The Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (CBABC) announces the release of Taking Action on Reconciliation – a response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) Calls to Action. The legal profession is called to focus on new approaches to the relationship between Canada’s legal system and Indigenous peoples. CBABC’s planned actions focus on justice issues within provincial jurisdiction.
“I am an ardent supporter of our responsibility to advance the Calls to Action,” said Margaret Mereigh, CBABC President. “We must whole-heartedly embrace reconciliation. We can do that by learning more about the experiences of Indigenous peoples, acknowledging the truth, and taking real, concrete action to never let this part of history repeat itself.”
TRC Calls to Action address continuing impacts of the Canadian legal systems on Indigenous peoples including the grossly disproportionate representation of Indigenous peoples in Canada’s child welfare and criminal law systems.
CBABC established the Truth and Reconciliation Working Group drawing from Indigenous and non-Indigenous lawyers in the CBABC. Collectively, they represent diverse legal practice areas including Aboriginal law, business law, family law, and criminal law and include both federal and provincial Crown Counsel. Tina Dion, QC, chaired the Working Group.
Over an 18 month period, the Working Group produced CBABC’s reconciliation action and implementation plan, titled Taking Action on Reconciliation. The plan includes these goals:
- Include in its professional development programing, Indigenous Cultural Competency including education about the history and legacy of residential schools, as well as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, and among other things, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations;
- Encourage law firms to develop reconciliation response plans and provide examples of plans and initiatives law firms could implement;
- Create further space for Indigenous lawyers to assume leadership roles in CBABC; and
- Support advocacy aimed at a culturally appropriate and responsive legal system focused on improving outcomes for Indigenous peoples.
Taking Action on Reconciliation received approval from CBABC Provincial Council in September 2018. To support the plan, a Truth & Reconciliation Officer is now in place to provide, among other things, guidance in future professional development programming.
To learn more about how CBABC is responding meaningfully and in the spirit of openness and change to the Calls to Action issued by TRC, please join us at cbabc.org/TakingAction.
… Without truth, justice is not served, healing cannot happen, and there can be no genuine reconciliation between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in Canada.
From: Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future Summary of the Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, June 2, 2015, at p. 12
The Canadian Bar Association is the professional organization representing more than 38,000 lawyers, judges and law students across Canada with over 7,000 members in British Columbia.
For interviews, contact:
Member Communications Officer