Heather Ferg was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. Her lifelong passion for education led her to pursue two undergraduate degrees (one in Political Science and one in English), which she completed at the University of Calgary. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Ferg enrolled in the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Law program where she obtained her LL.B.
Building on the foundation of her law degree, Ms. Ferg articled under the guidance and direction of Ian McKay of Dunn & McKay and Karen Molle. Following her articles, Ms. Ferg was welcomed as an Associate at Evans Fagan Rice McKay. Ms. Ferg is now a Partner at McKay Criminal Defence LLP.
Ms. Ferg is an accomplished criminal litigation lawyer who practices exclusively in the area of criminal defence. Her work includes a strong focus on legal research and analysis (particularly with respect to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms). Ms. Ferg’s experience and understanding of the Charter makes her an invaluable resource not only to individuals charged with criminal allegations, but also to the greater legal community. Ms. Ferg often assists other counsel with their legal research and helps them develop their trial strategy. She also co-counsels larger matters, particularly when there are complex Charter motions involved.
Ms. Ferg has appeared in all levels of Court in Canada (including the Supreme Court of Canada).
She has experience in numerous areas of criminal litigation including:
- Pre-charge advice & consultation
- Bail & Bail reviews
- Property offences
- Crimes of violence & sexual offences (including historical allegations of assault and sexual assault)
- Impaired driving
- Drug offences (including trafficking, production, importation and criminal organization)
- Fraud & Economic crimes
- Wiretap & Proceeds of crime
- Civil Forfeiture
- Appeals (which includes Summary Conviction Appeals in the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, Conviction and Sentence Appeals in the Alberta Court of Appeal and Leave Applications and Appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada)
Ms. Ferg’s areas of written advocacy include:
- Legal Opinions
- Research Memoranda
- Charter Notices & Written Arguments
- Sentencing Submissions
- Appellate Facta
- Law Society of Alberta
- Calgary Criminal Defence Lawyer's Association
- Criminal Trial Lawyer's Association
- The Advocates' Society
- Innocence Canada case reviewer (formerly the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted)
- Calgary Coordinator of the Alberta Court of Appeal Sentence Appeal Duty Counsel Project
Heather Ferg's Selected Cases
R v D.R.
D.R. was convicted of importing approximately 5 lbs of a Schedule 1 substance (Opium) into Canada contrary to section 6(1) of the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Upon being retained for the conduct of the appeal, Ms. Ferg was able to secure D.R.’s judicial release pending the hearing of the appeal.
R. v C.F.
C.F. was charged with 9 offences in relation to 5 different sets of charges all of which stemmed from an underlying addiction issues. The charges (some of which were from another jurisdiction) were brought together and dealt with at the same time to achieve the best result for C.F. Ultimately, after negotiation with the Crown, many of the charges were withdrawn of and C.F. did not have to spend any additional time in custody.
R v. G.R.
G.R. was charged with two counts of breaching an Emergency Protection Order and one count of failing to abide by a court order. The charges arose in the context of a domestic dispute and the second charge of breaching the Emergency Protection Order carried a minimum sentence of jail. Ms. Ferg liaised with G.R.’s family law counsel to form a comprehensive strategy to deal with G.R.’s legal issues in both areas of law. Ultimately, Ms. Ferg was able to have all of the criminal charges withdrawn.
R. v. T.R.
T.R. was charged with one count of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm. The allegation was made in the context of a highly contentious custody battle and the very fact of a criminal charge was devastating to T.R. Although the matter was set for trial, Ms. Ferg was able to have the criminal charge withdrawn before the trial date and T.R. was able to move on without having to testify or go through stressful trial proceedings.
R v H.K.
H.K. was facing three separate prosecutions from another jurisdiction all of which stemmed from serious addiction and mental health issues. Since moving to Calgary, H.K. had rebuilt her life and made significant progress in treating and overcoming her issues. Ms. Ferg was able to have all of H.K.’s outstanding matters transferred into Calgary and resolved. While the Crown initially sought a period of custody and a high fine, Ms. Ferg dissuaded the Crown from seeking further custody and no fine was imposed.