Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 27: Justice (25-42)

Barreau du Québec

April 5, 2024

The Barreau du Québec is the professional order that oversees the practice of nearly 30,000 lawyers in all areas of law. Its mission is to protect the public, contribute to accessible, quality justice and defend the rule of law. The Bar is represented by the Bâtonnier du Québec, who is elected by ballot, and by the directors. All work together to fulfill the Bar’s mission of protecting the public.

Barreau du Québec’s Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

The Barreau can count on three committees to support its work on Indigenous rights, including the follow-ups to the Report on Justice in the North, the Viens Commission Report, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and the Report on the situation of the Itinerant Court in Nunavik (“Latraverse Report”):

  • The Expert Panel on Aboriginal Law
  • The Nunavik Justice System Committee
  • Committee on the North Shore Itinerant Court.

These committees bring together experienced lawyers and representatives of the judiciary and community justice organizations. See the text below on the work of the Barreau

Call to Action # 27

We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and antiracism.

Mandatory Course: Yes.

Rights, Indigenous Realities and Cultural Competence for Lawyers

This training includes the elements contained in the TRC’s Call to Action #28

Barreau du Québec: Commitment to Call to Action # 27: 5 out of 5 = 100%

1The history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools
Yes. Since 2018, all Barreau School students must take the mandatory course
2The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Yes. Since 2018, all Barreau School students must take the mandatory course
3Treaties and Aboriginal rights
Yes. Since 2018, all Barreau School students must take the mandatory course
4Indigenous law
Yes. Since 2018, all Barreau School students must take the mandatory course
5Aboriginal–Crown Relations
Yes. Since 2018, all Barreau School students must take the mandatory course

Response to Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Statement of Commitment to Reconciliation (#s 2 – 8)          

Recommendation Two

That the Federation urges all law societies to make a formal commitment to reconciliation and develop a framework or steps for putting that commitment into action. Law societies may consider adopting the Guiding Principles in the Federation’s Appendix C, if they do not yet have a framework in place, to guide their work on reconciliation. (See the Law Society of Alberta’s Appendix C, for eg.)

The Quebec Barreau’s commitment to reconciliation is reflected in the work of the three committees mentioned above – which bring together the judiciary and the socio-judicial organizations of the Aboriginal communities concerned – as well as its training programs focusing on Aboriginal rights and realities, and its support programs for Aboriginal students.

Recommendation Three

That the Federation urges law societies to critically examine their regulatory processes and structures to consider how they may be more inclusive of the needs and perspectives of Indigenous peoples, as well as how they may adversely impact Indigenous peoples.

The Barreau ensures the presence and ongoing training of designated syndic-adjoints for members of the public who contact the Syndic’s Office with a request for information or an inquiryinquiry into a lawyer’s work or conduct. These designatedare trained in aboriginal realities and offer presentations on the Barreau’s role inthe Barreau’s role in protecting the public. 

Recommendation Four

That the federation urge law societies to provide ongoing opportunities for competency and awareness training for law society leadership and staff 

Board members receive training on Inuit realities,one on Innu realities and a training on ethnocultural diversity.All employees, managers and directors have taken a two-hour training courseon equity, diversity and inclusion.Groups of employees took a 2-hour training course on Quebec aboriginal terminology and realities.

Recommendation Five

That the Federation urge law societies to continue building relationships with local Indigenous organizations, the Indigenous bar, and other appropriate groups including the legal academy, through formal and informal opportunities for collaboration.

Through the work of its three dedicated committees, the Barreau develops and maintains links with socio-judicial organizations in Aboriginal communities.

Recommendation Six

That the Federation urge law societies to collaborate with Indigenous organizations, members of the bar and law students to explore opportunities for providing additional supports to Indigenous students and members of the bar.

The Barreau du Québec has set up a mentoring program for Indigenous students.The program aims to establish a supportive relationship between mentor and student.Accompagnement et mentorat | Le Barreau du Québec The Barreau du Québec offers a 650$ scholarship to all Indigenous students attending l’École du Barreau.

Recommendation Seven

That the Federation urge law societies to:

  • Consider mandatory Indigenous cultural competency training.
  • Ensure that legal professionals in their jurisdictions are provided with access to educational opportunities to enhance their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous peoples, the legacy of colonization and the existence of Indigenous legal orders.
  • Ensure the availability of a continuum of educational opportunities and resources to recognize the diversity of legal practices and Indigenous peoples and legal orders within a given jurisdiction.
  • Collaborate with Indigenous organizations in the development and delivery of cultural competency training or rely on training already developed by such organizations.
In addition to the “Aboriginal Rights and Realities and Cultural Competence for Lawyers” training already mentioned, the Bar is preparing mandatory training for lawyers practicing in Nunavik. This training will be implemented in May 2024.

Recommendation Eight

That the Federation urges law societies to review their admissions curriculum and licensing requirements and make necessary modifications to reflect the spirit and intent of the TRC Calls to Action.

In 2023, the Barreau surveyed Aboriginal students and lawyers on the barriers they face in accessing the profession and potential facilitating measures. The results of this survey will be incorporated into the 2024-2025 Annual Equity Plan:

Land Acknowledgment

No Land Acknowledgement found on site.

All content has been submitted to the respective Law Society for validation to ensure accuracy and currency as of the time of posting. Barreau du Québec did respond.

Managing Editor: Douglas Sinclair, Publisher, Indigenous Watchdog
Lead Researcher: Julia Dubé