Located within the traditional unceded territory of the syilx people, Westbank First Nation is a progressive and prosperous self-governing First Nation. The Okanagan Valley truly has it all, including a great climate, stunning scenery, world-class ski resorts, golf courses, wineries and beaches.
Westbank First Nation values diversity and we are committed to creating a healthy, strong and vibrant community through programs and services that promote physical, mental, emotional and spiritual well-being and healing. Come join our team and become part of an innovative and rewarding place to work.
The General Counsel is head of Westbank First Nation (WFN)’s Legal Department and is responsible for identifying, analyzing, prioritizing, treating, and monitoring legal risks—and other risks with legal components—across the WFN Government, including but not limited to, Government Departments, boards, societies, the elected Chief and Council, and other persons and entities essential to the governance of the Nation.
The General Counsel reports directly to the Council Secretariat, and liaises with the Chief on a regular basis, and is a critical member of the WFN senior management team and works in collaboration with all Department Heads (Directors), to identify and more effectively manage the overlaps and gaps between WFN’s operations and legal obligations.
General counsel is responsible to provide timely information, advice, and recommendations to the DOO, Directors, Chief and Council and other WFN entities to ensure compliance with WFN’s Constitution, laws, policies, as well as the laws of other jurisdictions, notably, Canada and British Columbia.
The General Council is also responsible to consider other risks that the WFN Government faces which have legal component/s, for example, employee mis/conduct, fraud/financial crime, and legal risks arising from daily operations ranging from contractual to intellectual and real property disputes.
Other responsibilities include the provision of law and policy drafting, preparation and vetting of contracts, assistance with procurement, risk and liability assessments, overseeing and/or working with external legal counsel, and the provision of sound legal research and advice for the benefit of WFN’s government operations, initiatives, and opportunities.
Most importantly, the General Counsel must practice absolute discretion.
- Membership in good standing with the Law Society of British Columbia
- Indigenous Intercultural Competency Training
- Trauma Informed Lawyering Training
- Minimum of 8 years’ experience in a legal, local government or corporate setting
- Good working knowledge of local government
- High-level awareness of Indigenous Law and First Nation Self-governance
- Knowledge of public administration and structures of various levels of government
- Knowledge of Indigenous, Administrative, Real Estate and Corporate law
- Law drafting capacity
- Criminal Record Check with results acceptable to WFN
- Maintains a high level of confidentiality and uses discretion on all matters relating to the affairs of the Westbank First Nation
- Act as the principal lawyer and the head of the WFN’s legal department
- Working in tandem with the Council Secretariat and Directors, monitor and ensure that WFN Chief and Council and Government departments are following WFN’s Constitution, laws, policies, as well as other laws of other jurisdictions, notably, Canada and British Columbia
- Attend meetings related to legal matters as directed by the Council Secretariat
- Provide relevant, accurate, and on-point legal advice and recommendations to the Council Secretariat, DOO, Department heads/, Directors, Chief and Council—and occasionally WFN Membership-on crucial decisions
- Establishes WFN’s long-term legislative agenda and ensures it is implemented
- Receive and address legal requests and other issues with a legal component that come from the DOO, Directors, Chief and Council, boards, societies, and occasionally WFN Membership-on various issues. Engage external counsel as required to meet demand
- Oversee the assigned work and performance of legal department employees and contracted external counsel
- Engage with legal practice groups
- Create various contracts and develop contractor agreements
- Oversee the preparation and development of WFN laws as directed by the Council Secretariat
- Conduct research and analysis into proposed laws and regulations that may be drafted by WFN or imposed by other jurisdictions and offer legal opinions, options and recommendations to counteract any issues that may arise
- Engage with insurance and litigation claims on behalf of WFN
- Negotiate with federal and provincial governments regarding self-government implementation initiatives
- Explain and/or interpret WFN laws, procedures, and policies to the Council Secretariat, WFN staff, the WFN membership, and Chief and Council as required
- Review draft policies prepared by WFN staff to ensure consistency with legislation, format and legal authority/approval requirements
- Support the maintenance of WFN Laws and the Registry of Laws, and makes public legal documents available to the Membership or others as required
- Review employment, contractor and other agreements as directed by the Council Secretariat
- Act as a Commissioner for taking oaths and affidavits on behalf of WFN government
- Perform other duties and responsibilities as necessary in the performance of the position, and as assigned by the Council Secretariat
- Maintain confidentiality on all matters relating to the affairs of WFN
- Perform all duties and responsibilities in accordance with WFN policies, standards and procedures, and as directed by the Council Secretariat.
- Attend at WFN membership meetings as required to provide related information and advice to Chief and Council, the Council Secretariat and WFN Members
- Ability to take on an Articled Student
- Excellent written and verbal communications skills
- Ability to work constructively and respectfully with departmental staff
- Ability to work flexible hours, including occasional evenings
- Strong understanding of Indigenous history, culture and community
- Understanding of First Nation Self-Government, WFN’s Constitution, and its laws
- Ability to establish and maintain strong working relationships with policy and administrative bodies.
The minimum salary for this position is $113,000.
To learn more about Westbank First Nation please visit our website at https://www.wfn.ca
All applications must be submitted through our Employment Opportunities page https://recruiting.ultipro.ca. Ensure you attach your cover letter and resume. Incomplete or late submissions will not be accepted.
This opportunity will close at midnight on Sunday, June 18, 2023.
While we recognize the value of diversity in the workplace and welcome applications from people of all backgrounds, preference will be provided to qualified WFN Members & Indigenous applicants.