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Ottawa, ON – On December 12, 2017, Bill S-3, An Act to amend the Indian Act in response to the Superior Court of Quebec decision in Descheneaux c. Canada (Procureur général) received Royal Assent. Bill S-3 established several new categories of individuals who are entitled to register as Indians under section 6 of the Indian Act. Some classes of individuals will be entitled to register as Indians effective immediately, whereas others will be entitled to register at a future date to be set by an Order in Council. Based on a report of the Parliamentary Budget Office, the new legislation could result in approximately 670,000 individuals becoming entitled to register as Indians.

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Michael McDonald Appointed as Queens Council

"The Indigenous Bar Association congratulates Michael McDonald, Q.C. on his appointment as Queen's Counsel. Michael is a long time member of the Indigenous Bar and served as a Board member from 2012 - 2016. - Scott Robertson, President.

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Ottawa, ON – On November 29th, 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his nominee, Justice Sheilah Martin, to the Supreme Court of Canada. While not impugning the suitability of Ms. Martin as a candidate, the IBA is profoundly disappointed that the Prime Minister did not nominate an Indigenous jurist to the Supreme Court of Canada. There were qualified Indigenous candidates in the pool and this decision neglects the importance and urgency of including Indigenous lawyers, judges and academics within Canada’s judiciary. The IBA is further disappointed given the Prime Ministers affirmation in June 2017, that “no relationship is more important to Canada than the relationship with Indigenous peoples”.

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Williams Lake Indian Band v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada

Photo from left to right: Chris Albinati, David Nahwegahbow, IPC, Nahwegahbow Corbiere, Stuart Wuttke, Assembly of First Nations, and Scott Robertson, Nahwegahbow Corbiere

The Supreme Court has granted the Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) leave to intervene in the Williams Lake Indian Band v. Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada as represented by the Minister of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada;  Supreme Court File # 36983.
This is the second time the Indigenous Bar Association has applied for and been granted leave by the Supreme Court of Canada.  The due date for the factum is April 18, 2017.

Thank you to Scott Robertson, IBA Vice-President , for all his hard work!

60s Scoop Decision

The Indigenous Bar Association wishes to recognize the recent Ontario Superior Court decision, Brown v Canada (Attorney General) 2017 ONSC 251 concerning certain victims of the "60's Scoop". The decision marks a turning point in Canadian jurisprudence and a step forward for reconciliation, particularly for those Indigenous people whose forced removal from their childhood homes resulted in the loss of their Indigenous identity.

On February 14, 2017, Justice Belobaba considered whether Canada could be held liable in law for the class members’ loss of Aboriginal identity after they were placed in non-Aboriginal foster care and adoptive homes. The Ontario Superior Court held that when Canada entered into the 1965 child welfare Agreement, it had a common law duty of care to take reasonable steps to prevent on-reserve children in Ontario, who had been placed in the care of non-Aboriginal foster or adoptive parents, from losing their Aboriginal identity. This common law duty was supplemented by a "political trust of the highest obligation" that Canada assumed in respect of the welfare of Indigenous Canadians. The Court held that Canada had breached its common law duty of care owed to certain 60s Scoop Survivors, a term used to describe a group comprised of approximately 16,000 Aboriginal children who were forcibly removed from their homes between December 1, 1965 and December 31, 1984 in Ontario.

Importantly, the Superior Court recognized that Indigenous children who were apprehended and removed from their families by provincial child welfare authorities lost their Aboriginal language, culture, and identity and that this loss was quantifiable. Indigenous bands were not consulted about the 1965 Agreement prior to its enactment and the lack of consultation amounted to a breach by Canada of its duty of care.  Without proper consultation, information about the children's heritage and access to federal benefits was virtually unavailable for foster and adoptive parents. This contributed significantly to the children's loss of language, culture and identity. The IBA supports the findings by Justice Belobaba that the removal of Aboriginal children resulted in a loss of identity and had devastating impacts on these children and their communities.

We recognize that this decision is part of a lengthy 8-year litigation process which is still ongoing, as the costs and damages assessment stage is still pending.  Nevertheless, this represents a significant victory for the 60s Survivors.

All my relations,
Indigenous Bar Association in Canada


The Indigenous Bar Association Foundation is a national Foundation, which supports the education and advancement of Indigenous Peoples in law. The IBA Foundation announces its first essay contest to provide Indigenous (First Nation, Inuit and Metis) law students with an opportunity to engage with themes related to Indigenous Peoples. Click here for details.

David Nahwegahbow and Scott Robertson of Nahwegahbow Corbiere and Marie Belleau of Nunavut Tunngavik Inc. appearing before the Supreme Court of Canada - November 2016

Cases: Chippewas of the Thames First Nation v Enbridge et al. and Hamlet of Clyde River, et al. v. Petroleum Geo-Servioces Inc. (PGS), et al.

Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in congratulating Dr. Wilton Littlechild on accepted becoming the first “non-sitting” Chief to the hold the Grand Chief position. Dr. Wilton Littlechild will hold the position of the Grand Chief for a three year term.
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Canada Officially Removes Obiector Status on the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Tuesday

Posted: May 13, 2016

OTTAWA – The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) recognizes the Government of Canada’s recent decision to adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in accordance with the Canadian Constitution and without “qualification.”

The IBA was interested in the Minister of Indigenous Affairs’ announcement regarding the Declaration, “breathing life into Section 35 and recognizing it as a full box of rights for Indigenous Peoples in Canada.” Ms. Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association, stated in response ‘the Declaration is much more than a refinement of section 35 of the Constitution. It has the potential to be transformative of the relationship between Indigenous Peoples and Canada.

Adopting UNDRIP, in addition to implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action, provides the Government with the necessary principles to improve the nation-to-nation relationship as envisioned by the parties at the Treaty of Niagara in 1764. A nation-to-nation relationship whereby the Government recognizes and promotes the dignity, survival and well-being of this country’s original inhabitants, remedies the legacy of residential schools and advances the process of reconciliation. “Adoption is the first step. We look forward to working with the federal government on the many ways in which the Declaration must be implemented by Canada in order to demonstrate its full commitment to a nation-to-nation relationship.” said Lightning-Earle.

Ms. Lightning-Earle calls upon the current Government of Canada to, “abolish its long standing historical policy of attempting to assimilate Indigenous Peoples and denying them their rightful place in all facets of Canada, including the economy and legal system. In addition, Ms. Lightning-Earle says, “a new relationship must develop where the Government honours and respects Treaties, recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ right to self-determination and upholds rights to lands, territories and resources.”

The IBA is a national association comprised of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) lawyers, legal academics, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. The IBA is a not-for-profit federal corporation mandated, amongst other things, to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada, as well as the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at: klightning-earle@indigenousbar.ca or at 780.721.2345 or visit our website at www.indigenousbar.ca

Canada’s Denial of Adequate Services Discriminates Against On-Reserve First Nation Children and Families, Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Rules

Posted: January 27, 2016

OTTAWA - The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) congratulates the efforts of Dr. Cindy Blackstock of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada, as well as, Assembly of First Nations on this monumental victory in the decision from the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal (CHRT). Further, the IBA fully supports the CHRT’s findings that the Government of Canada’s funding policies continue to have adverse impacts on First Nation families and children on-reserve and that these adverse impacts propagate the historical disadvantage and trauma suffered by Aboriginal people, in particular, systemic results of the Residential Schools system.

The IBA calls upon the Government of Canada to take immediate steps to address outdated funding policies. These policy directives and inadequate funding have negatively impacted First Nations children and families as far back as Residential Schools being imposed. In order to alleviate the continuing historical disadvantage, the aim, as set out in the CHRT’s decision, should be to “eliminate discrimination”.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION: contact Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at: klightning-earle@indigenousbar.ca or at 780.721.2345.


Posted: January 13, 2016

Ottawa, Ontario – The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (“IBA”) congratulates Angelique EagleWoman on her appointment as Dean of Lakehead University’s Bora Laskin Faculty of Law and applauds her commitment to advance Indigenous legal issues.

“Angelique EagleWoman’s experience teaching Native American Law and serving as General Counsel for her own Tribe, the Sisseton-Wahpeton Oyate in Dakota makes her eminently well-qualified to ensure that Indigenous laws and perspectives are woven throughout the curriculum of the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law,” says Koren Lightning-Earle, President of the IBA.

Further, the IBA commends Lakehead University for appointing the first Indigenous dean of a Canadian law school. Along with the introduction of mandatory courses on Indigenous legal traditions and Canadian laws applied to Aboriginal peoples, this historic appointment clearly demonstrates the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law’s commitment to implement the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The IBA supports Dean EagleWoman in fulfilling the Bora Laskin Faculty of Law’s tripartite mandate, particularly the Faculty's focus on identifying and addressing Indigenous legal issues.

For further information please contact: Koren Lightning-Earle, President at (780) 721-2345 or via email klightning-earle@indigenousbar.ca.

New Job Opportunities

The Director of Investigations at UBC seeks qualified individuals – in the Vancouver and Kelowna areas – who have experience in investigating, mediating or adjudicating matters related to sexual misconduct including sexual assault and sexual harassment.
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Located in picturesque Kingston Ontario, Queen’s University is seeking a Director, Faculty Relations, to join our team. Reporting to the Associate Vice-Principal (Faculty Relations), the incumbent must have experience developing bargaining strategies, and proven success as a chief negotiator of collective agreements, to be successful in this role.
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Are you a seasoned researcher with a legal background & experience drafting legislation? Are you motivated by reviewing policies and collaborating with team members to get the best results? Are you driven by policy reform and prepared to conduct research on a variety of areas impacting Canadians? If you are right for this opportunity, consider joining the Senate in Senator Sinclair’s office as a Parliamentary Research Assistant.
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The Faculty of Law at University of Victoria invites applications for the Dean position. Reporting to the Vice-President Academic and Provost, the new Dean of the Faculty of Law will be a distinguished academic with a passion for excellence in research and teaching. Candidates will possess a demonstrated record of achievement in academic administration, communication, collaborative leadership and a willingness to engage in robust fundraising and alumni relations. The successful candidate will have the opportunity to guide a collegial, innovative and diverse Faculty, and play a key role in the advancement of a unique, trans-systemic degree program in Canadian and Indigenous legal orders.  This is an exciting and challenging opportunity to play a leadership role in one of Canada's most innovative universities. 
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The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University invites applications for three faculty positions at the tenured or tenure-track level. Candidates will be appointed as Full, Associate or Assistant Professors, depending on qualifications, teaching, and research experience. These appointments will commence in the summer of 2018 and offer excellent opportunities to join Ontario’s newest law school and contribute to its unique focus on the legal issues of Northern Ontario.
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The Department is currently seeking a full-time Research Officer for a 1-year term. The Research Officer will work under the direction of the Native Law Centre’s Academic Director and will be responsible for administering the Gladue Awareness Project (“Project”).

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Legal Aid Ontario employees are committed to making a difference in the lives of our clients. As an integral partner in the Justice system, working at Legal Aid Ontario is more than just a job. It's an opportunity to help people who need it the most; to ensure each client receives the access to justice afforded to them under the law. If you are looking for a new challenge in your already meaningful career with a team dedicated to justice, and innovation in a flexible and supportive work environment consider this opportunity - Criminal Staff Lawyer
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The Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario (SLASTO) has a challenging and interesting opportunity for those interested in an adjudicative appointment. SLASTO’s mandate is to resolve and decide matters arising from over 30 statutes relating to public protection and safety – including compensation claims and licensing, policing, parole, fire safety, and animal care orders.
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The Bora Laskin Faculty of Law at Lakehead University, Thunder Bay campus, invites applications for up to two (2) Limited Term Faculty positions each for a term of 10 months to three years, dependent on qualifications and experience. The appointment(s) will commence August 1, 2017 at an academic rank commensurate with the qualifications of the successful candidate. 
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Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP (OKT) is seeking an Associate lawyer with 1-5 years of experience to join our Yellowknife office serving the legal needs of northern Indigenous communities. 
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The Parliamentary officer is involved in all aspects of the legal/policy input required from the Native Women’s Association of Canada by the Parliament of Canada. As the liaison between NWAC and the Parliament, the Parliamentary officer is responsible for reviewing and providing comments on various pieces of legislation on behalf of NWAC. This position will support the mandate of the Organization by making sure that a gender and indigenous perspective is taken into account in law and policy- making. This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a team that will make a difference in the lives of Indigenous women and girls in Canada and around the world!
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The Quebec Regional Offices of the PPSC offer unique articling positions only to law students preparing for admission to the Quebec Bar. Articling students are subject to the regulations and benefits governing term employees of the Government of Canada.
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The Department of Justice in the National Capital Region (Ottawa-Hull) offers both Common Law and Civil Law students the opportunity to develop the basic legal skills of advocacy, negotiation, research, and legal writing and drafting in a variety of areas of law. In addition, they are confronted with the unique problems associated with the conduct of government affairs: the complexities of maintaining efficient and fair administrative systems and the considerations which must be taken into account in policy formulation.
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Lakehead University is conducting an extensive search for a Director, Academic Relations and invites expressions of interest, applications and nominations.
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Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP is currently seeking an Associate lawyer with 1-5 years of experience, with an interest in and preferably experience in litigation, to join our practice in the Toronto office.
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The LSS currently has an exciting opportunity for a Manager, Indigenous Services to join their team in Vancouver, BC.
The Legal Services Society (LSS) has been the provider of legal aid in British Columbia. As a non-profit organization, our goal is to provide legal information, advice, and representation services to some of BC's most vulnerable and marginalized citizens: those who do not have the financial, educational, social or health resources to effectively access the justice system when their families, freedom, or safety are at risk. That being said, many of our services are available to all British Columbians and our scope of work ranges from family law, child protection, immigration, and criminal law.
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What is the IBA?

The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (IBA) is a non-profit professional organization for Indian, Inuit and Métis persons trained in the field of law.

Its membership consist of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), judges, law professors, legal consultants and law students.

As the field of Indigenous law develops, the public is becoming more aware and interested in Indigenous legal issues. The IBA plays an active role in promoting the development of Indigenous law and supporting Indigenous legal practitioners.

Find out more about the IBA by reviewing the objectives and by-laws of the Association.

Upcoming Events - 29th Annual IBA Fall Conference

Ankukamkewey: Joining Together in Peace and Friendship

October 19-21, 2017
Halifax, Nova Scotia

Conference Information



One of the primary goals and objectives of the Indigenous Bar Association is the promotion and reform of policies and laws affecting Indigenous Peoples in Canada.  In furtherance of this objective, the IBA is committed to advancing the concerns of our members with respect to proposed legislation and regulations which may potentially impact the rights and interests of Indigenous peoples in Canada.  As such, if you have any comments or information in respect of draft legislation and regulations, or any other legislative or regulatory initiatives that may impact the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada, please click here to access our Legislation Watch webpage.


Volunteering with the IBA

The IBA seeks interested members to volunteer to serve as mentors, as public speakers, to serve on committees, contribute to the newsletter, etc.

For info or to volunteer

Job Postings & Other Opportunities

From time to time organizations and employers contact us to share information with our membership regarding potential employment opportunities or volunteer opportunities. 

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