Brenda GaertnerPartner

Phone: 604.566.8560
Fax: 604.681.0959
Assistant: Donna Ward |

Professional Summary

Professional Summary

Brenda Gaertner advises first nation governments on aboriginal title and rights, modern (self) government, natural resource management and economic development.  She was called in 1984 and has been with Mandell Pinder LLP since 1986. She is committed to the path of respect and reconciliation.

Brenda has assisted in various types of negotiated agreements and settlements, including on and off reserve projects and developments, modern self-governance and resource management, impact-benefit agreements, economic development, government to government agreements and specific claim settlements.  In 2011, after decades of hard work and negotiations, Brenda assisted the St’at’imc Chiefs Council reach their historic agreement with BC Hydro and the Province of BC regarding the footprint and ongoing impacts of hydroelectric projects in their Territory.

She provides legal, policy and negotiating advice to First Nations on small and large scale projects, including assisting in environmental assessments, consultation and regulatory processes.  Brenda was senior counsel for the First Nations Coalition in the Cohen Inquiry on Fraser River Sockeye and has represented First Nation clients before the National Energy Board and Joint Federal and Provincial Review Panels.

Brenda promotes the formation of improved working relationships between First Nations, Crown governments and business partners in a variety of ways.  Brenda offers facilitation and mediation services to First Nation governments and organizations, and to those interested in pursuing common goals and/or resolving disputes outside the courts.  She has assisted in the formation of shared territory agreements and First Nation to First Nation protocols.  Her work has included assisting developers, First Nation governments and First Nation corporate entities understand their respective roles and responsibilities.

Throughout her career, Brenda has worked with Aboriginal people in their pursuit of the recognition of aboriginal title and rights to healthy fisheries and aquatic resources, helping to find ways to ensure that those fisheries and resources are sustained for present and future generations.  She has a long history of working with First Nation communities along the migratory route of Fraser Salmon, including both the coastal and in-river fisheries. She cares about these fisheries and the ecosystems upon which they rely, and is excited to be working with First Nations who are actively pursuing land and marine use plans within their territories.

Brenda’s experience and expertise allow her to contribute to many types of teams, be they corporate-commercial, governance or resource management.  Her years of on the ground experience have offered her the opportunity to develop effective communication skills and efficient team management practices.  She is currently the lead negotiator for the Fraser Salmon Management Council, a First Nations organization working on behalf of 71 First Nations along the migratory route of Fraser Salmon.

Brenda is a board member of the Pacific Salmon Foundation.


LL.B Osgoode Hall Law School, York University, 1983

B.A. Criminology, Simon Fraser University, 1978-80

Professional Standing & Affiliations

Member, Law Society of B.C. (1984)

Publications & Presentations

Publications & Presentations

Overview of Aboriginal Title and Rights – How are Indigenous Groups Acquiring Fee Simple Land? (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for CLE Residential Real Estate Conference, December 7, 2017).

Implementing the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples – suggested approaches (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for Politics, Policies and Priorities Conference, October 27, 2017).

A Conversation with an English Mining Company (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for CLE Mining Law 2017, October 12, 2017).

First Nations and Wild Salmon (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for First Nations Wild Salmon Alliance, April 18 and 19, 2016).

Traditional Ecological Knowledge and Decision Making: Observations from the Field (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for First Nations Fisheries Council Workshop, February 17, 2015).

Multi-Government Management (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for Pacific Business Law Institute Conference , Aboriginal and Environmental Law, January 19-20, 2015).

Core Issues and New opportunities in Resource Development in B.C. Going Forward (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for the Affinity Institute Aboriginal Law, Environmental Law and Resource Development Conference, December 3-4, 2014).

Recent Decisions Informing Environmental Assessments and Regulatory Processes for the Review of Proposed Projects (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for the CLE Aboriginal Law Conference 2014, November 13, 2014).

Navigating the Environmental Review Process:  An Aboriginal Title and Rights Perspective (Co-Authored with Kris Statnyk and Prepared for the CLEBC Aboriginal Law Conference 2014, November 13, 2014).

Observations on the Successes Reflected in the St’at’imc BC Hydro 2011 Agreements (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for the Pacific Business and Law Institute Aboriginal Impact Benefit Agreements Conference, October 10, 2013).

Implementing Commissioner Cohen’s Recommendations (Published in the Watershed Sentinel, Summer 2013 Edition).

Carving Space for Indigenous Laws in Administrative Bodies (Co-Authored with Crystal Reeves and Prepared for the Canadian Bar Association National Aboriginal Law Conference, April 11 and 12, 2013).

Fisheries and Aquatic Resource Management:  Opportunities Going Forward (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for the Pacific Business and Law Institute Aboriginal Rights to Fish and Environmental Law Conference, March 6 and 7, 2013).

Implementing Commissioner Cohen’s Report and Recommendations (Powerpoint Presentation Prepared for the Pacific Business and Law Institute Aboriginal Rights to Fish and Environmental Law Conference, March 6 and 7, 2013).

The Scope of Section 35 Fishery Rights:  A Legal Overview and Analysis (Prepared for the First Nations Panel on Fisheries, March 31, 2004).

Establishing a Fraser Watershed Process (Prepared for Fraser River Aboriginal Fisheries Secretariat, August 8, 2003).

Other Activities

Kayaking, cycling, swimming, hiking, national and international travel.

Meditation, yoga, gardening.

Steward of Equinox Gardens, Gabriola Island, a sanctuary for meditation, retreat, ritual, music and dance.