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Merrilee Rasmussen

Merrilee was born in Regina and completed high school and university there.  She has a B.A. (Hons.) (1972) and M.A. (1995) from the University of Regina.  Her M.A. Thesis, “The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Saskatchewan” was awarded the Governor General’s Gold Medal in 1995.  She has an LL.B. (1973) and LL.M. (2001) from the University of Saskatchewan.  Her Master’s Thesis in Law was titled, “Prairie First Nations and Provinces: Is there a Fiduciary Relationship that gives rise to Fiduciary Obligations?”  Merrilee was admitted to the Law Society of Saskatchewan in 1976 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996.  She was admitted to the Law Society of Nunavut in 2004. 

Prior to moving to private practice, Merrilee served as Legislative Counsel and Law Clerk for the Saskatchewan Legislature for many years.  She is a member of the Canadian and Regina Bar Associations.  She has served as Chair of the Legislation and Law Reform (South) Section of the Saskatchewan Branch of the Canadian Bar Association.  Merrilee has been a sessional lecturer in Political Science and Human Justice at the University of Regina and at the College of Law at the University of Saskatchewan in the area of legislation and legislative drafting.  She served as Chair of the Saskatchewan Law Reform Commission from 2000 to 2008 and Chair of the Saskatchewan Archives Board from 2005 to 2009.

Merrilee is a long-time advocate and passionate supporter of public libraries in Saskatchewan.  She served for 20 years on the board of the Regina Public Library and as Chair of several ministerial advisory committees for the Province of Saskatchewan.  She was Secretary to the Saskatchewan Library Trustees Association for almost a decade and is the recipient of the Frances Morrison Award for Outstanding service to Saskatchewan Libraries from the Saskatchewan Library Association.

Merrilee has worked extensively in the area of Aboriginal law since moving to private practice.  She was a constitutional advisor on Aboriginal issues to the province during the 1992 constitutional negotiations that developed the Charlottetown Accord, and continued to advise the province’s departments dealing with intergovernmental and Aboriginal affairs from 1992 to 1995.  She was also the province’s representative on the drafting team that produced the Agreement on Internal Trade in 1994.

Since 2000, Merrilee worked extensively for the Federation of Saskatchewan Indian Nations on a number of matters, but most importantly on the self-government negotiations between the FSIN, Canada and Saskatchewan.  She has also advised a number of individual First Nations in the province on a variety of issues.

In addition to her work on Aboriginal issues, Merrilee practices in the area of administrative law, including, in particular, matters involving self-regulating professions, and in the areas of labour law and the law of wrongful dismissal.  She has served as an arbitrator on numerous occasions and on human rights adjudications.  She is also an adjudicator of residential school claims in the process established in the class action settlement approved by the courts in jurisdictions across Canada.