How successful are the Law Societies of Canada in implementing Call to Action # 27?


“The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is the national association of the 14 law societies mandated by the provinces and territories to regulate Canada’s legal profession in the public interest. It is the body through which Canada’s law societies collaborate at the national level, share information on trends and issues affecting the legal profession, and engage in collective action and decision-making. The Federation is also the law societies’ national and international voice on important issues related to the regulation and core values of the legal profession.

About Us: https://flsc.ca/about-us/#modal-content-1

Call to Action # 27 is directed specifically at the 14 provincial and territory Law Societies of Canada. They have taken widely different approaches to implementing a mandatory Indigenous course in response to Call to Action # 27.

We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes (1) the history and legacy of residential schools, (2) the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, (3) Treaties and Aboriginal rights, I(4) Indigenous law, and (5) Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

NOTE: The Law Societies regulate the legal profession; the Faculties of Law deliver and certify the legal training.

Of the 8 Law Societies at 100%:

  • 1 requires 31 hours across two distinct programs
  • 1 gives three options: a 21 hour option; an 8-hour option and an 6-hour option
  • 4 require 5 or 6 hours to complete
  • 1 requires 3 hours

Of the 6 Law Societies that offer less than 100% of the mandatory content:

  • 2 address 3 out to 5 – 60% of the course content (including 1 in Bar Admission course)
  • 1 has added Indigenous content to the Bar Admission course and has a Cultural Competency course under development
  • In Ontario, only lawyers who engage with Indigenous people as a condition of employment are required to take the Indigenous Framework course
  • 2 have CPD modules available and both have a mandatory course under development

The following table identifies the approaches taken towards addressing the 5 requirements identified in Call to Action # 27:

Law Societies

Law Society Mandatory Course % of topics covered Description
Saskatchewan University of Alberta: Indigenous Canada + PREP Indigenous Foundation Module 5 out of 5 100% Indigenous Canada (12 lessons- 21 hours) + PREP (10 hours)
Northwest Territories 3 course options 5 out of 5 100% Indigenous Canada (12 lessons-21 hours), The Path (6 modules), Living Well Together (8 modules)
British Columbia Indigenous Intercultural course 5 out of 5 100% 6 modules with BC-specific content (6 Hours)
Yukon Indigenous Cultural Competency training 5 out of 5 100% Includes Yukon-specific content.
Nova Scotia The Path 5 out of 5 100% 6 modules + 2 annual cultural competence workshops (full day)
Alberta The Path 5 out of 5 100% 5 modules with Alberta specific content (5 hours)
Manitoba The Path 5 out of 5 100% 6 modules with Manitoba-specific content (6 hours)
Barreau du Québec Rights, Indigenous Realities & Cultural Competence 5 out of 5 100% Includes elements contained in Call to Action # 27 (3 Hours)
Chambres des Notaires Indigenous Law and Realities 3 out of 5 60% Chambres des Notaires did not respond to our inquiries to validate
Newfoundland and Labrador Bar Admission Course 3 out of 5 60% Indigenous history, culture and challenges within legal system
Prince Edward Island Bar Admission Course 2.5 out of 5 50% Aboriginal Law, Indigenous Culture and History segment. Cultural Competency course under development
Nunavut Cultural Competency CPD 2 out of 5 40% CPD (1 Hour). Indigenous Cultural Competency course under development
Ontario Indigenous Framework 1 out of 5 20% Employment requirement for those engaging with Indigenous people
New Brunswick Currently optional 20% Elective CPD module; Cultural Competency course under development

Note:

  • The Law Society of Saskatchewan: Practice Readiness Education Program (PREP) includes 10-hour Foundation Module dedicated to Indigenous Law, Cultures and peoples.
  • The Law Society of the Northwest Territories: “Living Well Together” is a self-directed learning program created by the government of the Northwest Territories for GNWT employees
  • Law Society of Ontario: Offers “Guide for Lawyers Working with Aboriginal People” as an Option
  • The Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador: Also offers “The Path” as an OPTION

Click on Law Societies to read the complete details on what each Law Society is doing to advance Truth and Reconciliation. Each article follows the same organizational structure:

  • Brief details on the Law Society
  • Law Society Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation
  • Call to Action # 27: Description
  • Mandatory Course(s): Course #, title and description
  • Commitment to Call to Action # 27: How has the course(s) addressed the Call to Action
  • Response to Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s “Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation” (#s 2-8)
  • Land Acknowledgement

Based on the above, 8 of the 14 Law Societies – 57% – have completed Call to Action # 27; 3 are in the process of developing a mandatory course. The balance only need to enhance their current offerings in order for this Call to Action to be considered COMPLETE.

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