Donya Vahidi*


604 647 4101

*Personal Law Corporation

Shelley Sanghera
604 647 4172

Donya is a corporate commercial lawyer and a shareholder of the firm. She joined the firm in 2014 and became a shareholder in 2021. Donya’s practice focuses on acquisition transactions with a focus on indigenous equity ownership and indigenous partnerships with industry. Donya is also the Alberta lead for the Indigenous Practice Group in the firm.

Donya’s corporate commercial practice includes advising on business acquisitions, commercial arrangements and financing arrangements. She has acted on several landmark indigenous equity ownership transactions in Canada, and has a great deal of experience working on infrastructure and energy projects. Donya’s practice also includes acting as corporate counsel to indigenous communities with respect to economic development, and the negotiation and implementation of partnerships and joint ventures. She also has experience structuring tax efficient corporate structures for First Nations for the purpose of entering into commercial arrangements with private and public companies.

In addition to her corporate commercial practice, Donya has a deep understanding of indigenous governance, and the legal issues impacting indigenous communities. Donya often provides advice with respect to implementing bylaws and policies and self-government processes.

Prior to joining the firm, Donya worked in commercial banking at one of Canada’s leading financial institutions for five years.

Donya is called to the bar in both B.C. and Alberta and maintains active membership in the law societies of both Provinces

Best Lawyers Award Badge

Representative Transactions

  • Jointly represented 23 Alberta-based indigenous communities in their acquisition, for $1.1 billion, of an 11.57% equity interest in seven Enbridge-operated pipelines in the Athabasca region. This acquisition is the single largest indigenous energy transaction in North America. The pipeline assets are underpinned by long-term contracts and highly-predictable cash flows. The financing was completed with non-recourse debt and included a loan guarantee of $250 million from the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation. Athabasca Indigenous Investments Limited Partnership (Aii) is the special purpose partnership which, through a subsidiary, holds the 11.57% equity interest in the seven pipelines. The indigenous communities with partnership equity are eight First Nations of Treaty 6, five First Nations of Treaty 8, four Métis Settlements, three Métis Nations and three Métis Locals of the Métis Nation of Alberta Association.
  • Jointly represented 5 Alberta-based Indigenous Communities, through a newly formed partnership called Northern Lakeland Indigenous Alliance, in their acquisition of a 43% interest in the Access NGL Pipeline System, operated by Wolf Midstream Canada LP (Wolf Midstream). The pipeline system connects Wolf Midstream’s newly constructed, owned and operated NGL recovery facility near Mariana Lake to its NGL separation facility in Sturgeon County. The financing was completed with non-recourse debt and included a loan guarantee of $103 million from the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.
  • Jointly represented eight First Nations and Métis communities in their acquisition and financing of 15% equity in the Northern Courier Pipeline Limited Partnership (which is a pipeline asset with a value of approximately $1.3 billion). This acquisition was unprecedented because of the number of participating Indigenous communities and was completed with non-recourse debt financing from ATB Financial and a loan guarantee of up to $40 million from the Alberta Indigenous Opportunities Corporation.
  • Represented Fort McKay First Nation and Mikisew Cree First Nation in their $503 million acquisition from Suncor Energy of a 49% interest in the East Tank Farm development (a bitumen and diluent storage, blending and cooling facility located 30 km north of Fort McMurray, Alberta) and with the associated $545 million financing by way of 4.136% senior secured notes rated Baa1 by Moody’s and BBB (high) by DBRS. At closing, the transaction represented the largest-ever business investment by a First Nation entity in Canada.

Speaking Engagements and Leadership Initiatives

  • Institutional Connect West Forum – Energy Transition & Engaging Indigenous Communities (panelist) (2023)
  • Canadian Energy Law Foundation – Spotlight on Indigenous Equity Partnerships (speaker) (2023)
  • Dress for Success Vancouver – Co Chair, Event Committee (2021)
  • Dress for Success Vancouver – Recurring guest speaker (2019-2021)
  • Young Women in Business – Recurring guest speaker (2019-2021)
  • “Business and Commercial Law – Information for Entrepreneurs and Business Owners”, Dress for Success Vancouver, September (2018)
  • “Intellectual Property and Brand Strategy”, Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law, March (2018)
  • “Corporate Law – The Purchase and Sale of a Business”; Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law, February (2017)
  • “Corporate Law and Intellectual Property Protection”; Thompson Rivers University Faculty of Law, November (2016)
  • “Legal Basics for Tech Startups”; Protohack Vancouver, August (2016)

Professional Activities

  • Member, Canadian Bar Association, Business Law, Banking and Intellectual Property subsections
  • Member, Vancouver Bar Association