Stephanie is a member of our National Environmental, Regulatory & Aboriginal (ERA), Business Law, and Global Metals & Mining Groups. With a practice focused primarily in the area of Aboriginal law, she helps clients navigate the legal issues as well as practical challenges that arise in this complex and continually evolving area.
Known for her responsive, thoughtful and pragmatic approach, Stephanie provides clients with subject-matter expertise in Aboriginal law on an array of project development and commercial matters across Canada. She advises clients on projects across many industry sectors, including natural resources extraction (forestry, mining), energy (renewables, oil and gas, LNG, nuclear) sectors, and real property.
Stephanie offers guidance to project proponents, operators and lenders on Aboriginal law, policy and regulatory issues. With an understanding that there is frequently a divergence between what the law requires and the expectations of many Indigenous groups, Stephanie provides legal and strategic advice and support to help clients bridge the gap. Her experience includes:
- Aboriginal law advisory matters – Advising on a wide array of common law, legislative, regulatory and policy matters (such as consultation and accommodation, Aboriginal rights and title, treaty rights, land claims, governmental and regulatory processes, and archaeological matters), and on the application of international instruments and standards pertaining to Indigenous peoples in Canada
- Project agreements – Negotiating and drafting a variety of project-related commercial and relationship agreements with Indigenous groups (such as impact benefit, capacity funding, engagement, exploration, consultation, cooperation, exploration, accommodation and confidentiality agreements)
- Economic development and project services agreements – Advising clients in respect of economic development opportunities and arrangements with Indigenous groups, including structuring and drafting commercial agreements for the delivery of project services (such as environmental and archaeological monitoring, equipment supply, camp services and transportation), as well as joint business arrangements
- Environmental/regulatory matters – Assisting industry clients to navigate federal, provincial and territorial environmental assessment and other regulatory and permitting processes, including with respect to the preparation of written submissions, consultation records, consultation plans and policies, hearing preparation and communications with consultants and government decision-makers
- Commercial transactions – Providing Aboriginal law-related advice and drafting assistance and due diligence support for a broad range of commercial transactions, project development, real property and other legal matters
- Project finance support – Advising both lenders and borrowers, conducting due diligence, and providing risk assessments and related legal and strategic advice on project finance transactions (particularly with respect to renewable power projects)
- Effective risk management – Providing legal and strategic advice to project proponents and operators in respect of government and Indigenous engagement, relationship building, and risk management, from the earliest stages of project planning and development through operations
Stephanie works to assist project proponents and operators in developing productive working relationships with Indigenous groups while ensuring clients are best positioned to defend their interests in the event of unavoidable disputes. Her dispute resolution and litigation experience in this regard includes:
- Providing legal and strategic advice in respect of Indigenous groups’ opposition and challenges to project permits and approvals (including judicial review proceedings, injunctive relief, and direct action)
- Researching and drafting legal submissions on behalf of project proponents and operators for a range of complex Aboriginal litigation matters in British Columbia, Yukon, Alberta and Ontario concerning matters such as the Crown's duty to consult, treaty rights, the roles and rights of proponents, municipalities and regulatory boards in consultation, and related constitutional matters
Stephanie also provides support to the firm’s Global Metals & Mining Group working on a range of agreements in connection with complex mining sector deals and transactions, and conducts due diligence on corporate matters, mineral tenure, and environmental and regulatory matters for exploration and mining projects in Canada and abroad.
A highly knowledgeable speaker on Aboriginal law and policy, Stephanie regularly presents at client-focused educational engagements and at national conferences. She is a frequent contributor to McCarthy Tétrault’s publications, including the Canadian ERA Perspectives blog, in which she discusses key developments and emerging issues in Aboriginal law and policy. As a value-added service, Stephanie is pleased to provide clients with educational resources, presentations and legal updates on important legal and policy developments in the area of Aboriginal law.
Stephanie obtained her BA (Hons.) with First Class Honours in International Development Studies from McGill University in 2003 and LLB from Dalhousie Law School in 2008. She was called to the British Columbia bar in September 2009.