*Painting by Wally Kakepetum
Since 2004, Falconers LLP has become increasingly active in advocacy for First Nation communities. To better serve our clients, we have now opened offices in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Beginning with our representation of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (ALST) at the Ipperwash Inquiry, we have had the privilege of advocating issues engaging both Aboriginal constitutional and treaty rights. Falconers LLP is or has been counsel of record on behalf of Truth & Reconciliation Commission, Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN), Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS), Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto (ALST), Anishinabek Police Service (APS), Sandy Lake First Nation, Lac Suel First Nation, Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation, Kettle & Stony Point First Nation, and Rainbow Tobacco as well as First Nation individuals and families advocating for First Nation determination and self-government. Recently, the Falconers team also acted as legal support to NAN in its groundbreaking volunteer jury initiative in remote northern communities, called “Operation Invite”, aimed at redressing the exclusion of Aboriginal communities from jury rolls in Ontario. Falconers LLP is counsel for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada in respect of ongoing document collection litigation. Additionally, our office acts as counsel to the co-chair of the Iacobucci Report Implementation Committee.
Volunteer Jury Initiatve (“Operation Invite”)
The Falconers team provided legal support to Nishnawbe Aski Nation in its ground breaking volunteer jury initiative in northern remote communities, an initiative aimed at redressing the exclusion of Aboriginal communities from jury rolls in Ontario. Lawyers from Falconers LLP, on behalf of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, visited First Nations communities in the Thunder Bay and Kenora regional districts, providing information about Coroners Inquest juries and offering the opportunity to volunteer as a jury member. The idea for a volunteer jury list for Coroners Inquests was one of seventeen recommendations made by former Supreme Court Justice Frank Iacobucci in his report.
First Nation Policing
Falconers LLP advocates for the rights of First Nations to receive the same standard of policing services that our governments guarantee to other Canadian communities. We are actively involved in negotiations to increase access to modern, effective, and culturally appropriate policing services in First Nation communities and to improve working conditions for First Nation police officers. Our clients include the two largest First Nation police services in Ontario, the Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (“NAPS”) and the Anishinabek Police Service (“APS”). We previously acted for Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto at the Ipperwash Inquiry and for the Wesley Family at the Inquest into the Deaths of Ricardo Wesley and Jamie Goodwin, who died tragically in a preventable fire at the Kashechewan First Nation police detachment.
We currently act as litigation counsel for NAPS in various matters, as well as legal counsel to both NAPS and APS in tripartite funding negotiations with the federal and Ontario governments. In 2014, we assisted both First Nation police services with securing short-term funding as they resisted the imposition of a template funding agreement that would not have met the needs of the communities they serve. In 2015, Julian Falconer and Marc Gibson acted as counsel for both NAPS and APS as the two police services jointly negotiated long-term tripartite agreements that will provide stable funding for both organizations until 2018. We continue to engage in advocacy surrounding sustainable, equitable, and culturally appropriate First Nation policing on an ongoing basis.
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
For more than a century, Canada sought to eliminate Aboriginal culture and language through the establishment and use of the Indian Residential School system. These shameful practices have been termed “cultural genocide” by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the body whose purpose since its inception has been to gather the truth about residential schools.
Part of the truth gathering process lies in the collection and examination of documents regarding the residential school system and its legacy. The Commission faced numerous difficulties in its attempts to collect documents from the federal government and from various church entities. Falconers LLP has represented the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in various court proceedings on the issue of document production.
Julian Falconer, Julian Roy, and Meaghan Daniel of Falconers LLP have represented the TRC in respect of a series of document production cases before the Ontario Courts.
Inquest into the Death of Seven First Nations Youth
This joint inquest examines the circumstances surrounding the deaths of seven First Nations youth who died under similar circumstances while attending school in Thunder Bay.
The Inquest into the Death of Seven First Nations Youth began in April of 2015 with a hearing to broaden scope of the Inquest. Nishnawbe Aski Nation, represented by lawyers Julian Falconer and Meaghan Daniel, was in attendance at the hearing to argue that the scope should be expanded in four areas to include issues such as the racism faced by the youth, and the quality of the Thunder Bay Police Service’s investigation into their disappearances.
Lawyers Julian Falconer, Julian Roy, and Meaghan Daniel of Falconers LLP are appearing on behalf of Nishnawbe Aski Nation, the political territorial organization representing the youth’s communities of origin.
Angel Sue Larkman v. Attorney General of Canada
Inquiry into the Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario
R. v. Kokopenace
Nishnawbe Aski Nation v. Eden
Truth and Reconciliation Commission v. Attorney General of Canada*
Coroner’s Inquest into the death of Ricardo Wesley and Jamie Goodwin
Seven Youth Death Inquest*
Nishnawbe Aski Nation Iacobucci Jury Rolls Review
R. v. Williams
Horn v. Canada
Plantinex v. Kitchenuhmaykoosib Inninuwug First Nation
*denotes ongoing case