Aboriginal Law

Our team is experienced in representing and consulting with Aboriginal business people; assisting them in dealing with their unique commercial and legal issues.

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Aboriginal business people face distinct challenges as a result of the provisions of the Indian Act. Recognizing the dramatic changes impacting Aboriginal commercial enterprises, our team provides experienced representation and consultation to assist Aboriginal business people in addressing these significant challenges.

  • The Indian Act

    First Nations’ commercial activities are governed by The Indian Act: legislation which affords natives and reserves certain rights and protections but, in doing so, also imposes significant restrictions on their capacity to conduct business in Canada. Unfortunately, The Indian Act is, in many ways, out of date, and there exist numerous controversies associated with it.

    The limitations and outdated nature of the act are readily apparent with respect to First Nations’ business activities—especially, for those natives living on reserve, and conducting business either on or off reserve.

    Native business people are confronted with distinct challenges related to the securing of financing, as the existing legislation did not anticipate the changes that have dramatically altered the circumstances in which aboriginal commercial enterprises are now being conducted.

  • First Nations’ Businesses

    Our team of commercial litigators successfully represented a First Nations’ businessman in a dispute regarding the structuring of a business financing loan, and the subsequent seizure of property situated on reserve. The legal action involved the interpretation of Sections 87 and 89 of the Indian Act, which regulate both the financing practices and the remedies available to institutional lenders located off reserve. The success of our team at trial and, subsequently, on appeal, indicates the need for amending the Indian Act to accommodate the realities of contemporary First Nations’ business practices.

  • Consultation and Representation

    With our commercial lawyers’ experience addressing business and financing issues, we offer First Nations peoples knowledgeable and effective representation in dealing with the unique issues and special circumstances they may face in conducting business. In addition, we provide consultation regarding First Nations’ business issues, practices, and disputes. Our lawyers have served as consultants to members of the Whitesand First Nation, as well as having represented business people who are members of the Mohawk Nation at Akwesasne.

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Meet The Team

Al Pace

Founder & Principal

Location: Toronto

Services: Personal Injury Immigration Law Commercial Litigation

Languages: English Lithuanian

Office: 416-236-3060

Toll Free: 1-877-236-3060

Al Pace headshot

Biography

Al Pace is the Founder and Principal of Pace Law Firm. He has practiced law for more than 30 years and has earned a stellar reputation for skill and outstanding client service. After completing his studies at the University of Toronto and the University of Windsor where he received his LL.B., Al was called to the Bar for the province of Ontario in 1980. Initially, Al developed his law practice in the areas of personal injury and civil litigation. In subsequent years, Al expanded the firm’s practice areas to include corporate and commercial litigation and immigration law and related services.

As CEO of Pace Law Firm, Al takes a personal interest in all of the firm’s cases to ensure the highest standards of service excellence are met consistently across the firm. In addition to his legal practice, Al supports community involvement, and has taken an active and prominent role in the Lithuanian community and the Trillium Health Centre.

Education

  • University of Windsor School of Law, Windsor, ON
  • University of Toronto, Bachelor of Science

Professional Associations And Memberships

Canadian Bar Association

Ontario Trial Lawyers Association

American Association for Justice

National Executive of the Lithuanian Canadian Community, Past President

Baltic Federation of Canada, Former Vice President

LABDARA Nursing Home in Etobicoke, Board of Directors

Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners

Donald Fiske

Civil Litigation Lawyer

Location: Toronto

Services: Commercial Litigation

Languages: English

Office: 416-236-3060 x 432

Toll Free: 1-877-236-3060

Donald Fiske headshot

Biography

Donald R. Fiske joined Pace Law Firm in April, 2008, in order to establish and head the firm’s Civil and Commercial Litigation department. The team which he has assembled addresses a variety of issues relating to corporate recovery, insolvency, partnership disputes, construction litigation, civil fraud, wrongful act conspiracy, Aboriginal commercial claims, breach of contract and claims against the Crown.

Don is a graduate of Dalhousie Law School and was called to the Ontario bar in 1977. In 2007 he was called to the bar in British Columbia. Don established his own litigation firm in 1982 and, over the course of the next 26 years, he specialized in matters pertaining to corporate collections, complex debtor/creditor litigation, insolvency, bankruptcy, and construction litigation matters.

Don’s roster of clients has included multinational corporations representing the manufacturing, financial, and communications sectors. In addition, he has also acted on behalf of numerous small business owners and entrepreneurs regarding various types of civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on debtor/creditor disputes. Recently he has also represented First Nations people in commercial disputes and currently provides consulting services with respect to First Nations commercial issues for members at Akwesasne, near Cornwall, and Whitesand First Nation in Northern Ontario.

Don has received his accreditation as a Certified Specialist in Civil Litigation from the Law Society of Ontario. With over 40 years of experience in commercial litigation, he possesses a wealth of knowledge and expertise, with a proven record of success, on which he draws in offering clients his unique expertise. Don is frequently consulted by lawyers in other law firms to provide advice as to approach and strategy and also to assist in ongoing litigation. He has extensive experience as a trial lawyer and also has conducted appeals at the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Two lawyers who worked with Don on trial matters have obtained their Certified Specialist status in Civil Litigation and another lawyer who worked with him has appeared as lead Counsel at the Supreme Court of Canada. Don possesses a unique skill set and resources to aid other lawyers who may wish to make a referral as a result of a conflict, or are seeking assistance in proceeding with an action which may require a more experienced hand. He often works with other law firms in preparing for trial and will assist at trial, if called upon.

The Civil Litigation Department believes in the words of retired Justice Joseph W. Quinn that “Trial lawyers try cases. Trial lawyers who settle their cases are social workers”.

Education

  • Dalhousie Law School, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (LL.B.)

Professional Associations And Memberships

Canadian Bar Association

British Columbia, Law Society

Law Society of Ontario

Advocates Society

Toronto Lawyers Association

Cases Of Note

PricewaterhouseCoopers v. Rohwedder Automated Systems Inc. [2005] O.J. No. 4715

GMC Distribution Ltd. v. Canada [2009] T.C.J. No. 216

1505986 Ontario Inc. v. Surma (2010) O.J. No. 3139

1505986 Ontario Inc. v. Surma (2010) O.J. No. 5549

Benedict v. Ohwistha Capital Corp. (2011) 329 D.L.R. (4th) 758

Benedict v. Ohwistha Capital Corp. (2014) 372 D.L.R. (4th) 484

Walters v. Ontario, 2015 O.J. No. 4137

Walters v. Ontario, 136 O.R. (3rd) 53

Walters v. Ontario [2017] S.C.C.A. No. 100

Dovbush v. Mouzitchka, 2014 ONSC 6480

Lloyd Benefit v. Continental Casualty Company, 2016 ONSC 7205

Umair Shaikh

Junior Lawyer

Location: Toronto

Languages: English

Office: 416-236-3060

Toll Free: 1-877-236-3060

Umair Shaikh headshot

Biography

Umair Shaikh is a junior lawyer who initially articled with Pace Law and was hired back. He graduated from the University of Leicester in 2015 and was called to the bar in 2018. Umair’s practice has been devoted to civil and commercial litigation. He has advocated and appeared on motions and hearings before the Superior Court of Justice, Small Claims Court and tribunals.