For the last several years, Brenda Gaertner has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in Canada™ in the field of Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice. Brenda has also been ranked in the Chambers and Partners Canada guide in the category Aboriginal Law – Representation of Indigenous Peoples for many years.
Since joining the firm in 1986, Brenda has worked with Indigenous peoples in their pursuit of the recognition of Indigenous and Aboriginal title and rights, modern self-governance, resource governance and management, project agreements, economic development, and nation-to-nation and government-to-government agreements. Brenda’s experience and expertise allow her to contribute legal, policy and negotiation skills to a myriad of projects and teams. Her decades of experience have honed her abilities to work respectfully, to identify solutions, and find paths forward, even in difficult situations.
For decades Brenda has actively listened to Indigenous leaders, elders and knowledge holders. She has been taught that building respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples and effecting transformative change are foundational to reconciliation. She has helped many First Nations find unique solutions to reach their goals, including collaborative governance and management agreements, mutual benefit agreements, impact benefit agreements, shared territory agreements, and First Nation-to-First Nation protocols.
Brenda is deeply committed to working with Aboriginal people in their pursuit of the recognition of their inherent and aboriginal title and rights to healthy ecosystems, fish, and aquatic resources. Aware of the vulnerabilities facing fresh and marine water ecosystems, she is honoured to work with Nations who are proactively managing these precious resources.
Brenda is a long-standing member of Mandell Pinder LLP’s specific claims team. She remains committed to helping to resolve these historic wrongs and sees such resolution as a necessary part of reconciliation.
Brenda was called to the bar in 1984 and joined the firm in 1986.
LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (1983)
B.A., Criminology, Simon Fraser University (1980)
Member of the Coastal First Nations team who helped eight Coastal Nations achieve their 2021 Fisheries Resources Reconciliation Agreement, including its collaborative governance and management schedule.
Lead negotiator for the Fraser Salmon Management Council, an Indigenous organization working on behalf of 71 First Nations, who in 2019 achieved their Fraser Salmon Collaborative Governance and Management Agreement.
Assisted the Broughton Nations in achieving their 2018 agreement with the Province regarding the transition of open pen atlantic salmon fish farms, and their 2019 Indigenous Monitoring and Inspection Agreement with the farmers.
Represented numerous First Nation Coalitions before the courts on fish related matters. She is currently counsel for the First Nation Coalition in the Discovery Island Judicial Review in the Federal Court. Brenda served as senior counsel for the First Nations Coalition in the Cohen Inquiry on Fraser River Sockeye and has represented First Nation clients before both the National Energy Board and Joint Federal and Provincial Review Panels.
Assisted the St’at’imc Chiefs Council in 2011, after years of negotiation, reach their historic agreement with BC Hydro and the Province of BC regarding the footprint and ongoing impacts of hydroelectric projects in their Territory.
Member, Law Society of B.C.
Member, Canadian Bar Association
Board member, Pacific Salmon Foundation.
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).
Board Member on the Pacific Salmon Foundation.
Board Member for the Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Victoria.
Host of a community gathering place on Gabriola Island, BC.