HW Roger Townshend


(416) 981-9454
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Roger Townshend, a founding partner of OKT, practices Aboriginal rights, Constitutional, human rights, and administrative law. He primarily advises on and litigates land claims for First Nations. He has appeared in Court and advised on numerous cases relating to Aboriginal title and other Aboriginal rights and treaty rights, and relating to the duty to consult and accommodate Aboriginal peoples. His court work has also included challenging the legality of municipal by-laws and of environmental assessment decisions, the constitutionality of the Ontario educational funding regime, and the legality of drug testing programs in the workplace.

Roger has appeared in the Courts of Appeal of Ontario, British Columbia, and Newfoundland, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. He has provided commentary on a variety of proposed federal and provincial legislation on behalf of Aboriginal clients. Prior to his legal career, Roger worked in the area of land claims research and negotiations for eight years on behalf of Manitoba First Nations.

Roger has been selected annually by peer review processes for inclusion in directories of leading lawyers including The Best Lawyers in Canada© and the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. Roger is a member of the Ontario bar.

Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory

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  • Roger Townshend (with J. Olthuis), “Is Canada’s Thumb on the Scales: An Analysis of Canada’s Comprehensive and Specific Claims Policies and Suggested Alternatives” in For Seven Generations: An Information Legacy of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples (Ottawa: Libraxus, 1997) (CD-Rom format).
  • Roger Townshend, “First Nations and Municipalities”, in Aboriginal Issues Today (Vancouver: Self Counsel Press, 1997).
  • Roger Townshend, Case Annotation on Gibbs v. Grand Bend (1996), 49 R.P.R. (2d) 159.
  • Roger Townshend (with M.J. Huberman), “New Developments in Drug and Alcohol Law” in What’s New in the Workplace: A Labour Law Update, (Toronto: Law Society of Upper Canada, 1995).
  • Roger Townshend, “Some Highlights of the Interaction of Aboriginal Law and Municipal Law” in Aboriginal Law: Issues that Matter in the 1990s, (Toronto: Canadian Bar Association – Ontario, 1995).
  • Roger Townshend (with J. Olthuis), “The Case for Native Sovereignty”, in M. Charlton & P. Barker, eds., Crosscurrents: Contemporary Political Issues, (Scarborough: Nelson, 1994).
  • Roger Townshend, Submission to the Attorney General of Ontario re: An Act to Revise the Limitations Act (Chairman of committee which prepared submission) (Toronto: Canadian Bar Association – Ontario, 1993).
  • Roger Townshend, “Specific Claims Policy: Too Little Too Late”, in J. Bird & D. Engelstad, eds., Nation to Nation, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the Future of Canada (Toronto: Stoddart/Anansi, 1992).
  • Roger Townshend, “Resorting to Court: Can the Judiciary Deliver Justice for First Nations”, (with Patrick Macklem) in J. Bird & D. Engelstad, eds., Nation to Nation, Aboriginal Sovereignty and the Future of Canada (Toronto: Stoddart/Anansi, 1992).
  • Roger Townshend, “Interlocutory Injunctions in Aboriginal Rights Cases”, [1991] 3 Canadian Native Law Reporter, pp. 1-21.
  • Roger Townshend, “The Silver Creek Surrenders of 1892 and 1898” (1989) 5:2 Native Studies Review 128.
  • Roger Townshend, “Political Change Strategy: A Case Study” (May-June 1988) 11:5 Catalyst 12.
  • Roger Townshend, “We Should Learn From Rules For Kings” (March 1987) 10:4 Catalyst 6.
  • Roger Townshend, “Special News Report” (December 1984) 4:2 Seeds 34.
  • Roger Townshend, “Ten Years to Five Hundred” (poem) (December 1984) 4:2 Seeds 25.
  • Roger Townshend, “A Debt to be Paid: Treaty Land Entitlement in Manitoba” (Winnipeg: Treaty & Aboriginal Rights Research Centre, 1984), 24 pp.
  • Roger Townshend, “A Sketch History of Land Dealings With Indian People of Manitoba” (September 1983) 3:1 Seeds 31.
  • Roger Townshend, Book Review of The National Report of the People’s Food Commission, (September, 1983) 3:1 Seeds 32.
  • Roger Townshend, “Communism and Capitalism: One Spectre with Two Cloaks” (June 1983) 2:4 Seeds 28.
  • Roger Townshend, “Violence, Corporations & Lifestyle” (December 1982) 2:2 Seeds 14.
  • Roger Townshend, “Native Rights: Even The Meagre Terms Have Not Been Fulfilled” (April 19, 1982) 12:8 Mennonite Reporter 10.
  • Roger Townshend, Book Review of Power to Choose: Canada’s Energy Options (March 1982) 4:5 Catalyst 30.
  • Roger Townshend, “Roseau Arena Built Without Tax Money”, Red River Valley Echo, March 17, 1982, p. 1.
  • Roger Townshend, “Roseau Hosts British Lord”, Red River Valley Echo, October 28, 1981, p. 1.
  • Roger Townshend, Book Review of We are Métis (June 1981) 4:2 Catalyst 27.
  • Roger Townshend, “Partners in Justice” (January 1981) 1:2 Seeds 4.
  • Roger Townshend, “Uncontrolled Northern Development Menaces Native Self-Determination” (April 1980) 3:1 Catalyst 15.
  • Roger Townshend, “See-Saw in the Nation’s Capital”, Calvinist Contact, January 25, 1980.