Year of call: Quebec Bar, 1995
David Schulze is a founding partner of the law firm of Dionne Schulze and has specialized in Aboriginal law since his call to the Bar in 1995. He represents Aboriginal governments and other non-profit organizations as well as individuals, both in Quebec and elsewhere in Canada. Since 2006, he has been named each year as one of the “Best Lawyers” practicing Aboriginal law in Canada by Best Lawyers in Canada and since 2013 by The Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory.
David Schulze’s most important recent cases include acting for Stéphane Descheneaux, Susan and Tammy Yantha and the Abénaki communities of Odanak and Wôlinak in the Charter case challenging sex discrimination in the Indian Act registration (“status”) rules, known as Descheneaux v. Attorney General of Canada, which that led to the amendments tabled in Parliament in 2016 as Bill S-3.
He appeared for the Abenaki as intervenors before the British Columbia Court of Appeal in 2008 in the earlier McIvor case, the only party to raise the effects of the double-mother rule that the Court ultimately held created the unconstitutional discrimination that Parliament had to correct through Bill C-3 in 2010.
Also noteworthy was David Schulze’s representation of Chief Ghislain Picard of the Assembly of First Nations of Québec and Labrador in his class action against the government of Québec concerning the application of the fuel tax on reserve. A settlement was reached in 2011 and compensation of $24.3 million was paid to the registered Indians of Québec. Legislative amendments were introduced at the same time so that registered Indians no longer pay the provincial fuel tax on reserve.
David Schulze has argued cases concerning Aboriginal people’s consultation rights from coast to coast, having appeared for the Nunavik Inuit concerning their rights in Labrador in Federal Court and for the Hupacasath First Nation of Vancouver Island in B.C. Supreme Court.
In addition to providing advice on Aboriginal and treaty rights, David Schulze advises and represents clients on issues including: environmental assessment, employment relations and human rights, taxation, access to information and privacy, corporate governance for non-profits and local economic development.
David Schulze also represents individuals in cases of historic abuse, including the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) for abuse suffered at Indian Residential Schools. In 2016, he represented the claimant known as M.F. before the Ontario Superior Court and the Court of Appeal, which resulted in recognition of M.F.’s right to compensation for his abuse at the Spanish IRS, after three levels of adjudication under the IAP had dismissed M.F.’s claim.
David Schulze has appeared before courts at all levels, from the Court of Québec to the Supreme Court of Canada. He has appeared regularly before the Federal Courts and the Québec Superior Court and Court of Appeal, as well as before the courts of British Columbia, Manitoba and Newfoundland. He has also appeared before federal and provincial administrative tribunals, such as the National Energy Board and the Access to Information Commission. He served on the Bar of Québec’s Committee on the Law and Aboriginal Peoples from 1999 to 2012 and has been a member of the editorial board of the Canadian Native Law Reporter since 1996.
Before studying law, David Schulze trained as a historian with a specialization in Canadian history and was previously employed as a professional journalist.
Professional and volunteer activities
Awards and honours