Michelle’s practice is focused on indigenous law and environmental law. She also advises clients (primarily employers) on occupational health and safety matters. Michelle’s practice primarily involves administrative and regulatory proceedings, and associated litigation proceedings.
In the area of Indigenous law, Michelle counsels government, Crown corporations and private sector clients on the extent of the duty to consult and, if necessary, accommodate potentially affected Indigenous interests. In so doing, Michelle assists clients in identifying potentially affected Indigenous groups, assessing the requisite level of consultation, developing and implementing adequate consultation processes, and where appropriate, negotiating impact and benefit agreements. Michelle has successfully defended the adequacy of consultation processes before regulatory tribunals and courts and on appeal.
In the area of Environmental law, Michelle’s experience includes assisting clients through the environmental assessment process and defending permits and approvals once obtained. Michelle also advises clients respecting compliance with environmental laws and regulations, due diligence, and environmental auditing. She assists clients in reviewing, developing and implementing corporate environmental policies, operating manuals, and standard operating procedures.
In the area of Occupational Health and Safety, Michelle advises employers on ensuring compliance with their regulatory obligations, particularly in the area of incident investigation and reporting. Michelle assists in reviewing, developing and implementing clients’ corporate occupational health and safety policies and procedures to ensure that they meet the requisite standard. Michelle has successfully defended clients against workers’ claims and WorkSafeBC administrative penalties before the Workers Compensation Board, the Review Division, the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal and the BC Supreme Court. Michelle has appeared before a number of regulatory tribunals including the British Columbia Utilities Commission, the National Energy Board and BC’s Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal and has represented clients before trial and appellate level courts in British Columbia, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.
Michelle is also a regular contributor to the Project Law Blog, a resource that updates proponents on developments in the law and policy that applies to the development of major projects in Canada.
Prior to joining Lawson Lundell LLP, Michelle clerked for the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division in Ottawa.
Prior to becoming a lawyer, Michelle worked on Parliament Hill and for the federal public service. She has firsthand knowledge of the workings of governments and advises clients on policy matters.
- Canadian Bar Association, Member of Aboriginal, Administrative and Environmental Sections
- Vancouver Bar Association, Member
- Access Justice Pro Bono, Regular Volunteer for Courthouse Clinic
- Provided pro bono services in connection with public interest litigation (e.g. to the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association in Victoria (City of) v. Adams before the BC Court of Appeal)
- Project Law Blog, Contributor
Michelle and her husband are the proud parents of a son. Michelle was born in Kamloops, BC and her ties to her home community remain strong. During the summer months, you can often find her enjoying the beauty of BC’s Interior at her cabin on Shuswap Lake. Her other interests include federal politics and current events, travelling and languages.
News & Publications
News & Publications
- Mapping the Territory: Aboriginal Title and the decision in Tsilhqot’in Nation v. British Columbia, Published by the Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation in the Proceedings of the 61st Annual Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Institute, 2015, Co-author
- "The Crown's Duty to Consult Aboriginal Peoples: Towards an understanding of the source, purpose and limits of the duty", Alberta Law Review, Volume 49, No 4, May 2012, Co-author with Chris W. Sanderson and Keith B. Bergner
- "Supreme Court of Canada Confirms Utility of Administrative Law in Aboriginal Consultation Cases", Regulatory Boards and Administrative Law Litigation Journal, August 2011, Co-Author with Chris W. Sanderson
- SCC Dismisses Leave to Appeal the ABCA's Decision that Litigation Privilege Cannot Cloak an Employer's Internal Investigation Process, Labour and Employment Law Blog, May 8, 2018
- Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples Central to Overhaul of Federal Environmental Assessment Process, Project Law Blog, February 19, 2018
- Federal Environmental Assessment – What's Next – A Tiered Approach, Project Law Blog, April 19, 2017
- BC Employers Subject to New Requirements Regarding Joint Health and Safety Committees and Worker Health and Safety Representatives, Labour and Employment Law Blog, January 9, 2017
- Recently Enacted Regulations Impose New Health and Safety Requirements on Federally Regulated Businesses, Labour and Employment Law Blog, July 9, 2015
- New Employer Occupational Health and Safety Obligations Now in Force, Labour and Employment Law Blog, May 19, 2015
- Proof of Aboriginal rights (including title) not required prior to commencing legal action for enforcement, Project Law Blog, April 28, 2015
- Proposed Changes to Enhance Compliance and Enforcement Powers for WorkSafeBC, Labour and Employment Law Blog, February 13, 2015
- Yukon's Free Entry Claim Staking Violates the Crown's Duty to Consult Aboriginals, Project Law Blog, January 16, 2013
- Federal Court Declares that Métis and Non-Status Indians are Federal Responsibility, Project Law Blog, January 15, 2013
- Joint Review Panel Finds it Lacks the Necessary Jurisdiction to Adjudicate Crown Consultation with First Nations, Project Law Blog, November 9, 2012
- Alberta Court of Appeal Leaves Question of ERCB’s Jurisdiction to Assess Crown Consultation to Another Day, Project Law Blog, October 23, 2012
- BC Treaty Commission Reaches its 20 Year Anniversary, Project Law Blog, October 18, 2012
- Court of Appeal Upholds Ruling that Municipalities Do Not Have a Constitutional Duty to Consult First Nations, Project Law Blog, September 26, 2012
- BCCA Overturns Finding of Inadequate Consultation with Adams Lake Indian Band in Respect of the Incorporation of Sun Peaks Resort, Project Law Blog, August 14, 2012
- BC Court of Appeal Clarifies Reviewable Projects Regulation, Project Law Blog, July 5, 2012
- “Lawyering Skills for Dealing with Regulators”, CBABC Women Lawyers Forum – Kamloops Conference & Retreat, Vernon, BC (April 7 - 9 2017), Speaker
- "Workplace Incident Investigations", 2015 Lawson Lundell Labour & Employment Law Seminar, May 28, 2015
- “An Update on Cases and Practise Tips on Consultation”, Aboriginal Resources and Economic Development Forum, June 6-7, 2012, Presenter
- "Aboriginal Consultation Case Update", 9th Annual Western Canada Aboriginal Law Forum, May 28-29, 2012, Presenter
- "Duty to Consult Case Law as it Continues to Evolve", 10th Annual Aboriginal Law Conference, Insight Information, Toronto, ON, October 24-25, 2011, Co-speaker
- "Public and First Nation Consultation", Understanding Environmental Regulations Course, Educational Program Innovations Center (EPIC), Vancouver, BC, February 2 - 4, 2011
- Sarah Byrne
- Legal Assistant
- T: 604.408.5306
- British Columbia (2009)
- Northwest Territories (2011)
- Nunavut (2011)
University of Ottawa (BSocSc, Hons. 2004)
University of Ottawa (LL.B., 2007)