Thomas Isaac | Partner, Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP
Thomas Isaac is a nationally recognized authority in the area of Aboriginal law and leads Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP’s National Aboriginal Law Practice. He has extensive cross-Canada experience advising industry, investors, and federal, provincial, territorial and municipal governments/agencies. Mr. Isaac has served as a mediator involving complex multi-jurisdictional Aboriginal-related disputes and has represented industry and government clients before the Supreme Court of Canada, Federal Court of Canada, Ontario Court of Appeal, Ontario Divisional Court, BC Court of Appeal, BC Supreme Court, NWT Supreme Court, Yukon Supreme Court, Yukon Court of Appeal, PEI Supreme Court, National Energy Board, Ontario Energy Board and BC Environmental Appeal Board, among others.
He has published extensively in Aboriginal law, including 14 books and monographs, including the 5th ed. of his text Aboriginal Law, and numerous refereed and non-refereed articles, chapters and commentaries in the area of Aboriginal law. He has been a contributing editor of the Canadian Native Law Reporter since 1991. His published works on Aboriginal law have been cited with approval by Canadian courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal, among others. He has taught Aboriginal, constitutional and business law at a number of universities and colleges across Canada. Mr. Isaac was former Chief Treaty Negotiator for the Government of BC, former Assistant Deputy Minister responsible for establishing Nunavut for the Government of the NWT, and previously served in a senior capacity with the Government of Saskatchewan dealing with Aboriginal issues, all prior to beginning his legal practice.
In 2015 Mr. Isaac was appointed by Canada as the Minister’s Special Representative to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs regarding a Section 35 Métis Rights and Reconciliation Framework and the Supreme Court of Canada’s Decision in Manitoba Métis Federation v. Canada. His report - A Matter of National and Constitutional Import: Section 35 Métis Rights and the Manitoba Métis Federation Decision - was released by Canada in July 2016. Mr. Isaac also served as the Minister’s Special Representative to the Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs and the Premier of the NWT regarding the Southeast Region of the NWT and the Akaitcho Dene and the NWT Metis Nation negotiations. His Report – A Path to Reconciliation – was released by the Governments of Canada and the NWT in March 2017. Mr. Isaac is presently serving as the Minister’s Special Representative for the Minister of Crown- Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs to conduct exploratory discussions regarding the Gottfriedson class action lawsuit against the Government of Canada relating to residential schools’ day students. Mr. Isaac is a member of the law societies of British Columbia, Alberta, NWT, Nunavut and Yukon. He is a former member of the Law Society of New Brunswick. Mr. Isaac holds a B.A. (Hons.) (St. Thomas), M.A. (Dalhousie), LL.B. (New Brunswick), and LL.M. (Saskatchewan).In 2018, Mr. Isaac was recognized as one of the "Top 25 Most Influential" Lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer.