1 Board | West Coast Environmental Law



West Coast Environmental Law is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  Board members are appointed at our Annual General Meeting each September.  West Coast's current board members are:

Steven DeRoy
Director, The Firelight Group
On board since September 2015
Association and EDRF Board

Steve’s traditional name is Waterdrum Man and he is active in sun dance and other indigenous ceremonies. He is Anishinabe/Saulteaux and from the Ebb and Flow First Nation in Manitoba. Steve is also a founding director of the Firelight Group, a research group dedicated to providing community-based research and technical support through high-quality, evidence-based research that is respected by communities, as well as government and industry.

Since 1998, Steve has worked as an award-winning cartographer and geographic information systems (GIS) specialist with indigenous groups across the country and internationally. In more recent years, he provides project management, advisory and senior research support, particularly for cultural impact assessments for large-scale environmental assessments and regulatory processes. He developed a direct-to-digital mapping method for documenting indigenous land use and occupancy values using Google Earth. He is also actively involved with training local and indigenous participants with mapping and GIS technologies. Steve has a Masters of Science in Geographic Information Science from UCL in London. He is based in North Vancouver with his wife and two children.

Rachel Holt
Principal, Veridian Ecological Consulting
On board since September 2016
Research Foundation Board

Rachel Holt is Principal of Veridian Ecological Consulting, an independent company based in Nelson, British Columbia. Originating from the UK, her graduate studies and research in British Columbia created her passion for the BC landscape and its incredible biodiversity. Rachel is trained in the science of conservation biology and land management, and accomplished in the art of applying science in the land and resource management context. Areas of expertise include technical analysis of environmental conditions and trends, working with technical and negotiation teams to solve large and small scale conservation challenges, presenting and explaining complex issues to technical and lay audiences, and scientific development of management frameworks.

Rachel has recently been Vice Chair of BC’s independent watchdog on forest practices – the BC Forest Practices Board – as well as the board of the Columbia Mountains Institute of Applied Ecology. Rachel volunteers on the Conservation Committee for the West Kootenay EcoSociety.

Tania Lo
Principal, TL Consulting
On board since September 2016
Association and Research Foundation Boards

Tania works as a CFO for hire, helping emerging companies streamline their business processes and working with them to build and refine their business models. She currently works with Tandem Accounting Group, QCdocs, Vancouver Bike Share, Alinker Inventions, Pique Ventures and the Startup and Innovation School at Tamwood International. Her personal projects include being the co-publisher of Momentum Mag – smart living by bike, and the co-founder of the Electric Bike Library. A mother of two young kids, she fondly remembers that time she rode her bicycle 16,000 km from Bolivia to the Arctic Circle. To watch the documentary, visit longroadnorth.com.

Lisa Matthaus
Provincial Lead, Organizing for Change
On board since September 2010
Research Foundation Board

Lisa joined OFC in April 2009.  Prior to this she was with Sierra Club BC for more than ten years, starting as a Forest Policy Analyst and ultimately becoming Campaigns Director overseeing the strategic development and implementation of all conservation campaigns.  She has played lead roles in several high profile BC campaigns including forest policy reforms, negotiating Forest Stewardship Council standards for BC and climate initiatives such as BC’s ground-breaking carbon tax.  She was also one of the primary leaders on the Great Bear Rainforest campaign for which she received a Wilburforce Foundation award for Outstanding Conservation Leadership (2006).  She gained extensive experience with media and government in these roles and earned a strong reputation for constructive collaboration with her ENGO allies.

Lisa has a Masters degree in Environmental and Resource Economics from University College London (London, UK, 1995) and an undergraduate degree in commerce/finance (McGill).  She spent seven years working as an investment banking credit analyst in Toronto and London before joining SCBC in 1998.  She was raised in a resource-based community in coastal BC and now lives in Victoria.

June McCue
On board since December 2015
Research Foundation Board

June McCue is Ned'u'ten from Lake Babine in northern British Columbia.  She holds three degrees: a Bachelor of Arts, a Bachelor of Laws and a Master of Laws. June brings her skills and experiences in law and education to assist Indigenous Peoples and non-profit organizations to advance Indigenous Peoples, cultural and environmental interests.  From 1999 to 2005, she was the founding Chair of Environmental - Aboriginal Guardianship through Law and Education (EAGLE). She is currently a non-practising lawyer interested in research and advocacy for Indigenous legal orders, environmental justice and constitutional reform. She is also a certified yoga instructor (500h-YTT).

Lorene Oikawa
President, Greater Vancouver Japanese Canadian Citizens’ Association (GVJCCA)
On Board since September 2008
Research Foundation Board

In addition to her work for the GVJCCA, Lorene is an Assistant Supervisor with the provincial government. She also served three terms (2005-2014) as an Executive Vice President for the BC Government and Service Employees’ Union (BCGEU). Lorene is an activist who speaks and writes on a range of topics including women in leadership, human rights, migrant workers, food security, and social media. She is also a director on the board of the Canadian Labour International Film Festival (CLiFF), and hosts screenings in BC.

Her education includes a BA (UBC) and she is a strong advocate of life-long learning. She was part of a multi-union design team that created a climate change workshop for union educators across Canada.

Lorene is a fourth generation British Columbian whose family migrated from Japan in the 1800’s and 1906. Her family is connected to environmental concerns including the early work of her Uncle Buck (T. Buck Suzuki) to protect fish habitat.

Richard Overstall
Barrister & Solicitor, Buri, Overstall, Smithers
On board from September 2009
Research Foundation Board
Richard Overstall practices in Smithers, British Columbia with a particular interest in land-use, environmental and aboriginal law.
He received an undergraduate degree in geology and worked for a decade as a mineral exploration geologist in Ireland and western Canada.  In the mid-1980s, Richard began work with the Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en peoples, including coordination of the scientific evidence in the Delgamuukw trial, and advice on the subsequent settlement and treaty negotiations, particularly in the areas of forest and land use.  He also helped design a restorative justice program based on indigenous law and practices, as well as education and training programs in fisheries, wildlife surveys and forest ecology.
Richard obtained his law degree from the University of Victoria in 2000.  His general practice has included litigation and policy advice on pesticide judicial reviews, contaminated sites, aboriginal fishing rights, land-use plans, forest-use practices, and establishing a public-private land-use plan monitoring trust. He has published peer-reviewed articles on the use and misuse of DNA evidence in criminal trials, the use of the trust as a legal device to reconcile indigenous and western legal orders, and the concept of property in indigenous law as it relates to land and to so-called cultural property.  He is currently investigating the close similarity between the legal orders extant in Northwest Europe in the first millennium AD and those on the Northwest Coast of America in the second millennium AD.

Josh Paterson
Executive Director, BC Civil Liberties Association
On board since September 2016
Association Board

Josh Paterson is a lawyer and has been the the Executive Director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) since January 2013. Josh’s legal career has focused on protecting some of the most marginalized people in Canada from human rights violations, civil liberties restrictions, discrimination and environmental injustice.

Prior to his work at the BCCLA, Josh was the Aboriginal and Natural Resources Lawyer at West Coast Environmental Law, working on issues related to Indigenous law, tar sands pipelines and tankers, and responsible hydroelectric power development. In 2012, his legal work on oil pipelines and tankers landed him on the cover of LEXPERT magazine, one of Canada’s leading legal publications.

Josh got his start acting as the Director of the Freedom of Expression, Equality and Dignity Project at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association in Toronto. After moving to Vancouver, he joined a busy union-side labour and human rights practice, and spent much of his time working on one of the largest racial discrimination cases in BC history. Josh is an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law. He holds law and master’s degrees from the University of Toronto, and clerked at Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice.

Christine Scotnicki
On board since September 2012
Research Foundation Board

Christine Scotnicki grew up in Edmonton and obtained her BA from the University of Alberta in 1983.  She has practiced law in the interests of Indigenous peoples since attending the University of Victoria law school and being called to the bar in 1989.  She resides in Victoria, B.C.  After several years working with a downtown Vancouver firm providing general legal services primarily to Bands, Tribal Councils, and several national Aboriginal organizations, Christine began working  with the-then Gitksan & Wet’suwet’en Tribal Council in early 1991.

She became in-house counsel with the Gitxsan Chiefs in November, 1994 and was involved with negotiations at the provincial and federal level as the Chiefs implemented several governance initiatives, notably for community-based self-government, health services, and child welfare.  She advised the Chiefs in treaty negotiations in the post-Delgamuukw era. 

From 1994 until 1997, Christine practiced law part- time while partnering with 2 other women to establish a neighbourhood garden centre on Vancouver’s east side.  Nearly 20 years (and several changes of ownership) later, Figaro’s Garden continues to serve the Commercial Drive neighbourhood.

Since late 2003, Christine has worked for the Gitksan Watershed Authorities and Skeena Fisheries Commission.  GWA is the Gitxsan fisheries program and SFC acts on behalf of  its member Nations the Gitxsan, Gitanyow, Wet’suwet’en, Lake Babine, and Tsimshian First Nations for fisheries and other natural resource issues along the Skeena River.  With increasing development pressures on the territories of the SFC First Nations, her work has increasingly involved issues at the intersection of Aboriginal and environmental law.

Kris Statnyk
Associate, Mandell Pinder
On board since September 2016
Research Foundation Board

Kris is Gwich’in, of the Wolf Clan, from the Vuntut Gwitchin First Nation in Old Crow, Yukon. Kris enjoys a full Aboriginal law practice at Mandell Pinder after being called to the BC Bar in 2014.

Kris assists First Nations in advancing their Aboriginal title, rights and interest whether in the courts, through consultations and negotiations, or on the ground. His practice has evolved to include a wide range of subject matters such as fisheries management, marine use planning, protection of sacred sites, navigating regulatory processes, and governance building. Throughout his work Kris has developed a specialized practice to assist clients with developing, articulating, implementing and enforcing their own Indigenous legal traditions. As a guiding tenet of his practice Kris advocates for the respectful engagement with Indigenous law as law by governments, industry and Canadians.

Tracy Wachmann
Public Interest Coordinator, UBC Faculty of Law
On board since September 2010
Association and EDRF Society Boards

Tracy Wachmann is the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law’s first Public Interest Coordinator and works closely with UBC Law students, faculty members and the broader public interest community to support the needs of students who wish to pursue a public interest legal career.

Tracy obtained her B.A. in communications from Simon Fraser University in 1990, specializing in environmental risk perception.  After realizing that she could affect social change more readily through the field of law, Tracy obtained her LL.B. from U.B.C. in 1994.  Following a clerkship with the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Tracy articled with a Vancouver litigation boutique firm, where she subsequently practiced general civil litigation and administrative law.  In 2001, Tracy chose to become a sole practitioner with a focus on administrative law.  Tracy has a background in public interest environmental law in private practice, in association with public interest environmental law organizations and as a consultant with the Provincial Ministry of the Environment.  She has also worked very closely with grassroots public interest community groups in such diverse areas as land use planning and community support for families.