Of Counsel

B.Sc., M.E.S., LL.B., LL.M


John Donihee is one of Canada’s foremost experts in environmental, regulatory, administrative and Aboriginal law in Canada’s north. John’s particular focus is on environmental approvals for resource development, land claims implementation and modern treaties in Northwest Territories and Nunavut. He has extensive experience in and land and water regulation, environmental impact assessment, and wildlife management and land use planning law.


John is counsel to administrative tribunals in the Northwest Territories responsible for land and water management and environmental impact assessment. He represents the Government of Nunavut as well as Inuit organizations and mining companies in regulatory proceedings and matters relating to land claims implementation. John has extensive experience in wildlife management and law, environmental impact assessment, and land and water regulation. John represents clients at all levels of court in the Northwest Territories. Notably, John appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of a Northwest Territories First Nation in Beckman v. Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation. 


Rankings and Awards

In June 2014, John received the Government of the Northwest Territories Premier’s Award for Collaboration. This award recognized John’s outstanding contribution to government goals and the public interest through his participation in a working group of government and First Nations representatives to draft the new Northwest Territories Wildlife Act, enacted in November 2013. 


Prior Environmental Experience

John was formerly a Research Associate at the Canadian Institute of Resources Law and an Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Environmental Design at the University of Calgary. Prior to becoming a lawyer, John was the Director of Environmental Planning & Assessment at the Northwest Territories Department of Renewable Resources. He was also a habitat management and consulting biologist. 



  • Northern governments 

  • Northern environmental boards and tribunals 

  • Northern natural resource companies 

  • Northern mining and exploration companies 

  • Inuit, Inuvialuit and First Nation communities and organizationsEducationCalled to the bars of Alberta (1989), Northwest Territories (1989), Nunavut (1999) LL.M., Natural Resources Law, University of Calgary (2002)LL.B., Dalhousie University (1988)M.E.S., Ecological Land Management, York University (1977)B.Sc. (Hons.), Biology, Carleton University (1975)



  • Called to the bars of Alberta (1989), Northwest Territories (1989), Nunavut (1999) 

  •  LL.M., Natural Resources Law, University of Calgary (2002)

  • LL.B., Dalhousie University (1988)

  • M.E.S., Ecological Land Management, York University (1977)

  • B.Sc. (Hons.), Biology, Carleton University (1975)