A lawyer at Woodward and Company, Sonya’s litigates on behalf of First Nations in their pursuit of self-governance and self-determination. Backed by more than 15 years of experience in large scale litigation and arbitration, she seeks to assist her clients in advancing their interests as they identify and define them.
Sonya graduated as the silver medalist from the University of Alberta Faculty of Law in 2002. By 2004, she had clerked at the Alberta Court of Appeal and Queen’s Bench and completed a master’s degree in law at Oxford University (with Distinction). She also holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts in political science from the University of Alberta.
Sonya was first called to the bar in Alberta in 2003 and was subsequently called to the British Columbia Bar in 2014. Before eventually coming to Woodward and Company in 2015, she practised for 10 years at a large Calgary law firm.
Sonya has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Courts, all levels of Court in Alberta, and the British Columbia Supreme Court. Throughout the span of her legal career, Sonya has acted as legal counsel on several important cases pertaining to First Nations communities, including West Moberly First Nations v British Columbia, 2018 BCSC 1835 (Site C injunction application), and Williams Lake Indian Band v Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development), 2018 SCC 4 (intervention at the Supreme Court of Canada). She represented the Tsilhqot’in National Government through three levels of court in opposing mining development within Tsilhqot’in territory. Sonya acts on Aboriginal title cases, including on behalf of the plaintiffs in the Cowichan Nation litigation which has been in trial since September 2019. She is a regular speaker at conferences on topics in Aboriginal litigation.
Selected Cases, Presentations & Publications
Cowichan Tribes et al v Canada (Attorney General), 2020 BCSC 949, 2019 BCSC 1608, 2018 BCSC 647, 2016 BCSC 1660, 2016 BCSC 1420
West Moberly First Nations v British Columbia 2018 BCSC 1835 (Site C injunction application)
Williams Lake Indian Band v Canada (Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development), 2018 SCC 4
Taseko Mines Limited v Canada (Minister of the Environment), 2019 FCA 319, 2019 FCA 320, leave to appeal to SCC denied
Clyde River (Hamlet) v Petroleum Geo-Services Inc, 2017 SCC 40
Dene Tha’ First Nation v. British Columbia (Minister of Energy and Mines), 2013 BCSC 977
Yugraneft Corp. v. Rexx Management Corp., 2010 SCC 19
Knox v. Conservative Party of Canada, 2007 ABCA 295
“Recent Judicial Developments of Interest to Energy Lawyers”, (with M. Donaldson and R. Wood), (2014) Alta.L.Rev. 52:2 417.
“Exclusion Clauses post-Tercon”, Annual Review of Civil Litigation 2013, Archibald & Echlin, eds. (Toronto: Carswell, 2013), 305.
“Canada” Chapter (with D. Haigh Q.C., L. Novinger Grant, and R. Rojas) in International Arbitration Review, 1st, 2d and 3d editions, James H. Carter, ed. (London (U.K.): Law Business Research Ltd., 2010, 2011, and 2012).
Assistant: Sarah McMillan
Member, Law Society of Alberta (2003)
Member, Law Society of British Columbia (2014)
Member, Law Society of Yukon (2016)
The Winter Williams Prize for best performance in Restitution, 2004 (Oxford)
The George Bligh O’Connor Silver Medal for the second highest standing in work prescribed for the LL.B., 2002 (UAlberta)
The Morrow Book Prize in Jurisprudence, 2002 (UAlberta)
First prize, William Morrow Essay Contest, for a paper on the legal definition of genocide, 2002 (Alta.L.Rev.)
Member, Canadian Bar Association of B.C. (2015)
Past-Member, Canadian Bar Association of Alberta (2004-2014)