By-Law Development

Presenting Organization: NALMA


This course examines how First Nations may develop by-laws under the Indian Act to govern matters within their reserve. In this course we will examine:

  • Specific Indian Act requirements for approving a by-law, as well as the jurisdictional limitations of by-laws.
  • The process to develop, implement, enforce, amend, or repeal by-laws.
  • The differences between an Indian Act by-law, and other sources of by-law-making authority that a First Nation may have including the inherent authority of Indigenous peoples to have their own Indigenous laws. This will include an overview on enacting by-laws that incorporate overlapping sources of by-law-making authority.
  • Best practices and key considerations for First Nations to use in developing an Indian Act by-law.


  • Cynthia Westaway

Speaker Bio

Cynthia Westaway is Manager and Senior Counsel at the First Peoples Law office in Ottawa, Ontario and a Certified Specialist in Aboriginal Law with The Law Society. First Peoples Law represents Indigenous clients in consultation, rights, Title and Treaty, governance, and economic development matters. Cynthia brings significant law and governance experience from her previous work with various Canadian ministries, including as Director General of Legal Services at Global Affairs, and Senior Counsel at the Department of Justice. Cynthia served as a law clerk at both the Federal Court of Canada (with Justice Pinard) and at the Supreme Court of Canada (with Justice L’Heureux-Dubé). She holds a Masters degree in Comparative Aboriginal Law (US, Canada, New Zealand and Australia) from the University of Ottawa. Cynthia has been honoured to plead at the Supreme Court of Canada and has represented Indigenous clients on several key lands and environmental matters. She is excited to participate as a panelist at the CAFLP conference.