Respected practitioner John advises on the Indigenous law aspects of mining and oil and gas operations. He is noted for his regulatory work, and market commentators highlight his presence on significant disputes in the Aboriginal law space.

- Chambers Canada, 2021 Guide 

John is Lawson Lundell’s General Counsel and a member of the firm’s management team.

In addition, as Senior Counsel John is a member of the firm’s Indigenous, Environmental, and Project Development practice groups. His practice includes advising private sector and government clients throughout Canada on Indigenous, environmental, regulatory and natural resources matters. John advises oil sands developers, conventional oil and gas companies, railways, mining companies, utilities and other resource developers on environmental regulatory matters and on Indigenous law matters, including Indigenous consultation issues and negotiation of cooperation protocols and impact benefit agreements related to natural resource project development.

Professional Activities

  • Project Law Blog, Contributor
  • B.C. Continuing Legal Education B.C. Real Property Assessment Manual, aboriginal property taxation chapter, Editor

Recognitions & Rankings

Recognitions & Rankings

  • Chambers Global 2024: recognised for Aboriginal Law - Nationwide (Band 1)
  • Chambers Canada 2024: recognised for Aboriginal Law - Nationwide (Band 1)
  • Best Lawyers in Canada 2010-2024: recognised for Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice and Energy Regulatory Law
  • The Legal 500 Canada 2021-2024recommended as a Leading Individual in the Indigenous Law category
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory (2023-2024): recommended as a leading practitioner in Aboriginal Law
  • Chambers Global 2023: recognised for Aboriginal Law - Nationwide (Band 2)
  • Best Lawyers in Canada 2021 'Lawyer of the Year': Aboriginal Law (Calgary)
  • Thomson Reuters "Stand-out Lawyer" 2022-2023
  • Acritas Stars 2020-2021
  • Lexpert Special Edition 2016-2020: Leading Canadian Lawyers in Energy
  • The Legal 500: recommended in the Aboriginal Law category



John’s representative experience includes:

  • Advising clients on strategies for working with the Government of Alberta in the development and application of consultation and accommodation guidelines by the Province
  • Advising clients on negotiations with Indigenous groups on a range of natural resource, utility and transportation matters
  • Advising clients on permitting, regulatory and Indigenous issues for proposed developments in Western and Northern Canada
  • Advising clients on matters related to negotiation and implementation of self government agreements, land claims agreements and treaties
  • Representing a group of oil sands developers, power and gas utilities and other companies in the negotiation of a consultation and accommodation agreement with the provincial and federal governments and five First Nations in northeastern Alberta
  • Helping a major Canadian oil and gas company successfully resolve Indigenous issues arising in the course of regulatory applications for an expansion to a heavy oil project in Alberta
  • Advising a major Canadian oil and gas company on negotiation of access agreements and benefits plans for exploration activity in the Northwest Territories
  • Advising major conventional oil and gas companies on Indigenous matters in Alberta and British Columbia, including issues arising on Indian reserves and on Métis settlements
  • Advising a national railway company on Indigenous matters across Canada, including the negotiation and implementation of ground-breaking agreements on Indigenous property taxation jurisdiction, resolution of historic grievances and local issues, and acquisition of Indian reserve lands for right of way expansions
  • Advising natural resource developers on the negotiation of a joint venture business arrangements with an Alberta First Nation
  • Assisting a major public utility in negotiating and drafting impact benefits agreements with Indigenous groups affected by a proposed gas pipeline to Vancouver Island, with the result that Indigenous concerns were not an issue before the Canada Energy Regulator (formerly National Energy Board)
  • Acting as negotiator, facilitator and legislative drafter for a government client in the development of legislation implementing provisions of land claims agreements

News & Publications

News & Publications

Blog Posts

Speaking Engagements

Speaking Engagements

John is a regular speaker at conferences on Indigenous and natural resources issues, and provides seminars for clients and industry associations on Indigenous law matters.

  • "Changes to the energy regulatory framework in Alberta and what it means for Aboriginal consultation", 7th Annual Aboriginal Energy Forum, Insight Information, Toronto, ON, December 5-6, 2013, Speaker
  • "Legal Perspective - Aboriginal Issues & Project Development: Assessing the Effect of Regulatory Reform on First Nation and Métis Consultation in Alberta", Calgary, AB, November 21, 2013, Co-Chair and Speaker
  • "Project Development: Assessing the Effect of Regulatory Reform on First Nation and Métis Consultation in Alberta", Environmental Law and Regulation in Alberta Conference, Complying with the New Regulatory Framework,The Canadian Institute, Calgary, AB, June 5-6, 2013, Co-chair and Speaker
  • "Considerations for Resource Companies: Who Do You Consult With?", The Daniels Case: Recognition of Métis and Non-Status Aboriginal Peoples Conference, Pacific Business & Law Institute, Ottawa, ON, April 11-12, 2013, Speaker
  • "Dealing with Aboriginal Communities - Law and Best Practices", February 21, 2012, Speaker
  • "Recent Court Cases and Impact on Consultation: Getting Clarification on the Duty to Consult and Accommodate", Aboriginal Consultation and Negotiation - Western Canada Conference, The Canadian Institute, Calgary, AB, October 26-27, 2011, Speaker
  • "Land Access and Sustainable Development - Strategies for Addressing Aboriginal Concerns", 2nd Annual Aboriginal Energy Forum, Insight Information, Calgary, AB, December 9, 2008
  • "The Changing Legal Landscape: An Update of Recent BC and Canada Supreme Court Decisions and What they Mean for Industry", BC Aboriginal Consultation for Industry, The Canadian Institute, Vancouver, BC, December 1-2, 2005, Speaker
  • "Building Local Stakeholder Trust and Community Buy-Ins: Best Practices", National Summit on Natural Resource Finance, The Canadian Institute, Toronto, ON, October 27-28, 2005, Speaker
John Olynyk, Lawson Lundell Photo
t 403.781.9472
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Assistant Contact

Bar Admissions

  • Northwest Territories (2013)
  • Alberta (2001)
  • Yukon (1997)
  • British Columbia (1996)


University of Alberta (B.Sc. (Zoology), 1979)

University of British Columbia (M.Sc. (Planning), 1984)

McGill University (LL.B., 1995)

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