Project Law Blog


Lawson Lundell is an experienced project development team that is actively involved from planning through development, permitting, operations, expansion and reclamation and closure of projects. We understand that obtaining project approvals on budget and on schedule is key to project success. We also understand that promises, commitments and conditions relating to an approved project must be clearly defined, technically achievable and practical from an operational perspective, while also fulfilling socioeconomic and environmental stewardship responsibilities. We prioritize these objectives in representing our clients at all phases of the project development cycle.

When developing a major project, in addition to our expertise with respect to transactional matters, our clients call on our expertise in the following areas:

  • project approval/ environmental assessment and permitting
  • regulatory hearings and legal challenges
  • aboriginal consultation and impact benefits agreements
  • construction and procurement
  • health and safety, employment and business immigration
  • reclamation and closure

Further details with respect to our services in these areas are set out below.

Project Approval – Environmental Assessment and Permitting

Our environmental lawyers work closely with our clients’ project development teams (including where appropriate external environmental consultants and project engineers) to provide practical advice with respect to all aspects of project development, including:

  • development and execution of strategic project approval and permitting plans;
  • navigation of territorial, provincial and federal environmental assessment processes (including advising on potential environmental assessment “triggers”, consulting on preparation and evaluation of project environmental impact assessments and providing written and oral representation before governmental authorities and tribunals);
  • identification of all required regulatory and licensing requirements;
  • consultation with regulatory bodies, government agencies, First Nations and the public;
  • evaluation of the potential impact of provincial, territorial and federal environmental legislation;
  • planning relating to care and maintenance, as well as closure and reclamation; and
  • ongoing assessment of risk of legal project challenges (including appeals, judicial review applications and injunctions) by non-governmental organizations and other groups, and providing advice which mitigates this risk.

Consultation and Agreements with Aboriginal Groups

  • We provide advice and assistance to clients in identifying potential “triggers” for aboriginal consultation, preparing aboriginal consultation strategies, negotiating consultation agreements, liaising with the provincial and federal Crown in order to support the discharge of Crown consultation obligations, complying with the consultation processes required by regulators and the courts in connection with land and resource use and the negotiation and settlement of aboriginal impact benefits agreements and other matters which may affect the interests and Constitutional rights of Aboriginal groups.
  • We also have extensive experience in the resolution of disputes, particularly in the context of consultation requirements. We have extensive experience representing natural resource and energy companies in the defense of challenges brought by aboriginal groups before regulatory tribunals and courts at all levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Construction and Procurement

We provide advice and assistance to clients on all aspects of construction and procurement matters. Our experience includes advising with respect to:

  • preparation of various procurement documents such as RFQs and RFPs specifically tailored to meet the requirements of both applicable laws and the provisions of relevant Aboriginal consultation agreements and benefits agreements;
  • preliminary development work such as drilling contracts, services contracts and road and camp construction;
  • permanent infrastructure construction for fuel tank farms, airstrips, etc.;
  • complex sea lift and fuel supply arrangements for remote projects including northern projects with critical timing logistics to meet ice-free shipping windows;
  • EPC and EPCM contracts; and
  • preparation of project specific, standard form “suites” of documents for use by procurement managers in all of their purchasing activities from construction through ongoing operations.

Health and Safety, Employment and Business Immigration

  • advising on labour relations matters.
  • identifying applicable health and safety requirements;
  • obtaining work permits.

Care and Maintenance/ Closure and Reclamation

  • We advise clients on legal obligations and practical considerations relating to the care and maintenance and closure phases. This includes specialized advice relating to financial assurances and reclamation bonding and managing liability for historic activities.