Dionne Schulze offers legal advice and representation in a variety of areas, especially in relation to Aboriginal Peoples. Its lawyers are highly experienced and the founding partners rank among the best Aboriginal law specialists in the country, according to the annual “Best Lawyers in Canada” publication.
Our firm has a particular expertise dealing with consultation and accommodation of Aboriginal peoples with respect to projects on their territory, an expertise which includes the negotiation of the Impact and Benefit Agreements (IBAs) which may result.
We also specialize in both the negotiation and litigation of land claims and treaty issues, including specific claims.
We have often represented First Nations individuals accused of violating provincial and federal laws with respect to hunting, fishing, trapping and harvesting.
We have also represented former pupils of residential schools in their efforts to obtain monetary compensation in accordance with the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, as well as other victims of abuse in institutional settings.
Constitutional law, rights, and freedoms
We have substantial experience in litigating constitutional issues, particularly the separation of powers between the federal and provincial governments and equality rights under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
We represent and advise our clients on environmental assessments under federal and provincial laws, as well as under the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement, both with respect to their participation and with respect to the legality of the decision making.
Business, corporate and tax law
We routinely deal with tax matters affecting Aboriginal people, including commercial transactions. We are also involved in the negotiation and drafting of commercial agreements, such as joint venture, sales agreement, licenses and limited partnerships. We advise on corporate matters for profit and not-for-profit entities, such as incorporations, filings, resolutions, meetings and rights and responsibilities of directors.
Governance, by-laws and policy
We regularly advise First Nations who wish to adopt policies or by-laws for better governance. In particular, we work on resolutions, by-laws, codes of ethics, membership codes and election codes.
Civil litigation / Administrative law / Judicial review
Our civil law practice includes drafting legal opinions and representation before the courts. Our litigation practice also includes judicial review of government action, particularly with respect to government decisions which affect our aboriginal clients. Members of our firm have appeared before all levels of court, both federal and provincial, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Property and housing law
We have an expertise in the special rules which apply to land held on reserve under the Indian Act. In particular, we advise our clients on the rights of non-aboriginals to use reserve lands, in both commercial and residential settings. We also offer advice on housing and home ownership policies. We recently contributed to clarifying the situation of Band Councils with respect to federal loans for housing and the related ministerial guarantees.
Employment law and the protection of privacy
We help our clients draft and apply policies on employment and the protection of personal information. We also advise them on employee dismissal and human rights complaints.
We have successfully filed and settled class actions. We have been involved in class actions on issues including the legality of provincial tax and the liability of institutions for sexual abuse.
Intellectual property and traditional knowledge
We provide advice on and participate in the drafting of agreements and policies on the protection of intellectual property, of traditional knowledge, and of information collected from Aboriginal communities.
Our firm follows international developments in Aboriginal and human rights, and members of our firm have appeared before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
Quebec and federal law
Our lawyers, who are trained both in the civil law of Quebec and the common law, are all called to the Bar of Québec. We are fully bilingual in French and English.