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THE IBA URGES ALL MEMBERS OF THE SENATE TO SUPPORT BILL C-262 – AN ACT TO ENSURE THAT THE LAWS OF CANADA ARE CONSISTENT WITH THE UNITED NATIONS DECLARATION ON THE RIGHTS OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

OTTAWA, ON – The Indigenous Bar Association (‘IBA’) urges all Members of the Senate to support Bill C-262. The enactment of Bill C-262 would require the Government of Canada to take all measures necessary to ensure that the laws of Canada are consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (‘UN Declaration’ or ‘UNDRIP’). On May 30, 2018, the Bill passed the third reading at the House of Commons and is now before the Senate. The IBA urges members of the Senate to adopt Bill C-262 without qualifications.

The UN Declaration was passed at the UN General Assembly more than a decade ago, yet Canada has not adopted legislation to implement its provisions. The adoption of the UN Declaration would mark a step forward for reconciliation and Indigenous rights. It would also allow Canada to move toward a real nation-to-nation relationship. This view is embodied in The Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action Number 43 which “…call[s] upon federal, provincial, territorial, and municipal governments to fully adopt and implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples as the framework for reconciliation” and Call to Action Number 44 which “…call[s] upon the Government of Canada to develop a national action plan, strategies, and other concrete measures to achieve the goals of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

At the meeting for the Indigenous and Northern Affairs Committee on May 3, 2018, Law Professor and former Justice Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond appropriately characterized her view of the UN Declaration, which the IBA shares. She stated, “I see UNDRIP, at the most fundamental level, as recognizing Indigenous rights as human rights. I believe that Bill C-262 will assist us to come closer to the point of being able to have genuine reconciliation. It's extremely positive. I don't see it as any way disruptive or threatening, knowing what I do about constitutional law, history, and how courts deal with matters. Our Constitution is based on peace, order, and good government. There are specific provisions in UNDRIP itself. All human rights have limits. It is not a radical, disruptive measure to adopt UNDRIP. It's, in fact, an incredibly helpful tool.” Turpel-Lafond further noted the ways in which the UN Declaration has been used already, such as by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal when dealing with Indigenous children and disparities in funding. At the same meeting, Law Professor John Borrows noted that the adoption of Bill C-262 will ensure both the Canadian Government and Indigenous communities are abiding by the human rights embodied in the UN Declaration.

The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and the reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.

For further information contact Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at srobertson@indigenousbar.ca


Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in congratulating Karen L. Showshoe ‘s election to Bencher on May 14, 2018 for Vancouver County!!  Ms. Snowshoe is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association

Vancouver, May 16, 2018 – Karen L. Snowshoe has been elected Bencher in the May 14, 2018, byelection for Vancouver County. Born and raised in Vancouver, Snowshoe is a member of the Tetlit-Gwich’in Nation in Fort McPherson, NT, and the first Indigenous woman to be elected a Bencher for the Law Society of British Columbia. Her term begins immediately and ends on December 31, 2019.

Since 2004, she has worked in diverse practice areas, including Indigenous issues, administrative law, arbitration and mediation. She attended the University of British Columbia, completed her law degree in 2002, and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 2004.

Her work currently focusses on providing adjudication services across Canada. Her past clients include the Indian Residential School Adjudication Secretariat, the Northwest Territories Human Rights Adjudication Panel and the Workers’ Compensation Tribunal of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

An experienced adjudicator, Snowshoe has held over 250 hearings across Canada and written 150 decisions and 20 appeal decisions. She is a member of two federal land claim arbitration panels, and recently served as senior counsel with the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Snowshoe also maintains membership in numerous professional organizations dedicated to the administration of justice.

In her election statement, Snowshoe expressed her commitment to “fairness, reconciliation and healing” in advancing the Law Society’s work in relation to truth and reconciliation, as well as to “increasing and promoting diversity at all levels of the legal profession.


The Indigenous Bar is proud to be part of developing this Guide released yesterday, May 22, 2018 at Osgoode Hall.

May 23, 2018

News Release
Guide unveiled to help the legal profession work with Indigenous People

Toronto — A brand new guide for lawyers working with Indigenous People was unveiled at a special event at Osgoode Hall in Toronto on May 22, 2018.
The Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous People was developed to provide a deeper understanding and a more meaningful inclusion of Indigenous Peoples in the legal process.
The goal of the guide is to provide a better understanding of the histories, cultures, laws, including spiritual laws, and legal orders of Indigenous Peoples. The guide also provides practical tools to help lawyers represent Indigenous clients as effectively as possible, and resources for lawyers to continue their education and improve their services to clients and others.

Developed by The Advocates’ Society, the Indigenous Bar Association and the Law Society of Ontario, the guide was produced in response to the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada, released in 2015. The TRC report included ­­94 calls to action. Specifically, call 27 was directed at the legal community, calling on it to:
Ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on Rights of Indigenous People, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

“This guide has been written to address the calls to action and be a starting resource to help lawyers and others in the justice system learn about Indigenous cultures and understand the interplay between Indigenous legal orders and the Canadian legal system,” said Sonia Bjorkquist, President, The Advocates’ Society.

To develop the guide, The Advocates’ Society established a task force in 2016, made up of individuals with experience and interest in working with Indigenous Peoples in the legal context.

For more than a year, the task force, which also benefited from the expertise and resources of the Indigenous Bar Association and the Law Society of Ontario, worked to identify key areas of focus for learning and practical guidance.

“We want to thank all those involved in the Guide’s development and review,” said Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association. “The consultations undertaken on the guide with a broad cross-section of members of the bar, bench, academia, community workers and Elders, helped immensely in putting together what we hope will be a useful resource.”

“I see the launch of this Guide as another excellent opportunity for Law Society licensees to continue to learn, not just for the sake of learning itself, but because it is the responsibility of lawyers to provide good, competent services to all Ontarians,” said Paul Schabas, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario.

A copy of the Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous People can be found here
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

Media Contact: Susan Tonkin, Communications Advisor - Media Relations - The Law Society of Upper Canada at 416-947-7605, or stonkin@lsuc.on.ca


THE IBA CONGRATULATES MARY ELLEN TURPEL-LAFOND ON HER NEW ROLE AS THE INAUGURAL DIRECTOR OF THE INDIAN RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL HISTORY AND DIALOGUE CENTRE AND LAW PROFESSOR AT UBC

OTTAWA, ON – The Indigenous Bar Association congratulates Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond on her new position at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Turpel-Lafond will be the inaugural director of the university’s new Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre (IRSHDC). The Centre officially opened April 9, 2018.

In 2017, the Supreme Court ruled in Canada (Attorney General) v Fontaine that thousands of records pertaining to abuses at residential schools collected by the TRC are confidential and should be destroyed. The Court determined that the 38,000 accounts will be retained for a 15-year period, during which time the survivors can choose to have their records preserved. UBC’s IRSHDC’s aim is to preserve the records gathered by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and provide residential school survivors access to the records. UBC News indicated that,

[Turpel-Lafond] will ensure that the voices and the experiences of people who suffered at Indian residential schools in their childhood for a century are articulated and understood… will coordinate programming for residential school survivors and initiatives to inform UBC faculty, staff, students and the public about the history and lasting effects of the Indian residential school system, and work with individuals, families and communities on addressing the continuing legacy of the schools. Her role will also assure that the centre fulfills its promise to serve as a leading location for the many forms of dialogue required to fully respond to the Calls to Action of the Canada Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

This work is essential to addressing the needs of survivors, as well as for addressing the continuing legacy of the Indian residential school system.

Turpel-Lafond will also be teaching a course on children and the law at the UBC’s Peter A. Allard School of Law. Turpel-Lafond served as British Columbia’s Representative for Children and Youth from 2006 to 2016. Prior to that she served as a Saskatchewan Provincial Court judge for nearly 10 years and taught law at the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University.

Turpel-Lafond is of Cree and Scottish descent. She is a recipient of the IBA’s Indigenous Peoples’ Counsel Award. Her past work has significantly benefitted both children and Indigenous people, and her new role will ensure this work continues. The IBA is pleased by news of Turpel-Lafond’s new endeavour and expresses its gratitude and congratulations to a well-deserving IBA member.

The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and to reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.

For further information contact Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at srobertson@indigenousbar.ca 


“Naoimi Metalllic and Scott Robertson from the IBA and Cindy Blackstock and Spirit Bear from the Child Caring Society presented on Indigenous Child Apprehension at the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Ottawa.
 – April 18, 2018 


INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION CONGRATULATES TWO NEW INDIGENOUS JUDGE APPOINTMENTS IN SASKATCHEWAN

OTTAWA, ON – The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) celebrates two outstanding female Métis lawyers who were appointed as judges in the Province of Saskatchewan on March 23rd. Mary McAuley to the Provincial Court in La Ronge and Natasha Crooks to the Provincial Court in Saskatoon.

Judge McAuley is Métis from Cumberland House in Northern Saskatchewan and is one of the only fluent nehiyawewin (Cree) speaking Métis female lawyers in the province. Her diverse experiences include representing primarily First Nation and Métis clients, being a Crown Prosecutor and a defence lawyer with legal aid. It is anticipated that these experiences will bring a perspective and awareness to the bench that will be beneficial for all Saskatchewanians, but especially for Indigenous people.

Judge Crooks is Métis and was raised in Southern Saskatchewan. She has been a devoted public servant for much of her legal career. Judge Crooks has also worked in various capacities (including on committees) with the Parole Board of Canada, helping to shape policy and direction of the board, interpreting change and providing leadership and guidance, particularly on Aboriginal issues.

Scott Robertson, President of the IBA, has expressed “huge congratulations to two deserving Métis women, who will no doubt serve their communities very well in the justice system. It is great that Saskatchewan is working toward a more representative bench in their province.” He also noted “there is no doubt that these appointments demonstrate one step in fixing the relationship with Indigenous people in Treaty 6 territory. The IBA looks forward to the work that will be accomplished in advancing justice in that province.”

The IBA is a national association comprised of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) lawyers, legal academics, elders, 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 Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association, at: srobertson@indigenousbar.ca


The Indigenous Bar Association congratulates Yvonne Boyer on her appointment to the Senate.  Senator Boyer is the first Indigenous person appointed to the Red Chamber to represent the Province of Ontario.

Senator Boyer is a member of the Métis Nation of Ontario with ancestral roots in the Métis Nation of Saskatchewan and the Red River.

A lawyer and scholar, Boyer has spent much of her career working on improving the delivery of health care services to Canada's Indigenous peoples.

In addition to running her own law practice, Boyer currently serves as the associate director of the University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law, Policy and Ethics, and as a part-time law professor.


Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in congratulating Kathleen Lickers, esteemed member of the IBA, on being awarded The Law Society Medal. Kathleen Lickers was called to the Bar in 1995.

Kathleen Lickers, a Seneca from Six Nations of the Grand River, is widely recognized for her work in Indigenous affairs. She is renowned for her expert counsel and as an accomplished negotiator between Indigenous agencies, First Nation governments and federal and provincial ministries.


THE INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION COMMENDS THE UNIVERSITY OF VICTORIA ON THE INTRODUCTION OF A NEW JOINT DEGREE PROGRAM IN CANADIAN COMMON LAW AND INDIGENOUS LEGAL ORDERS

OTTAWA, ON – The IBA enthusiastically applauds the University of Victoria’s development of a joint degree program in Canadian Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders. Students will graduate after four years with a Juris Doctor and a Juris Indigenarum Doctor (JID). News was released last week confirming funding in the provincial budget. This will be the first program of its kind in the world.

The new JID degree has been made possible due to the hard work and dedication of John Borrows and Val Napoleon, University of Victoria professors and IBA Indigenous Peoples Counsel award recipients. The program highlights that settler law is not the only law in Canada by providing formal recognition and training in the laws of an Indigenous nation at an accredited Canadian law school. Professor Karen Drake recently published a paper that notes “[r]econciliation requires replacing…colonial policies with recognition of Aboriginal peoples’ right to self-determination, which includes the right to revitalize and implement [our] own laws and governance systems.”1 The JID is an exciting and important step forward in furthering this objective.

The program is awaiting approval to commence in September 2018. The University of Victoria is requesting help getting it started. The IBA requests that if you know students who may be interested in the program, please encourage them to contact the university at lawadmss@uvic.ca. If your organization is in a position to offer a scholarship or bursary, please email the university at lawalum@uvic.ca. Further information and a program brochure can be found at https://www.uvic.ca/law/about/indigenous/jid/. The IBA wishes the University of Victoria success in its new endeavor.

The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and to reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.

For further information contact Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at srobertson@indigenousbar.ca


INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION SEEKS IMMEDIATE PROTECTION OF ALL INDIGENOUS PEOPLES

OTTAWA - The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) today expressed its outrage with the systemic racism within the justice system, particularly the jury selection process that allowed injustices to go unanswered in the death of Colten Boushie. The IBA also expresses its sincere condolences to the Boushie family and to the Red Pheasant First Nation for the loss of Colten Boushie.

The structure of Canada/s legal system has failed Colten Boushie, his family and Canada. A process built on ongoing colonialism and the continued oppression of Indigenous Peoples must end. Canada, as a bastion of equality and a beacon of human rights, must move beyond its racist and colonialist roots, not just for the Boushie family, not just for Red Pheasant First Nation, not just for Indigenous Peoples, but for Canada.

The ongoing reality is Canada remains a dangerous place to live if you are an Indigenous person.

A long history of commissions, reports and critical scholarship have underscored this stark reality, including the Manitoba Justice Inquiry, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, Justice Iacobucci's Report entitled, First Nation Representation on Ontario Juries, the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Dudley George, the Commission of Inquiry into the death of Neil Stonechild, the Royal Commission on the Wrongful Conviction of Donald Marshall Jr., the current Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Inquiry, and the Report of the United Nation's Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. When is it enough? When does the consciousness of all Canadians awaken and move to action to implement much needed change?

This breadth of study and independent research continually calls on governments, lawyers, judges and police services to recognize Indigenous legal traditions, to obtain cultural competency training about Indigenous culture, history, societal and family structures. Reforms are needed to address the systemic racism which pervades the entire criminal justice system, from police services to the jury system.

Reconciliation should not perpetuate the historical power imbalance whereby Indigenous People's lives are reduced to the point where the state can justify their extinguishment. This was certainly not the intent of the Nation-to-Nation agreements which form the basis of Canada's creation nor is this an implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, which was endorsed by Canada without qualification in 2016, with a promise of full implementation in Canadian law.

In response to this latest tragedy the IBA calls on Indigenous, Federal, Provincial, Territorial and Municipal governments to immediately adopt those calls to action as set out in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which provide for the recognition and implementation of Aboriginal justice systems in a manner consistent with the Treaty and Aboriginal rights of Aboriginal peoples, the Constitution Act, 1982.

It is time for a meaningful recalibration of the relationship where Indigenous Peoples are respected and protected in order to pursue and express our own self-determination so that senseless deaths, such as Colten Boushie's, can be avoided in the future.

The IBA is a national association comprised of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) lawyers, legal academics, elders, 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 Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at:srobertson@indigenousbar.ca.


INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION OPTIMISTIC FOR NATIONAL ENGAGEMENT ON THE RECOGNITION OF INDIGENOUS RIGHTS LEGAL FRAMEWORK
                                                              
OTTAWA - The Indigenous Bar Association (IBA) wishes to express its optimism with the announcement made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on February 14, 2018 to implement necessary reform in the federal government’s relationship with Indigenous people. We remain optimistic that the goals for reform outlined by the Prime Minister for national engagement will create a comprehensive final framework on the recognition of Indigenous rights framework for the government moving forward.

The IBA recognizes that the implementation of the Indigenous Rights Framework will further assist the government’s goals of reconciliation. This new framework has the potential to breathe new life back into Section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982 through the implementation of Aboriginal and treaty rights, the abolishment of the paternalistic Indian Act, and a full endorsement without qualification of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The Government of Canada is expecting the legislation to be unveiled before the next election in October 2019. The IBA hopes that the engagement sessions are meaningful, comprehensive, inclusive and robust to ensure that the framework reflects the need for legal reform for all Indigenous people.

We expect to hold this government to task for the Prime Minister’s statement that Canada “will have replaced apathy with action, ignorance with understanding and conflict with respect.” The Indigenous Bar Association welcomes this announcement, and looks forward to engaging with the legal community to produce a framework that serves all Indigenous peoples in Canada.

The IBA is a national association comprised of Indigenous (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) lawyers, legal academics, elders, 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 Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at: srobertson@indigenousbar.ca.


Portraits on the Wall: The Swearing in Ceremony of Chief Justice Wagner of the Supreme Court of Canada
by Christina Gray
February 8th, 2018

When I recall myself as a young Indigenous child growing up in East Vancouver, I would not have thought that one day I would attend the swearing in ceremony of the new Chief Justice at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa.  That wasn’t in the realm of possibility for me. I cared more about watching shows like Sabrina the Teenage Witch and playing outside with my friends. How different was I to the many Indigenous youth growing up today in Canada?

This past Monday, Chief Justice Wagner was appointed to the Supreme Court. For the first time in history, a Chief Justice invited the Indigenous Bar Association to the swearing in ceremony at the Supreme Court.  Chief Justice Wagner’s invitation was most appreciated.  When I entered the building, it became glaringly apparent that as an anglophone I’ve prized English over French. I was unable to understand the French security guard’s simple directions about where to put my bag. Over the course of the morning, this happened again and again as I listened to many speeches oscillating between English and French.

For most of my life in Canada, I have I never felt the imperative to learn or speak French. I have travelled to places where French is the primary language and I usually get by in English, but I always felt like I was missing out on the conversation. In Canada’s highest court it was keenly apparent that Canada’s two official languages are equally weighed. Unfortunately, growing up in British Columbia, we began learning French only in grade six, and even then, it wasn’t treated equally.

This past year, Justice Martin was named as a new jurist on the Supreme Court of Canada. The Indigenous Bar Association wrote that in the history of the Court, there has never been an Indigenous jurist. This was a missed opportunity. During my day at the Supreme Court, I was acutely aware of this absence. Even though Jody Wilson Raybould, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, is an Indigenous woman, there remains poor representation of Indigenous or diverse peoples.

As an Indigenous person, I identify as being from diverse backgrounds. I am a part of a long line of Tsimshian and Dene Indigenous ancestors born on these lands for generations, some of who were also French- and Michif-speaking Métis people. Prior to meeting Chief Justice Wagner, I looked at the portraits of former Chief Justices hanging on the walls. These portraits depicted mostly men – with the exception of former Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin – a similarity in common with most law societies and courts across the county. When will this change?

My visit to the Supreme Court reminded me that one way this judicial representation can  change is for more Indigenous lawyers to learn French so that they can are qualified for judicial appointments under the current system. In 2015, the Trudeau government implemented a bilingual requirement for all Supreme Court judges. While, it isn’t written into the Supreme Court Act that jurists at the highest court be bilingual, this policy is part of a cultural mosaic that has been foundational to Canada’s Constitution and  policies regarding bilingualism. But does it need to be this way? Are there more ways of being inclusive of Indigenous peoples in the justice system?

My ancestors spoke our Tsimshian Sm’alygax, Dene Chipewyan, and Michif languages. Unfortunately, I cannot speak my Indigenous languages – with the exception of a few words –  because of the imposition of colonial and assimilationist policies and dispossession from our traditional territories. When I travel in Canada, I try to learn of some of the protocols, laws, cultures and languages of the Indigenous peoples of the territories I am visiting. This is a small but important gesture to enact when we are guests on other people’s lands. It is important to include Indigenous representation and local Indigenous juries, language, leadership, and legal traditions into our Canadian courts, city chambers, legislatures, Parliament, and the Senate.

Inviting the Indigenous Bar Association was one important step that the Supreme Court of Canada has taken to build a better relationship with the Indigenous bar. Yet, much more is required to foster relationships through the court system and to honour its Aboriginal and treaty rights with Indigenous peoples.  I hope that in the following years, we will soon see a painting
of an Indigenous Chief Justice also adorning the walls of Canada’s highest court.


THE INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION IN CANADA (THE “IBA”) IS DELIGHTED TO ANNOUNCE THE FAVOURABLE DECISION IN WILLIAMS LAKE INDIAN BAND V CANADA (ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS AND NORTHERN DEVELOPMENT), 2018 SCC 4

Ottawa, ON – The decision, released on Friday, February 2, 2018, concerned whether the Crown in right of Canada (“Canada”) could be held responsible under the Specific Claims Tribunal Act for losses arising from events that occurred pre-Confederation. It also considered whether, if Canada could be held responsible, Canada had owed, and breached, a fiduciary obligation to the band. The decision confirmed the Specific Claims Tribunal’s (“Tribunal”) original ruling that Williams Lake Indian Band had a valid specific claim for losses arising from the breach of the Crown’s fiduciary duties. Importantly, the Supreme Court confirmed the Tribunal’s finding that “…before and after Confederation, the Crown owed the band a sui generis fiduciary obligation… [emphasis added].”

The IBA acted as an intervenor in this case and was represented in court by IBA President Scott Robertson and Chris Albinati. The IBA Board and membership wishes to thank them for their hard work and congratulate them on their resulting success. Notably, Justice Wagner (now the Chief Justice) in his majority decision echoed sentiments provided in the factum submitted by the IBA - “A just resolution of these types of claims is essential to the process of reconciliation.” (at paragraph 2). The IBA supports Williams Lake Indian Band in their continued struggle to regain their traditional lands and hopes this decision is a first step on their journey to reconciliation.

The Indigenous Bar Association is a national association comprised of Indigenous lawyers (practicing and non-practicing), legal academics and scholars, articling clerks and law students, including graduate and post-graduate law students. We are mandated to promote the advancement of legal and social justice for Indigenous peoples in Canada and to reform of laws and policies affecting Indigenous peoples.

For further information contact Scott Robertson, President of the Indigenous Bar Association at srobertson@indigenousbar.ca.


Paul Favel appointed to the Federal Court

The Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (the "IBA") congratulates Paul Favel Q.C. on his recent appointment as a federal court judge

Justice Favel is a member and former Councillor of the Poundmaker Cree Nation. As a partner at the Saskatchewan-based law firm McKercher LLP, Justice Favel specialized in Aboriginal law with a particular focus on corporate and commercial law for First Nations clients.  He obtained a Bachelor of Arts from Dalhousie University and is a member of both the Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia bars.  He was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2010 and served as Deputy Chief Commissioner with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.  He has also served in numerous volunteer and other professional capacities throughout Canada

As a federal court judge, Justice Favel will hear and decide on issues in respect of, among other items, federal boards, commissions and tribunals.  The Court's jurisdiction includes disputes pertaining to band councils and other Indigenous administrative and quasi-judicial bodies.  The Federal Court has become a common interface between Indigenous peoples and the justice system and a forum in which important Indigenous precedents are regularly established.  Justice Favel maintains a sterling reputation in the legal community which is overshadowed only by his selfless pursuit of justice for Indigenous peoples. The importance of appointing prominent individuals such as Justice Favel to the federal court cannot be overstated, particularly given Canada's commitment to achieving and implementing reconciliation. 
The IBA applauds Justice Favel's virtuous character and continuing dedication to his community.  He is  a stellar example of what Indigenous peoples have come to expect from members of Canada's judiciary.  


INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION COMMITTED TO EMPOWERING INDIGENOUS PEOPLES TO MEANINGFULLY EXERCISE THEIR RIGHT TO BELONG TO AN INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY OR NATION

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.

Read Full Release


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.

Read Full Announcement


INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION ONCE MORE EXPRESSES ITS DISAPPOINTMENT WITH PRIME MINISTER JUSTIN TRUDEAU’S FAILURE TO NOMINATE AN INDIGENOUS CANDIDATE TO THE SUPREME COURT OF CANADA

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”.

Read Full Release


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


IBA Foundation ESSAY PRIZE

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.


THE INDIGENOUS BAR ASSOCIATION IN CANADA CONGRATULATES ANGELIQUE EAGLEWOMAN ON HER APPOINTMENT AS DEAN OF LAKEHEAD UNIVERSITY’S BORA LASKIN FACULTY OF LAW

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

An exciting opportunity exists in the position of Chair of the Mercury Disability Board, to provide strategic direction and guidance on issues impacting First Nation communities in Ontario.
Click here for more info…

Applications are invited for a Senior Instructor position that will encompass teaching, educational scholarship, and educational leadership in the School of Health Administration (50%) and the Schulich School of Law (50%) commencing July 1, 2018.
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National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Gir1s is seeking for a Director, Research. Director, Research is accountable for the planning, development  and implementation of a notional research program and strategies in support of the Commission of Notional Inquiry; for the leading  of the Commission research activities; and for the identification of causes and the development of recommendations or options to address systemic violence against Indigenous women and girls.
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Gwich’in Tribal Council is seeking for a In-House Legal Counsel in Inuvik, Northwest Territories
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Hensel Barristers Professional Corporation is looking for a young lawyer to join a busy Indigenous law firm and tackle systemic discrimination head-on through excellent advocacy and meaningful client engagement.
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Goldblatt Partners LLP is looking for a junior litigator to join our Ottawa office. The successful candidate will work primarily in the areas of labour and employment law, litigating on behalf of unions and employees before arbitrators, workplace tribunals, and courts. There may also be the opportunity to expand the civil litigation practice in our Ottawa office, including our public interest litigation.
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The Six Nations Justice Program’s Victim Services is currently seeking for Indigenous Staff Lawyer
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The Schulich School of Law is currently seeking for a full-time limited term teaching appointment.
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ALS is a multi-service Aboriginal controlled agency with its main office located in Toronto, Ontario and satellite offices throughout the GTA and Ontario. We are currently seeking a Senior Staff Lawyer and Courtworker Supervisor for a one-year contract. Click here for more info…

Wortzmans, a division of McCarthy Tétrault LLP, is seeking contract lawyers for immediate support on a three to six month project. Although training will be in Toronto, Ontario, the position can be based in any location within Canada.
Click here for more info…

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.
Click here for more info…

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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University of Saskatchewan Native Law Centre 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
Click here for more info…

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.
Click here for more info…

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. 
Click here for more info…

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!
Click here for more info…

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.
Click here for more info…

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.
Click here for more info…

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.
Click here for more info…

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.
Click here for more info…


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 - 30th Annual IBA Fall Conference

SAVE THE DATE

The Indigenous Bar Association is pleased to announce our30th Annual Conference's theme will be kâ wanâhtâhk isîhcikewina (in nêhiyawêwin) or Systems Disruption. It will be held in Saskatoon at the Delta Bessborough from November 1-3, 2018.

 

Conference Information

 


LEGISLATION WATCH

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.



Opportunities

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. 

To view postings


Past Conferences

26th Annual IBA Conference



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