Valerie is a recognized infrastructure project lawyer, with specific expertise in managing large, complicated, multi-party projects often with novel issues. She has led some of Canada’s most innovative, complex power projects spanning over several years on behalf of the range of project participants, including Indigenous groups, project proponents, lenders, investors, contractors and governmental authorities. One of Valerie’s core strengths is her ability to become a key member of a project team, managing relationships among numerous and often disparate project participants and proposing creative solutions to navigate through problematic project issues. A key part of her practice is working on infrastructure projects that involve Indigenous interests and parties.
Valerie’s recent experience notably includes (i) acting for numerous years as lead project counsel to Wataynikaneyap Power, a partnership of 24 First Nations and Fortis, on all matters relating to the development and financing of the C$1.9 billion Wataynikaneyap Transmission Project in northwestern Ontario and (ii) working with the Honorable Frank Iacobucci in advising the Government of Canada in its re-initiated consultation process with Indigenous groups on the proposed Trans Mountain Pipeline Expansion Project.
Valerie has been at the forefront of the development and financing of renewable energy projects across Canada. She worked on some of the earliest and most innovative renewable projects, including Erie Shores Wind Farm, Grand Renewables Solar, Henvey Inlet Wind Farm, and PPAs in connection with Emera’s proposed Atlantic Link Project.
In her work involving Indigenous parties, Valerie is known to have an ability to understand different parties’ perspectives and motivators and to build commonalities on complex and nuanced matters. She has been a trusted advisor to Indigenous and non-Indigenous project participants alike.
Valerie’s work as lead project counsel on the Wataynikaneyap Power Transmission Project commenced in 2013 and is ongoing. Her contribution includes: negotiating the documentation when (i) Fortis joined the partnership in 2015 and (ii) for the two most recent First Nations (Mishkeegogamang and Ojibway Nation of Saugeen) to join the partnership; negotiating the EPC Contract with Valard Construction; working with Canada on numerous Section 28(2) permits under the Indian Act; negotiating the C$1.6 billion funding agreement with Canada and Ontario; negotiating arrangements with and ensuring compliance with the duty to consult with the Métis and with neighboring First Nations not part of the project; and acting as lead counsel on the complex debt financing comprising a C$1.34 billion loan from the Ontario government and a C$680 million loan from a syndicate of five Canadian Schedule I banks.
Valerie has held various industry appointments in the power sector including: current board member of the Canadian Wind Energy Association, past Chair of the Ontario Waterpower Association, and past member of the Independent Electricity System Operator Stakeholder Advisory Committee.