Overview of National PD

The CBA is a national Professional Development provider. Our audience includes CBA members, as well as non-members within the legal community and in related fields in Canada and abroad.

WHAT WE DO:

The CBA typically delivers approximately 15-20 In-Person Conferences in the Spring and Fall, as well as approximately 50 live webinar programs. Due to the pandemic, internal shifts had to happen, offering Sections an opportunity to pivot by delivering in-person conferences as online symposia and allowing a larger selection of online webinars. Since the start of the pandemic and the shift from in-person to online, the CBA has delivered over 110 live webinars. Until it is determined that we can all meet safely in-person, the CBA will continue to provide online symposia in the place of in-person conferences.

IN-PERSON CONFERENCES/ONLINE SYMPOSIA:

N.B. Due to the pandemic, we will not be hosting any in-person conferences until further notice.

The National PD Department considers and approves proposals for PD conferences submitted by National Sections and Committees. Those interested in developing a conference should be aware that it requires an active commitment of eight to twelve months. A motivated conference Chair and strong organizing committee, with time to dedicate to a project this size, are both essential to ensure success. Sections with well-established conferences generally try to include past Section conference organizers, at least one person who resides in the conference location, one of the Section officers and several more volunteers. At least one or two organizing committee members for every half day of PD programming would be ideal, in order to share the workload.

An online symposium involves a national conference program that has shifted online. CBA Online Symposia comprise multiple webinars. This approach requires a similar level of effort from volunteers, as content drivers. Once the content is delivered, PD staff will manage program layout/logistics. Priority is given to existing conference programs affected by pandemic cancellations.

CBA LAW SERIES WEBINARS:

Law Series webinars are delivered live online and accessed by participants through a web link. The sessions are interactive, allowing attendees to watch slide presentations, participate in polls, ask questions to the presenters and download supplementary materials.

We encourage all Sections to submit Law Series proposals. Suitable topics may include recent substantive and procedural law developments, practice management and risk management strategies, 'hot' legal topics, analysis of recent important decisions, or lawyers' obligations under their respective law societies. The CBA PD Department gives preference to topics that are timely, national in scope, and broad in appeal. Selected webinar panelists must respect the CBA's policy on speaker selection.

SUBMITTING A PD PROPOSAL

Proposal forms must be submitted to the CBA PD Department for consideration. Deadlines for receipt of PD proposals are as follows:

  • Online Symposia
    • Please advise the PD Department of your Section’s interest in hosting an online symposium; more information to be provided
  • In-Person Conferences
    • Due to the pandemic, we are not accepting any new proposals at this time
  • EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) Series Webinars
    • October 8, 2021 (for a fall 2021 program)
    • January 7, 2022 (for a winter/spring 2022 program)
    • Webinar proposal form

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND:

Audience:

Who do you want to attract?

Program Duration:

Law Series and EDI Series webinars are generally 90 minutes. Online symposia typically consist of three 90-minute webinars with 30-minute breaks in between sessions and take place over one to three non-consecutive days. Typically, in-person programs range from a half day to a full week, although most conferences are 1 to 2 days long.

Timing:

Due to holidays, CBA PD does not schedule programs between December 15 and January 10, or between June 30 and August 31. Major religious holidays should also be considered when scheduling programs.

Location:

Online webinars are hosted via the Zoom webinar platform. A link is emailed to participants with viewing instructions so that live webinars may be watched on participants’ personal electronic devices in the location of their choice.

In-person programs are most successful in large urban centres. With some exceptions, it can be difficult to attract delegates to more remote areas.

Format:

For online webinars, the CBA can accommodate a variety of delivery styles in order to best meet the needs of your program. Options include panel presentations, debates, fact situations and case studies and live polls.

For in-person events, we can accommodate a variety of delivery styles that best suit your program. Options include: panel presentations, debates, workshops, demonstrations, mock trials, fact situations and case studies.

Bilingualism:

The CBA is a bilingual organization. Online webinars are offered in the language of the presenters and as agreed upon with the Director of PD. Depending on available funding as well as audience needs, online webinars may be offered in both official languages with prior approval from the Director of PD. Program descriptions are either bilingual or advertised by language of instruction. Programs offered in-person in the National Capital Region, in Quebec, and in regions with a significant concentration of both language groups, are presented in a bilingual format. Program descriptions are either bilingual or include a French summary.

Speaker Selection:

Speaker selection for CBA National PD programs must be made in accordance with the CBA Policy on Speaker Selection. In selecting qualified speakers, consideration should be given to geographical representation, gender, language, race, ethnicity, cultural background, sexual orientation and disability.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

Program chair(s) and organizing committee members are responsible for the substantive content of the PD program, and serve as the primary point of contact for all parties to the program.

The PD Manager and staff work with the program chair(s) to facilitate the development of the program and are responsible for logistical, contractual and financial arrangements. If approved, all PD programs must be developed under the auspices of the PD Department, in keeping with existing policies and procedures.

NON-CBA PD EVENTS

Events offered by outside organizations will generally not be promoted to CBA members. Links to educational programs offered by "friendly organizations" may be posted if, in the judgment of the PD Director, there is no conflict with CBA programming. Additional information is contained in the promotion of non-CBA events policy.

For additional information on CBA National PD programming, please contact: pd@cba.org.