Our Project

We are a team of academics, lawyers, and students working to create a dialogue among stakeholders about the best way to ensure Aboriginal-sensitive access and benefit sharing (ABS) of genetic resources and associated traditional knowledge.

Genetic resources hold vast commercial and scientific potential. However, the growing demand for genetic materials is often supplied from materials found on Aboriginal lands or developed with insights and practices from traditional knowledge. This is particular true in Canada, where many commercially viable genetic resources are located on Aboriginal territories.

However, Canada currently lacks a comprehensive legal and policy framework for accessing genetic resources, or sharing the commercial benefits derived from their use. The purpose of our research is to build capacity for access and benefit sharing among Aboriginal communities, corporations and various governments and regulatory agencies.

Our Goals


Assist in training and building capacity among Aboriginal stakeholders in the areas of ABS.


Assist Aboriginal advocacy groups to communicate Aboriginal perspectives on a Canadian ABS policy.


Assist Canadian policy makers on the development of an Aboriginal-sensitive ABS policy.


Assist Aboriginal delegations and organizations as they participate in various governmental, non-governmental, international or regional forums relevant to ABS, genetic resources, biodiversity conservation and traditional knowledge.


Assist Aboriginal, industry, and government delegates to international negotiations to effectively communicate the interests of Canadian Aboriginal peoples.


Engage all stakeholders in developing an understanding of the role of Aboriginal peoples and their ancestral territories and knowledge systems in the sustainable development of genetic resources and the need for their equitable participation in both creation and accessing of benefits, including IPRs associated with genetic resources.


Bridge communication gaps among ABS stakeholders to build trust and reduce suspicion, to create realistic expectations, and to reinforce a balanced and inclusive approach to ABS.

Our Research Team

Chidi Oguamanam
Principal Investigator

LL.B. (Ife)
B.L. (Lagos)
LL.M. (Lagos)
Ph.D. (British Columbia)

Allana Haist
Research Fellow / Team Coordinator

J.D. Candidate, 2022
Ph.D. (Political Theory) 2011

Kelsea Gillespie
Senior Research Fellow

J.D. / M.A. (International Affairs) Candidate, 2022

Nailah Ramsoomair
Chercheuse associée

Programme de common law en français (J.D.), 2022

Jessica Hennings
Research Fellow

J.D. / M.A. (International Affairs) Candidate, 2023

Toni Valenti
Research Fellow

J.D. Candidate, 2021
M.A. (Indigenous Relations) 2018

Rebecca Park
Research Fello

J.D. Candidate, 2021

Akkila Thirukesan

J.D. / M.A. (International Affairs) Candidate, 2021

Nicole Tumaine
Research Fellow

J.D. / M.A. (International Affairs) Candidate, 2022

Esther Ekong
Research Fellow

Ph.D. (Law, Intellectual Property) Candidate, 2022

Uchenna Felicia Ugwu
Research Fellow

Ph.D. (Intl IP Law & Development) 2020
M.A. (Public International Law) 2007
LL.B. 2001

Sileshi Bedasie Hirko
Research Fellow

Ph.D. (Intellectual Property Law and Human Development), 2020

Affiliated Researchers

Teresa Scassa
Ikechi Mgbeoji
Frederic Perron-Welch
Freedom-Kai Phillips
Jessica Saris
Christopher Koziol
Vipal Jain

Our Partners