Staff

Chief Commissioners

The Treaty Commission's impartiality is reflected in its composition and the way it makes decisions. Commissioners do not represent the Principals that appoint them, but instead act independently. Decisions require the support of one appointee of each of the Principals.

The Chief Commissioner is appointed to a three-year term by agreement of the Principals. The First Nations Summit elects two Commissioners and the federal and provincial governments appoint one each. In the absence of a Chief Commissioner, the four remaining Commissioners unanimously agree to appoint one of them to act as Chief Commissioner.

Click the Chief Commissioner’s image to read their bio.

Commissioners

The Treaty Commission's impartiality is reflected in its composition and the way it makes decisions. Commissioners do not represent the Principals that appoint them, but instead act independently. Decisions require the support of one appointee of each of the Principals.

The First Nations Summit elects two Commissioners and the federal and provincial governments appoint one each. The four part-time Commissioners serve two-year terms. The Chief Commissioner is appointed to a three-year term by agreement of thePrincipals. In the absence of a Chief Commissioner, the four remaining Commissioners unanimously agree to appoint one of them to act as Chief Commissioner.

Click the Commissioner’s image to read their bio.

Staff

Treaty Commission staff come from a wide range of backgrounds and specialize in a number of areas. Click on the photos below to learn more about our team.

Dan Gill
Director of Funding

Dan joined the Treaty Commission in 2002. He is the Director of Funding and manages the negotiation support funding that enables First Nations to participate in the BC treaty negotiations process. He monitors compliance with the funding agreements, including annual financial reporting. Dan has an undergraduate economics degree and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of British Columbia. As a commercial lender with Toronto Dominion bank, he worked in Vancouver, Victoria and Toronto. Dan has also worked for Nl'aka'pamux and Secwepemc First Nations in the southern Interior of BC, as controller and later band manager.

Sashia Leung
Associate Director of Process

Sashia joined the Treaty Commission in September 2012. In her role, she facilitates treaty negotiations, manages and orangizes forums, and leads special projects including: First Nations governance initiatives, ratification processes, communications, community engagement, and capacity-development. She also assists with complex facilitation to support nation-to-nation engagement on First Nations overlap and shared territory discussions. Sashia has worked at the international level for the past four years at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Rights, supporting the UNPFII Expert Members and the Treaty Commission. Sashia has over 10 years experience working with Indigenous communities in BC and is proud to be both Wet'suwet'en and Chinese from Wiset (Moricetown), BC.

She holds a BA in political science with a concentration on First Nations studies from the University of British Columbia. Sashia is a 2017 alumni of the Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference, and serves on the Executive Board for the Nicola Valley Institute of Technology and the Big Brothers Greater Vancouver Charity Board.

Mark Smith
General Counsel & Director of Process

Mark joined the Treaty Commission in 2001. He manages the advisors and is directly responsible for process and communications initiatives. Mark provides legal, political, and strategic policy advice on a wide-range of treaty-related and Aboriginal rights issues.

Mark leads complex facilitations on overlapping and shared territory discussions and is involved in dispute resolution processes. He works directly with First Nations to find Nation-led resolutions, and consults on governance-related matters. Mark assisted the Treaty Commission with its submission to the United Nations, which was endorsed in Final Report of the 15th session of the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues.

A graduate from the University of Alberta Law School, Mark was called to Alberta Bar, and is currently a member of the Law Society in British Columbia. Mark has focused his career on Aboriginal law and First Nations issues. Mark previously was a sole-practitioner, and has practiced Aboriginal and environmental law with the firm of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP. He is completing a Master of Laws at the University of British Columbia focusing on First Nations legal issues. 

Tenisha Williams
Office Coordinator

Tenisha joined the BC Treaty Commission in 2011. Prior to her employment at the Treaty Commission she worked for the Public Service Commission of Nova Scotia, Capital District Health Authority and ExxonMobil Canada in administration, human resources, and special projects. In 2007 Tenisha graduated from Eastern College with an advanced human resources management diploma excelling in compensation, benefits management and employee relations. In 2010 she became a Chartered Professional in Human Resources (CPHR) joining the Canadian Council of Human Resources Associations.

Odette Wilson
Communications Advisor

Odette joined the Treaty Commission in February 2015. She is currently working on an MA in intercultural communication from Royal Roads University, and holds a BA in sociology and Indigenous studies from the University of Victoria. Odette is chair of Urban Ink Production's board of directors, past chair and current board member of Full Circle: First Nations Performance, and a 2014 alumni of the Province of BC's Aboriginal Youth Internship Program (AYIP). Odette is Coast Salish from Musqueam, Kwakwaka'wakw from Mamalilikulla, and Irish.

Nancy Wong
Funding

Nancy Wong joined the Treaty Commission in July 2003 as the Funding Analyst. Nancy is a member of the Certified General Accountants. Previously she held positions in the retail, private, and municipal government sectors.

Celeste Haldane
Chief Commissioner

Celeste Haldane was appointed Chief Commissioner in April 2017. Prior to this, she served as an elected Commissioner for three two-year terms commencing in 2011. 

Celeste is a practising lawyer and holds an LL.M. in Constitutional Law from Osgoode Hall Law School [York University], and an LL.B. and B.A. both from the University of British Columbia. In 2015 she began her Doctorate at UBC in Anthropology & Law.

The Provincial Government appointed her to serve on the UBC Board of Governors and the Legal Services Society. Celeste is the first Indigenous chair of the Legal Services Society. She is a director of Brain Canada and the Hamber Foundation. Celeste is an active member of the Canadian Bar Association, and a member and director of the Indigenous Bar Association. She is a 2015 alumni of the Governor General’s Canadian Leadership Conference.

Celeste is a member of the Sparrow family from Musqueam and is Tsimshian through Metlakatla. She previously served as the Chair of the Musqueam Land Code Committee, a member of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee, the Housing & Capital Committee, and the Matrimonial Real Property Committee. Celeste is the proud mother of three and grandmother of two.

Jerry Lampert
Commissioner

Jerry Lampert was first appointed in December 2007 by the Government of Canada. His current term runs to March 2018, marking more than ten years as a Commissioner.

Lampert served for 15 years as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Council of British Columbia, where he was a vocal advocate for developing better business relationships with First Nations in British Columbia.

Prior to joining the Business Council, Lampert was a principal in a government relations/public affairs consulting firm offering strategic and tactical advice to private sector corporations in their dealings with governments. He has held many key political organization and advisory positions, including serving as Chief of Staff to two Premiers of British Columbia and managing two successful provincial election campaigns in British Columbia.

Tom Happynook
Commissioner

Tom Happynook was appointed Commissioner in February 2015 by the Province of British Columbia, and is currently serving a second two-year term. He is from Huu-ay-aht First Nations and is the Head Hereditary Whaling Chief.

Huu-ay-aht is one of five communities included within Maa-nulth First Nations, which has been implementing its modern-day comprehensive treaty since April 1, 2011. Tom played a large role in the negotiation and implementation of Huu-ay-aht’s treaty. He was elevated to Chief Treaty Negotiator with the mandate to bring the Huu-ay-aht Final Agreement to conclusion in 2007. He then took on the role of Treaty Implementation Team Leader from 2009 to 2011 to ensure the Nation had a smooth transition to self-governance.

Tom was a firefighter for sixteen years, retiring in 1998 as a Deputy Platoon Chief [Captain]. He is married to Kathy Happynook, and together they have three children and four grandchildren.

Francis Frank
Commissioner

Francis Frank was elected Commissioner by the First Nations Summit for a second two-year term beginning in March 2017. He is from Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations on the west coast of Vancouver Island and is a trained social worker with a BSW from the University of Victoria.

Prior to joining the Treaty Commission, Francis served his Nation in a variety of roles, including as Chief Councilor for fourteen years, negotiator for ten years, and band manager for six years.

He has extensive experience in negotiations, and was directly involved in the negotiation of the first interim measures agreement, as well as the first incremental treaty agreement in British Columbia, successfully securing land and finances for his nation.

Address

700-1111 Melville Street
Vancouver BC
V6E 3V6
604 482 9200

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