Our team is experienced in representing and consulting with Aboriginal business people; assisting them in dealing with their unique commercial and legal issues.
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 Unfortunately, The Indian Act is, in many ways, out of date, and there exist numerous controversies associated with it.
The limitations and outdated nature of the act are readily apparent with respect to First Nations’ business activities—especially, for those natives living on reserve, and conducting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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