Developing Firm Messaging on Reconciliation Work

This resource contains three sections:

  1. An outline for law firm Truth and Reconciliation messaging
  2. A template for law firm Truth and Reconciliation messaging
  3. Important considerations 

Outline for Law Firm T&R Messaging

  • Why your law firm is committed to T&R.
  • Company-wide support and endorsement for law firm T&R.
  • References to the TRC Calls to Action.
  • References to provincial/territorial/law society/local TRC Calls to Action or commitments.
  • Reference your law firm’s Reconciliation Action Plan with specific goals and objectives related to areas such as (but are not limited to): Governance and Leadership, Education, Employment, Systems Change, Procurement, Supporting Indigenous communities and businesses. 
  • Reference Indigenous advisors as well as Indigenous lawyers at your firm who are part of your T&R work.

Template Corporate Messaging regarding Truth and Reconciliation

In 2015, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) released its final report that documented a dark chapter in Canadian history. It exposed the painful truths about the Indian residential school system and the inter-generational trauma still being experienced today by survivors and their descendants. The TRC called it cultural genocide.

We must never repeat what former Prime Minister Stephen Harper, in the government’s apology to residential school survivors in 2008, called a “policy of assimilation [that] was wrong, has caused great harm, and has no place in our country.”

As part of its final report, the TRC issued 94 Calls to Action that outline various actions that Canadians and those working in all sectors of society can do to advance reconciliation. The report calls on corporate Canada to do this through [education, systems change, employment, and support—add or modify based on the topics you want to include in the details below].

Call to Action #27 specifically references lawyers:

We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, 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.

[If the law firm is located in one province, link to statements from the provincial law society about reconciliation. “[law firm] agrees with the Truth and Reconciliation statement/policy/plan that states: “…..]

[insert a quote from the law firm’s senior executive about why this is important that demonstrates the commitment being made to T&R.]

[Name of law firm] is committed to Truth and Reconciliation by establishing and maintaining a mutually respectful relationship with First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, communities and governments in the communities in which we live and work.

We commit to inclusive working environments and positive relationships with Indigenous clients, partners, suppliers and employees.

As part of [name of firm]’s obligation to Truth and Reconciliation, we commit to [developing a Reconciliation Action Plan which will address] the following:


[list ways that the firm is offering opportunities for employees to increase awareness and intercultural competency, including The Path, webinars, presentations, cultural teachings, guest speakers, etc.]

Systems Change

[list ways that the firm is making changes to advance reconciliation, such as developing a Reconciliation Action Plan, updating policies and procedures, leading by example, etc.]


[list ways that the firm is improving Indigenous recruitment and retention through initiatives with Indigenous students, Indigenous legal professionals, inclusive HR processes, increasing the number of Indigenous employees, etc.]


[list ways that the firm supports Indigenous communities, businesses and individuals such as scholarships, procurement opportunities, corporate social responsibility, art bank purchases, volunteering, etc.]

Reconciliation is not a destination. As Senator Murray Sinclair, former Chair of the TRC said, 

We need to be able to look at this from the perspective of ‘where do we want to be in three or four or five or seven generations from now when we talk about the relationship between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in this country… Reconciliation will be about ensuring that everything we do today is aimed at that high standard of restoring that balance to that relationship.

Important Considerations and Sample Statements

Here are some important considerations when drafting your statement:

  • Ensure you update your Reconciliation Action Plan messaging periodically to reflect those aspects that have been approved and implemented.
  • Consider uploading your plan to your firm’s website for greater transparency.
  • Consider adding a quote from one of your firm’s partners, senior leadership or Indigenous partners to demonstrate commitment ”from the top.”