Fraser Building Expansion

An expansion for the Fraser Building is being planned to better accommodate a new program in the Faculty of Law. Image: UVic photo services.

Planning for a national centre for Indigenous Laws

The university has begun planning for an expansion to the Fraser Building to house a national centre for Indigenous laws. The centre will provide much-needed academic and support space for the Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders program (JD/JID) and Indigenous Legal Research Unit (ILRU). By expanding the Fraser Building, the university will enhance the experience and success of JD and JD/JID students, and will serve as a national centre for dialogue, research, and knowledge transfer.

The JD/JID program launched in September 2018, with a 25-student cohort entering the four-year program. The JD/JID program is the first of its kind in Canada, is unique globally, and will further the university’s reputation by training legal professionals to work across Indigenous and non-Indigenous legal traditions.  

Planning for this program and this project has been ongoing for several years, and significant work has been invested in visioning for the program and project.  For more information please click on the documents tab at the bottom of this page.


Federal funding announcement at UVic June 25, 2019.

(L-R) Professor John Borrows, Federal Minister Carolyn Bennett, Professor Val Napoleon, JID student Amanda Vick, Dean of Law Susan Breau, Dr. Skip Dick, VP Finance Gayle Gorrill. 

Photo: UVic Photo Services. 

Project vision

UVic is located on the traditional territories of the Songhees, Esquimalt and WSÁNEĆ Nations. Rooted in the JD/JID program four purposes – convening, sharing, stimulating, researching – and grounded in an understanding of Indigenous Laws as a living practice, the project seeks to:

  • Build physical space for the celebration of Indigenous Law
  • Build culturally appropriate space
  • Weave the four purposes together in the expansion: convening, sharing, stimulating, researching.

Timeline and engagement

Community engagement

Community engagement is an essential component of planning for the Fraser Expansion. The public engagement process for the centre will follow the University of Victoria Community Engagement Framework that was designed with input from our neighbours and stakeholders. 

Engagement with the campus and broader community began in fall 2019. Engagement is planned throughout the project. You can expect online engagement events on the conceptual design for the building expansion this Fall 2020. Engagement is also planned for the detailed design phase of the project, in the Spring of 2021. Construction is estimated to start in the winter of 2021/2022 with occupancy expected in the Fall of 2023.

All engagement materials, links and engagement reports will be added to this website in the documents tab.

Indigenous engagement

Engagement with local Indigenous communities is based on long-standing relationships that the university has maintained for many years. From these relationships, specific engagement regarding the Fraser Expansion was initiated from May 2018 – January 2019 with the aim to inform local communities of the project, provide an opportunity for feedback, and inform how their feedback would be used to shape the building program. This engagement was conducted by Ruth Young, Manager, Indigenous Initiatives, Jeremy Webber, previous Dean of the Faculty of Law and other representatives from the Faculty of Law. Engagement with these communities continues throughout the various stages of the project.

About the project

Site location 

The new expansion will be located to the south of the existing Fraser Building and will have a physical connection to the Fraser Building to promote interdisciplinary activities between the JD and JD/JID programs. The building addition will implement multiple Campus Plan principles including compact growth, campus vibrancy along Ring Road, Spirit of Place, and to further develop our extraordinary academic environment.

The project is informed by best practices for environmental stewardship and management. The project will explore and support opportunities for restoration of natural areas on campus. The building will aim to respect and learn from the environment through considerations to utilize mass timber, solar orientation and benefits, and on-site storm-water management.

Fraser Expansion site map

The Fraser Building expansion site.

What's included

The expansion will be a national centre for critical engagement, debate, learning, public education and partnerships of Indigenous legal traditions. It will foster the fundamental values of Indigenous societies of respecting the natural environment and interacting with the landscape to support the practice of law that honours the land.   

The centre will house classrooms, research and office facilities, and ceremony spaces. The project scope also includes upgrades to the existing Fraser building which will bring students, faculty and staff access to end-of-trip facilities (i.e. showers and change rooms) and secure bike storage in the new building.


The project will be designed and constructed to target the CaGBC LEED Gold for new construction. Opportunities to further demonstrate sustainable design and construction innovation will be explored during the design process. The project is informed by best practices for environmental stewardship and management. The building will aim to respect and learn from the environment through approaches such as utilize mass timber, considerations to solar orientation and benefits, and on-site storm-water management. The use of mass timber will contribute to the building’s overall sustainability goal by providing a carbon sink and reduction in emissions from prefabricated construction materials. Students, faculty and staff will have access to end-of-trip facilities and secure bike storage in the new building.

The university has a long history of leadership in sustainability. The campus has received international attention for our commitment to green campus operations, interdisciplinary research, real life learning opportunities and innovative community partnerships. The university integrates sustainability practices and a culture of shared responsibility into all areas of it operations and services, and educates, inspires and motivates students, staff, and faculty and community members.

UVic strives to maintain a campus that fosters an energy conservation culture that utilizes innovative technologies and engages occupants to continually improve building performance as well as providing comfortable living, learning and work environments. 

Project team 

The project has been awarded to an Architectural Prime Consultant led by Two Row Architect in partnership with Teeple Architects and Low, Hammond, Row Architects. Multiple sub-consultants support this project consisting of an expansion and renovation to the existing Fraser Building. Two Row is an Indigenous-owned and operated firm from Six Nations of the Grand River reserve in southern Ontario.

For further information contact Mike Wilson, Director - Campus Planning and Sustainability at 250-472-5433 or  

Community engagement is an essential part of planning for the Fraser Expansion. The campus and neighbourhood association engagement process will follow the university’s Community Engagement Framework. 

The first round of campus engagement was held in October 2019, the project team engaged with 165 students, faculty and staff the project introduction, the site location, and opportunities for restoration of a natural ecosystem.