Canada’s North is undergoing a period of transformation and with it comes great economic opportunity. As businesses seek to balance economic development with the social, cultural, infrastructure, environmental and ecological needs of the region, they require practical, business-driven legal advice to help them seize opportunities and manage risk through their life cycles.
As a business with a deep commitment to reinvesting in the communities we operate in, Field Law is committed to the growth and development of Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon. Situated in downtown Yellowknife, and regularly traveling across the North, our lawyers handle a variety of complex matters for businesses, bands, governments, boards and tribunals.
Businesses in the North want to maximize economic opportunities for the benefit of their youth and to secure the futures of their communities. Having a good understanding of the culture and history that makes this region unique, Field Law knows how to support development that is sustainable, environmentally sensitive and respectful of culture, language and traditions.
Forward thinking companies doing business, or wanting to access resources in the North, benefit from Field Law’s comprehensive understanding of the culture and history that makes the region unique.
With a foot in each culture, we provide insights into what it takes to do business in the region and have experienced diverse people who are of Indigenous descent and live in the North. This team is supported by many diverse southern Field Law lawyers and staff who have a passion for and regularly travel to the North.
No matter where in the country their business is based, clients like that, as a regional firm, Field Law offers flexibility, versatility and value for their dollar. These qualities are part of our culture and allow us to understand our clients’ business and adapt to their needs, customizing our service levels and staffing structures accordingly.
Our team of experienced lawyers provide extensive services and governance advice across Northern Canada in areas that include:
We take pride in personal relationships that are collaborative and deliver value through strategic, relevant solutions. Please contact Ayanna Ferdinand Catlyn or any of our Northern team for an initial, free of charge consultation to answer your questions about doing business in the North. Click here to sign up to receive invitations to seminars, webinars and events as well as online publications with the latest information from the Northern team.
Getting to the heart of a matter
A privately-held Indigenous development corporation in Western Canada wasn't happy with a complex joint venture into which it had entered with a US conglomerate and wanted formal resolution. Jack Williams, from our Yellowknife office, talked with both sides and assessed the work flow and the relationship issues. "In collaboration with our client, I figured out a way for the minority shareholder to sell their shares and part with the company amicably." Based on a valuation of the joint venture, the parties negotiated and agreed to split up the assets. "My clients took its share of the assets and moved forward." The file was essentially an issue of relationship management.
Understanding our client's business
A multi-million dollar construction contractor was in distress when it sought Jack Williams's help. "It was over budget on several major jobs in Western Canada." As a team, Jack and his client assessed what to fix and how to proceed. That included restructuring a major contract, selling redundant assets and restructuring bank terms and security. "In addition, the client switched banks, renegotiated terms on other contracts, strengthened its governance and put financial management controls in place."
Drafting easement agreements in the North
Teresa Tomkinson worked with a large commercial developer in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Her client needed to prepare various easements for access, use and utilities, which would affect multiple properties. The Northern climate impacts the way infrastructure is developed, which poses complications for the drafting of easements. For example, permafrost means that utilities are not run underground in many areas - but rather above-ground - which can impact development. The statutory legislation in the Northern territories is applied differently than in other provinces, and the Registrar in the North requires different procedures in how easement agreements are drafted and registered. Teresa and her team engaged legal counsel in the North and worked very closely with the Registrar to understand the procedure, and then successfully drafted the easement agreements.