“We must work differently than we have in the past. My experience as a negotiator has taught me that there is always some common ground to be found between opposing parties. And that place, no matter how small, is where you must start from.”
Anita is Associate Counsel at Watson Goepel LLP. Her practice focuses primarily on Indigenous Law, with a portion dedicated to the area of Immigration law. Having worked in the public sector for over 25 years, the last ten as Director General, Treaties and Aboriginal Government Negotiations West, for the former Department of Indigenous & Northern Affairs, Anita brings a wealth of experience and perspective to her Indigenous practice.
Anita assists and advises a variety of clients with matters related to issues of Indigenous self-government, economic development, governance, and engagement, consultation and accommodation. She is an accomplished negotiator, consensus builder and problem solver.
A former Assistant Deputy Chair of the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Anita deals with a variety of immigration matters including hearings before the Immigration and Refugee Board and Federal Court. She has been an adjunct instructor at Queen’s University Law School.
Anita is fluent in French, Italian and Spanish, enjoys classical music and opera, and is a fitness enthusiast.
LLB, University of British Columbia, 1982
B.A., University of British Columbia, 1978
British Columbia , 1985
- Experience drafting First Nations’ community by-laws;
- Administration of band elections, appeals and referenda;
- Administration of trusts, lands, status and membership;
- Overseeing the administration of wills and estates under the Indian Act;
- Led a team of federal negotiators in tripartite negotiations and discussions with BC and First nations , as well as the Yukon and Yukon First Nations;
- Led a federal team of negotiators to the successful conclusion of modern treaties with the Tsawwassen, Maa-Nulth and Tla’amin First Nations;
- Led a federal team of negotiators in consultation and accommodation discussions;
- Acted as the federal representative at a variety of litigation settlement discussions.
- A former Assistant Deputy Chair of the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration and Refugee Board, Anita conducts appeals before the Immigration Appeals Division, and also submits applications and conducts appeals before the federal court judicial review.
- Was successful before the immigration and refugee appeal Board, of a finding by the immigration department that a marriage was a “sham” and was solely for the purposes of securing access to Canada.
Publications and Presentations
- Adjunct Professor, Graduate Program: Immigration and Citizenship Law, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University, Fall 2021.
- Guest Lecturer, Immigration Law, Ashton College, current.
- Author, Why decision in Squamish fishing case was overturned, The Lawyer’s Daily, October 04, 2019.
- Author, Federal Court decision in Squamish fishing case overturned, The Lawyer’s Daily, September 26, 2019.
- Author, Action in tort against third party new legal tool for First Nations, The Lawyers Daily, August 09, 2019.
- Speaker, “The Laws Affecting First Nations,” Asia Pacific Institute Conference, 2009
- Panelist, Canadian Institute National Conference on Administrative Law, Vancouver, June 2006.
- Panelist, “Practice and Procedure before the Immigration Appeal Division of the Immigration & Refugee Board,” Canadian Bar Association Immigration Law National Sub-Section, Banff, Alberta, April 2005.
- Panelist, “Immigration Law Update,” Continuing Legal Education Society of BC, Vancouver, December 2005
Professional and Community Affiliations
- Member, Law Society of British Columbia
- Member, Canadian Bar Association
- Member, Canadian Council of Administrative Tribunals
- Member, British Columbia Council of Administrative Tribunals
- Sponsorship Chair, Finnegan Ball Committee, Vancouver College Parents Association
- Director, Jane Rowan Society, Little Flower Academy, Vancouver (2008-present)
- Volunteer, Access Pro Bono COVID-19 Telephone Response Clinic