The Power of a National Organization


The Power of a National Organization

CBABC is proud to be a vibrant, active Branch within the Canadian Bar Association. No matter which way you look at it, the Branch is strong and healthy, and members engage in the services, programs and benefits delivered in British Columbia.  Our volunteers are second to none and because of them, members enjoy interesting Section activities, benefit from thoughtful law and policy reform submissions, and the Board of Directors is informed by opinions and experiences shared by a cross-section of members.

One benefit of membership in the Canadian Bar Association is exactly that. It is Canadian. It is Canada’s largest legal network, by lawyers, for lawyers. With a diverse network of more than 36,000 legal professionals, CBA provides the strength, size and scope to support the careers and businesses of its members.

So what does that mean for you? First of all, every member can attend professional development webinars delivered from anywhere in the country. From diversity and inclusion to substantive law developments to practice skills, you can enhance your work with the benefit of perspectives from other jurisdictions. The full program is here and each week in News & Jobs, we highlight key programs like the Digital Literacy Series.

Secondly, for those whose practice areas have a federal legislative element, or whose interests include a national scope, your local Section enrollment automatically connects you to the corresponding National Section.  Whether it is the Brown Bag lunch series of Public Sector Lawyers, or the Tax Matters Toolkit developed by the Family Law Section, or the celebration of Global Pride led by SOGIC, the national scope of CBA connects you to your peers and gives you opportunities and resources. This much-appreciated pan-Canadian connection beyond our own workplaces is what makes CBA unique.

For members who want to deepen their engagement in their professional association and enjoy thinking about national applications and implications, there are many volunteer opportunities. Craig Yamishiro, Deputy Regional Crown Counsel from New Westminster, chairs the National Ethics sub-Committee. Margot Spence, Corporate Counsel at ICBC, becomes the chair of the CBA Canadian Corporate Counsel Association in September. Alexis Kerr of Norton Rose Fulbright chaired the Privacy Law Section. These are but a few of the British Columbia leaders sharing their talents with the country.

Our national Sections and committees work on federal law reform as well as the co-ordination of submissions that have provincial applicability. The power of a 36,000-member strong organization carries weight in those discussions. Recently the Criminal Justice Section prepared an advocacy plan to limit the disclosure of non-conviction information when responding to criminal record checks. Tony Paisana of Peck & Company, is the lead of that project which in turn supports the CBABC advocacy efforts.

Other federal measures which affect the business of law, such as income tax rules affecting private practice lawyers, or the federal funding contributions to legal aid which affects our local delivery systems, rely on the CBA National structure of volunteers and staff to represent our collective views and achieve changes from Ottawa.

I encourage all of you to gain the most you can from your CBA membership by exploring some of these pan-Canadian resources and opportunities. Check out the website to learn more from PracticeLink, the National magazine, and access the full complement of member programs and services.

As you complete your membership renewal for this upcoming year, bookmark the CBABC website as well, and make a plan to engage with your professional association more this year. The value of membership increases the more you connect. You won’t regret it.