in the review of Mackenzie Gas Pipeline Project. This involved the preparation of Indigenous Knowledge witness statements and steering a third party environmental assessment review in preparation for joint review panel hearings. Matt’s problem solving and facilitation skills also helped contribute to the filing of a successful judicial review application resulting in the development of positive legal decision in respect to the duty to consult and a multi-million dollar negotiated settlement with the nation.