Karen L. Snowshoe

Lawyer / Adjudicator / Mediator / Educator

Ms. Snowshoe is a Lawyer, Arbitrator, Mediator and Educator.

Since 2009, Ms. Snowshoe has provided Adjudication services (claims of first instance and appeals) and Mediation services across Canada. Her clients have included the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat, the Northwest Territories Human Rights Adjudication Panel, the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal, the BC Human Rights Tribunal, Law Society of British Columbia Tribunal, governments (Provincial, Municipal and Indigenous), post secondary institutions, unions, health authorities, social service agencies and non-profit organizations.

Ms. Snowshoe has chaired two Federal Land Claim Arbitration Panels and maintains membership in numerous professional organizations dedicated to the administration of justice. She is passionate about supporting early dispute resolution in a  manner which is fair, timely, and trauma-informed . To this end, Ms. Snowshoe has held over 150 hearings across Canada and written 100+ well-reasoned decisions involving claims of first instance and appeal.

Ms. Snowshoe is a leader in providing trauma-informed and culturally sensitive investigations. As senior counsel with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and Two-Spirited People (MMIWG2S). Ms. Snowshoe built, trained and led a national team of statement gatherers who conducted trauma-informed interviews across Canada.

Ms. Snowshoe is a highly sought after educator in trauma-informed practice. Her customized workshops on Indigenous Reconciliation and Trauma Informed Practice have garnered widespread acclaim for inspiring participants to engage in reconciliation in a way that honours the humanity and dignity of all.  

In 2018, Ms. Snowshoe was elected as a Bencher (Governor) of the Law Society of British Columbia. Having served two terms, Ms. Snowshoe brought a unique perspective to the governance of the Law Society. She has made valuable contributions in the following areas: Access to Justice, Equity, Diversity & Inclusion, Credentials, Practice Standards, Truth & Reconciliation, Mental Health Task Force and the Disciplinary process. In 2021, Ms. Snowshoe wrote a dissenting decision in the Bronstein matter. This was precedent setting and historic dissent led the Law Society of British Columbia to strike a task force on Indigenous Engagement in Regulatory Matters. Ms. Snowshoe is the first-Indigenous woman to be elected as a Bencher in the Law Society’s history.

Ms. Snowshoe has been a long-time resident on the  traditional, ancestral, and unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations, today known as Vancouver. She also lived and worked in Canada’s north (the Yukon and the Northwest Territories) for 14 years. 

“Karen Snowshoe possesses all the qualities of an excellent adjudicator and mediator. Over the past ten years in which I have worked with her, Karen has conducted hearings that are compassionate and fair minded, with a strong intellectual curiosity. Her decision and appeal writing is well reasoned, clear and transparent.”

Rodger Linka

Deputy Chief Adjudicator, Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Secretariat.