Actions and Commitments

Call to Action # 28: Justice (25-42)

Ottawa University Faculty of Law – Civil Law

March 19, 2024

Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa on the ancestral territory of the Algonquin Nation, within walking distance of Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada, the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law provides the best opportunity in the world to study Common Law, Civil Law and Indigenous legal traditions in English or in French.

Faculty of Law Commitment to Truth and Reconciliation

Comité sur la réconciliation et le droit autochtone

There is one committee on reconciliation and Indigenous rights, but currently no information about their mandate or any objectives and timelines.

Licence en droit (LL.L.)

The Civil Law Section responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 28

La Section de droit civil répond à l’Appel à l’action 28 de la Commission Vérité et réconciliation | Faculté de droit (

A new three-credit course entitled Indigenous Peoples and the Law has been added to the Bachelor of Laws program. The addition of this course in the first year of the LL.M. program will enable us to respond directly to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action 28, and to train future jurists who are aware of their responsibilities towards First Peoples and sensitive to the importance of Indigenous legal systems.

This course stems directly from a mandatory intensive training course on Indigenous legal orders that had been offered to all first-year law students since 2018 as part of our Lawyer Skills I: Introduction to Law program. Starting in the 2024-2025 academic year, we will offer this training as part of a full three-credit course in the regular curriculum.

Certificat en droit autochtone:

University of Ottawa offers an Indigenous right certificate for Indigenous candidates only. This one year program is designed to be a gateway into the civil law degree for Indigenous students interested in pursuing a law career.

This unique program adopts an innovative experiential and holistic pedagogy combining interdisciplinarity and action learning to introduce Indigenous learners to the study of law. Mother Earth teachings are at the heart of Indigenous legal traditions. Since Indigenous legal orders are transmitted orally, they will be taught in particular through storytelling, using sharing and talking circles. 

In this program designed exclusively for Indigenous learners, they will first study the legal orders of various Indigenous peoples in Canada, and then compare them with the state legal order in certain key areas of law. This will enable them to familiarize themselves with the sources, foundations, principles and rules of Indigenous law and state law, particularly in Quebec civil law. Through the comparative study of Indigenous and state legal orders, Indigenous learners will be encouraged to think critically about the nature and limits of interactions between legal systems. In addition, the program will enable Indigenous learners to acquire basic skills, including state law, in order to successfully complete a license in civil law.

Call to Action # 28

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: 

License in Civil Law: Yes (1)

DRC 1709 Indigenous Peoples and the Law (3 credits) 

Legal history of relations between Indigenous peoples and colonial powers in Canada, including residential schools and other policies of suppression of Indigenous culture. Critical analysis of international law and the territorial sovereignty of states, particularly in light of Indigenous conceptions of sovereignty; evolution of international norms relating to the rights of Indigenous peoples. Introduction to section 91(24) of the Constitution Act, 1867 and section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. Introduction to Indigenous legal systems and traditions, their foundations and sources. Interactions between Indigenous legal systems and Canadian law. 

Conflict resolution: negotiations and litigation. Notion of reconciliation.

Certificat en droit autochtone: Yes (7)

Preparatory course: DCC 1510 – Aboriginal law and state law (3 credits)

Philosophy of native law. Relational existence and coexistence, living law. General introduction to Canadian law (sources, state organization, method and reasoning). General comparison of native and state legal orders.

DCC 1511 – Aboriginal Legal Orders and Constitutional Law (3 credits)

Foundations and sources of native and state legal orders. Aboriginal constitutionalism. Introduction to Canadian constitutional law, including Canadian Aboriginal law.

DCC 1512 – Aboriginal Legal Systems and Family Law (3 credits)

Introduction to Aboriginal rights and Quebec law in the area of family relations. Study of specific topics including customary child care, customary adoption, child ceremonies, etc. Studies of state legal regimes for marriage, divorce, parental authority and adoption.

DCC 1513 – Aboriginal legal orders and land law (3 credits)

Study of the relationship with land and living beings in various native legal systems and in state law. Introduction to property law and the law of natural resources in Quebec law.

DCC 1703 – Aboriginal legal systems and criminal law (3 credits)

Study of conflict resolution and justice in various Aboriginal legal systems. Introduction to Canadian criminal law, its foundations and purposes. Study of Criminal Code provisions concerning Aboriginal offenders.

DCC 1704 – Aboriginal Legal Systems and International Law (3 credits)

Introduction to the history, foundations and principal institutions of international law. Study of international law relating to indigenous peoples. Study of indigenous legal traditions in this field (alliances, treaties and protocols).

DCC 1705 – Aboriginal Leadership and Conflict Management (3 credits)

Leadership and administration in Aboriginal communities. Traditional and state law governance systems. Duties and responsibilities in conflict prevention and management under aboriginal and state law.

Faculty of Law Commitment to Call to Action # 28: 5 out of 5 = 100%

1The history of Aboriginal peoples, including the history and legacy of residential schools
Yes, see mandatory course DRC 1709
2The United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples
Yes, see mandatory course DRC 1709
3Treaties and Aboriginal rights
Yes, see mandatory course DRC 1709
4Indigenous law
Yes, see mandatory course DRC 1709
5Aboriginal–Crown Relations
Yes, see mandatory course DRC 1709

Land Acknowledgement

Located in the very heart of Ottawa and the ancestral territories of the Algonquin nation, just steps away from Parliament Hill and the Supreme Court of Canada, the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law is the best in the world for the study of common law, civil law and Aboriginal legal traditions, in French or English. Faculté de droit | Faculté de droit (

All content has been submitted to the respective faculty for validation to ensure accuracy and currency as of the time of posting. University of Ottawa did respond.

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