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Aboriginal law specialist Thomas Isaac joins Osler’s PE group

Thomas Isaac has been tapped to lead national aboriginal law activity in the private equity group of Canadian law firm Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. Isaac has for many years advised private equity and other investors concerning aboriginal issues, and is the author of Aboriginal Law: Commentary and Analysis (Purich Publishing). In making the appointment, Osler noted the recent growth in private equity investments in resource sectors, and the frequency with which aboriginal issues arise in connection with these deals. Issac will be based in the firm’s Calgary office.


Navigating Aboriginal Issues in Private Equity Transactions

October 3, 2013

Canada’s Leading Aboriginal Law Expert Joins Osler’s Private Equity Group

Aboriginal issues often arise in connection with transactions in the Canadian resource sector. In Canada, the Crown has a duty to consult Aboriginal peoples regarding Crown decisions (including those affecting projects and lands related to projects) that may adversely affect existing or claimed Aboriginal rights. Although the duty to consult is a Crown obligation, in practice, the consultation process requires the involvement of the project proponents. Beyond the duty to consult, proposed projects that have the potential to affect existing treaty rights often require project proponents to negotiate directly with Aboriginal groups to establish the terms on which these groups will agree to modifications to their rights to allow the project to proceed. Aboriginal groups in Canada have been vigilant in enforcing treaty rights and the Crown’s duty to consult and have become increasingly sophisticated in terms of the arrangements they are prepared to accept.

Osler’s team of private equity experts routinely represent principal parties in connection with private equity investments in the resource sector, often advising on Aboriginal matters such as the following:

– conducting due diligence and providing assessments in relation to Aboriginal-related risks and issues;
– providing strategic advice to investors on Aboriginal-related matters across all industry sectors in all parts of Canada;
– developing strategies to proactively manage the Aboriginal consultation process, including the development of mitigation plans to effectively manage Aboriginal-related risk;
– developing options for partnering with Aboriginal groups; and
– working with private equity teams to understand and manage Aboriginal risk at different stages of investment from entry to exit.

In light of the increasing level of private equity investment in the Canadian resource sector and recognizing the frequency with which Aboriginal issues arise in connection with these types of transactions, Osler has added leading Aboriginal law expertise to its Private Equity Group through the addition of Thomas Isaac, who will lead our National Aboriginal Law Group from Osler’s Calgary office. Thomas is a nationally recognized authority in Aboriginal law. Thomas has advised private equity and other investors in assessing and understanding Aboriginal issues and their potential effects on investments and works with clients to develop strategies to manage that risk. He has been recognized by The Best Lawyers in Canada 2014 for Aboriginal Law; Chambers Global 2013: The World’s Leading Business Lawyers for Aboriginal Law; Benchmark Canada 2013 for Aboriginal Law, Energy Law and Environmental Law; and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2013 for Aboriginal law.

Please contact any of the members of our Private Equity Group should you wish to discuss private equity investment in the resource sector and effective management of risks relating to Aboriginal issues.

Photo courtesy of Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP.