Call to Action # 27: Actions and Commitments

Provincial Law Societies

November 9, 2020

Commitment of Law Societies

Law Society of Alberta

Pipestone Flyer – All lawyers in Alberta will take Indigenous Cultural Competency training starting in early 2021 as part of the Law Society of Alberta’s response to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The new mandate will give lawyers a “base understanding of how Indigenous clients experience the law in Alberta and in Canada.”

Commitment of Law Societies

Law Society of Manitoba

Strategy 3.3 of the Law Society of Manitoba Strategic Plan 2017-2020 states “There are two activities included in support of the strategy to address the Call to Action # 27 of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC):  

  • Activity 3.3.1 is to “Increase cultural competency in the delivery of legal services” and
  • Activity 3.3.2 is to “Increase cultural competency among the benchers and staff”.  

The Law Society of Manitoba’s activities in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action should fall within five broad categories: legal education, internal awareness, governance and operations, support for Indigenous members and collaboration and engagement.

May 24, 2018

Commitment of Law Societies

Law Society of Ontario

A series of strong recommendations designed to make the Law Society’s regulatory and hearing processes more culturally competent and culturally safe for Indigenous Peoples was approved by Convocation. the Review Panel made nine far-reaching recommendations, including the need to:

  • establish and maintain a culturally competent regulatory process and a culturally safe environment;
  • establish better communication and engagement with complainants from Indigenous communities;
  • create a trusting relationship with Indigenous communities through partnering and exploring ways to increase access to justice;
  • build appropriate capacity within the Professional Regulation Division and ensure it is appropriately resourced for major cases and those involving vulnerable individuals;
  • ensure cultural competence for staff investigating complaints involving Indigenous licensees or complainants and explore ways to incorporate principles of Indigenous Legal Systems in Law Society processes;
  • create permanent, internal structures and supports to appropriately manage investigations and prosecutions of licensees who are the subject of complaints from Indigenous Peoples — and investigations of Indigenous licensees; and
  • enhance guidance and education for lawyers and paralegals who serve Indigenous clients who have experienced trauma.

The panel also recommended that the Law Society Tribunal and Tribunal Committee:explore ways to incorporate Indigenous Law principles and apply them in appropriate cases, with the help of Indigenous Law experts; and provide adjudicators with ongoing training in the history of Indigenous Law in Canada, as well as Indigenous methods of dispute resolution, Indigenous ceremony and protocols, the Independent Assessment Process and other relevant topics.

December 9, 2019

Commitment of Law Societies

The Law Society of British Columbia

The Law Society of British Columbia has moved to require Indigenous cultural competency training for all practising lawyers in the province, in response to gaps in legal education that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission identified. The law society’s board of governors determined that lawyer competence includes knowledge of the history of Indigenous-Crown relations, the history and legacy of residential schools and specific legislation regarding Indigenous peoples in Canada.

Beginning in 2021, all practising lawyers in B.C. will be required to take a six-hour online course covering these areas, as well as legislative changes that could arise from the province’s newly enacted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act. Lawyers will have up to two years to complete the course the mandatory course, which is a first among law societies across Canada, Merrill said. (Globe & Mail)

June 22, 2018

Commitment of Law Societies

The Law Society of Saskatchewan

The Law Society of Saskatchewan (the “Society”) recognizes the significance of the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and is committed to implementing the Calls to Action that came out of that work.  As such, the Benchers approved the creation of a Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Group to guide the Society’s efforts in this area. 

July 28, 2019

Commitment of Law Societies

University of Saskatchewan Nunavut Law Program

Announced funding for the University of Saskatchewan Nunavut Law Program at the Nunavut Arctic College, a legal education program designed to increase the number of practicing lawyers in Nunavut and to improve access to justice for Nunavummiut. The program is a partnership between Nunavut Arctic College and the University of Saskatchewan College of Law. The Government of Canada will provide the University of Saskatchewan with $341,600 through the Justice Partnership and Innovation Program over the next two years. ‎ Funding from the Government of Canada will enable students to engage in experiential learning opportunities in legal advocacy and will establish a legal clinic in Iqaluit where they can gain hands-on law practice experience. The program will also provide guest lecturers on Arctic, Inuit and Circumpolar issues, and will hold programming on cultural skills, Inuktitut legal terminology, and traditional law lectures to reflect the needs and priorities of Nunavut.