CBA to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Task Force

  • July 10, 2018

At its June meeting the CBA Board of Directors agreed to establish a task force to further the goals set out in a 2016 resolution calling on the CBA to take steps in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action to redress the legacy of residential schools and advance the process of Canadian reconciliation.

The task force will report to the Governance and Equality Committee which will, in turn, report on its progress to the Board of Directors.

The CBA urged the government to adopt all 94 Calls to Action when the TRC report was released, and the resolution passed in August 2016 set out its commitment to advance those CTAs, many of which have implications for the justice system.

Throughout the CBA, there are already several activities underway in support of the CTAs. The task force will shine a light on that work and support more coordinated efforts.  It has a relatively short mandate to start some initiatives in the coming year, and to recommend further work with budget proposals for 2019-2020.

The task force’s deliverables include:

  • A training component for use in CBA professional development programs to educate lawyers on the legacy of the Indian residential school system and a plan for implementing the component
  • Materials for teaching cultural competency and the legacy of the Indian residential school legacy to lawyers and others
  • Draft CBA policies that might support particular TRC Calls to Action
  • Materials for a web page where users can access materials relating to the Calls to Action
  • Agreement by the Federation of Law Societies to change the Model Code of Professional Conduct to require lawyers to educate themselves on the Indian residential school legacy
  • A program to deliver cultural competency training to CBA staff and a plan to implement the program
  • Preparation for a study on the barriers, if any, to indigenous lawyers participating in the CBA and recommendations to remove those barriers and engage indigenous lawyers
  • A review of the commitments made in the August 2016 resolution and recommendations on the continuing value and necessity of those commitments

The Governance and Equality Committee will appoint the task force members in July. These will include three members from the Aboriginal Law Section, four members from national Section executives who have a demonstrated interest in the work of the TRC, three CBA members who respond to an open call, and the President or the President’s designate. The Task Force will make an interim report to the Board in November and a final report in January 2019.

If you’re a CBA member who’s already demonstrated a commitment to advancing the TRC’s Calls to Action and are interested in serving on the task force, today is the deadline to apply.

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