January 13, 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
OTTAWA, ONT – The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (the “IBA”) congratulates Helen Gertrude Semaganis on her Queen’s Counsel designation. Helen Semaganis is a member of the Poundmaker Cree Nation in Saskatchewan and was called to the Bar in 1996. Helen has practised in the areas of family, employment, wills and estates, and child welfare law. Throughout her years in private practice she has given and continues to generously donate her time to Indigenous individuals and organizations.
The Queen’s Counsel designation is a prestigious appointment based on recommendations from a committee, which includes the Minister of Justice and Attorney General, the Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal, the Chief Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench, as well as past presidents of the provincial branch of the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Saskatchewan. The designation recognizes lawyers who have greatly contributed to the legal profession and public service.
Over the course of her career, she has consistently been involved in the advocacy for legal rights of Indigenous Peoples. She worked as the National Researcher on Indian child welfare legislation and policy for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, as well as being the lead negotiator for the Treaty Governance Process for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations. She started her full-time legal practice in 1996, where she was counsel on matters involving child welfare, family, employment and estates law. From 2009 through 2016 she worked as an adjudicator with the Independent Assessment Process in the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement. For the past 15 years, she has been the managing partner of the law firm Semaganis Worme Lombard.
Helen Semaganis is a proud mother of five children and is grounded in oral history of Treaty Six and the traditional knowledge of her Nehiyaw culture. Helen received her law degree from the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law. She is also a prestigious member of the Law Society of Saskatchewan, Canadian Bar Association, the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals and the IBA, having recently been awarded the Indigenous Peoples Council designation by the IBA in 2020. Her legal advocacy has focused on the recognition of Indigenous family and child wellness for which she continues her hard work.
The IBA is thrilled to celebrate Helen Semaganis’ designation to Queen’s Counsel. She embodies the Indigenous principles she carries and is an inspiration to Indigenous Peoples. Her experience, talent and hard work makes her a role model to Indigenous legal professionals and one we are honoured to celebrate.
Indigenous Bar Association President Drew Lafond said, “Helen’s tenacity and relentless pursuit of justice for Indigenous peoples on the prairies separate her from her contemporaries as a uniquely effective and high caliber lawyer in Saskatchewan. Her appointment as Queen’s Counsel is not only a testament to her contributions to the practice of law, but also a nod to Helen’s sacrifices and selfless endeavors during the course of her career. Congratulations are certainly in order.”
The Indigenous Bar Association congratulates Helen G. Semaganis on this momentous occasion.
For further inquiries, please contact IBA President Drew Lafond (firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit www.indigenousbar.ca.