Janelle Dwyer was selected by her peers for inclusion in the 2022 and 2023 editions of The Best Lawyers in Canada™ in the field of Aboriginal Law / Indigenous Practice.
Janelle was inspired to become a lawyer in part through her early studies of post-colonial literature. As a member of the Splatsin First Nation and a business lawyer at Mandell Pinder LLP, Janelle has been proudly serving the First Nations with her impressive volume of work and subject matter expertise since 2000.
Janelle regularly advises on land transactions both on- and off-reserve, including land acquisitions, developments on and management of reserve land, and additions to reserve. Her practice includes setting up or re-designing corporate entities such as partnerships, corporations, societies and trusts. She also works closely with First Nations on business and governance issues, including drafting regulations, constitutions, bylaws and policies. Janelle negotiates on behalf of First Nations with private companies and the Crown, and drafts and advises on all types of Crown and commercial arrangements, such as impact benefit agreements, government to government agreements, and asset and share purchase agreements.
Janelle was called to the bar in 2000 and joined Mandell Pinder LLP in 2005.
LL.B, University of British Columbia (1999)
B.A., (Honours), English Literature, University of British Columbia (1992)
Advised multiple First Nations on incremental treaty transactions, including negotiating and drafting government to government agreements with Province of British Columbia, negotiating and drafting land use rights being granted to third party users, and advising each community directly on transfers back of land.
Advised First Nation government with 12 operating partnerships on corporate governance matters, including how to simplify governance and improve the relationship between Council and its various boards of directors.
Negotiated and drafted impact benefit agreements in mining, alternative energy, and run of river sectors.
Drafted and acted on the instruction of elected and hereditary leadership on multiple trust agreements for large and small settlements, including advising on and assisting with member consultation.
Advised tribal council and drafted necessary documents for corporate partnership buyout, financing and restructure of large tourism operations with land, casino and hotel operations.Advised First Nation with multiple business operations on reserve including building code regulation of residential tourism development, land designation for commercial leasing, and permits for shorter term use of the reserve.
Member, Law Society of B.C. (2000)
Board of Governors, Langara College, Appointed by the Province of British Columbia (2018-present)
First Nation Community Trusts, attended, hosted by Pacific Business & Law Institute (PBLI), Webinar, February 26, 2021
Aboriginal Law – Vancouver Island Section (ABI2020), attended, hosted by Canadian Bar Association (CBA), Webinar, September 24, 2020
Using Trusts Effectively, attended, hosted by Pacific Business & Law Institute (PBLI), Webinar, June 3, 2020
Environmental Law Section (ENV2020), attended, hosted by Canadian Bar Association (CBA), Webinar, August 6, 2020
Member Consultation on IBAs, presented at Impact Benefit Agreements: Advanced Negotiation Issues, hosted by PBLI, Vancouver, BC, November 20, 2019
Corporate Structuring for Aboriginal Owned Corporations, presented at First Nations Economic Development Training Conference, hosted by AFOA, Richmond, BC, March 7 & 8, 2019
“What can Happen if Your Nation Doesn’t Have a Financial Administrative Bylaw or Financial Administrative Law?”, presented and moderated a panel discussion at First Nations Band Administration Conference hosted by Aboriginal Finance Officers Association ( British Columbia), Osoyoos, British Columbia, May 17-19, 2017.
“First Nations Income Tax Act Exemptions & Corporate Entities”, presented at First Nations and Taxation: A Pragmatic Approach conference hosted by Pacific Business & Law Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, February 16th & 17th, 2017.
“First Nations Dealing with the Real Estate/Commercial Lands Market” presented and moderated a panel discussion at 2nd Annual Agassiz Harrison First Nations Business Forum hosted by Sqewqel Development Corporation & Sto: Lo Nation, Harrison Hot Springs, British Columbia, October 25 & 26, 2016.
“Designation and Project Approval”, presented at Real Estate Development on First Nations Land conference hosted by Pacific Business & Law Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, September 20-21, 2016.
“Legal Update for First Nations Governments and their Directors” presented at First Nations Band Administration Conference hosted by Aboriginal Finance Officers Association, Parksville, British Columbia, June 15-17, 2016.
“Solicitor’s Practice: Real Estate” presented at Aboriginal Lawyers Forum 5th Annual Retreat hosted by The Canadian Bar Association, Parksville, British Columbia, April 29-30, 2016.
Featured in Kerry Banks, “The High Demand for Aboriginal Lawyers” (October 27, 2015) BC Business Magazine.
“Case Study: The Jericho and Other Lands Agreement” co-presented at Aboriginal Law 2015: Current Issues hosted by Pacific Business & Law Institute, Vancouver, British Columbia, May 26-27, 2015.
“Business Decisions: Roles/Responsibilities of a First Nation & It’s Boards of Directors” presented at AFOA BC Winter Conference, hosted by Aboriginal Finance Officers Association, Vancouver, British Columbia, December 3-5, 2014.
Featured in Richard Foot, “An Economic Transformation – Legal Report: Aboriginal Law” (April 2014) Canadian Lawyer Magazine.
“Corporate Governance: Duties of First Nations and Their Directors”, presented at the 2nd Mini LLB for Aboriginal Leadership Course, hosted by Federated Press, March 3-4, 2014.