Taking Action on Reconciliation

 

Download

Taking Action
on Reconciliation

TRWG Final Report
to Provincial Council

The CBABC Executive Committee passed a resolution at its meeting on November 18, 2016 to establish a Truth & Reconciliation Working Group (TRWG) to respond to the Calls to Action related to Justice and within Provincial jurisdiction, including Calls to Action 27 and 28. The TRWG was approved and launched at Provincial Council on January 28, 2017.

The TRWG prepared The Truth & Reconciliation Working Group Final Report which was approved by Provincial Council at its September 29, 2018 meeting. The report proposes an action plan to establish goals for the CBABC in upcoming years in several areas, such as including reconciliation in the context of our Section and Professional Development programming, providing resources for law firms, expanding Indigenous leadership in the legal profession, and advocacy.

The sections below summarize CBABC’s action plan and progress in key areas.

In addition, we provide links to other useful resources and background on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.

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The CBABC will: 

  • integrate Indigenous cultural competency within future professional development;
  • encourage Sections and Forums to integrate components of the Reconciliation Action and Implementation Plan, including consideration of issues related to the Calls to Action, UNDRIP, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples generally, into their meetings and systems, where appropriate;
  • develop resources for Sections and Forums to facilitate that integration;
  • take an inventory of the professional development programs provided CBABC regarding the Calls to Action, UNDRIP and Indigenous cultural competency and identify gaps in that inventory, as well as identify ways in which those gaps may be filled, and take steps to ensure that is done;
  • encourage the recruitment of Indigenous lawyers and non-lawyers as speakers and advisors to professional development programs, and where appropriate, for Section and Forum meetings;
  • support moves by the Law Society of British Columbia to improve the cultural competency of all lawyers, including cultural competency as part of the mandatory continuing professional development ethics requirement; and advocate for other professional development services providers, including both not-for profit and for-profit organizations, to include components of the Calls to Action and cultural competency within their professional development programs and materials.

The CBABC will support the capacity of its own leadership and staff to meet the Calls to Action, including by:

  • educating members of its Provincial Council, Executive Committee and staff about the TRC recommendations and Indigenous and Canadian history, particularly the role that the law played in Canada’s history of colonialism; and providing cultural competency training to these groups.
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The CBABC sought to develop strategies to encourage and enable law firms to put in place specific action plans to operationalize observable indicators and quantifiable outcomes for achieving the Calls to Action.

To assist the legal profession in responding to the Calls of action, the law firm resources & guides sub-committee worked to develop training materials, sample action plans, and other resources that would allow firms to take positive steps towards reconciliation.

In particular, the CBABC developed a set of template materials to help firms develop a Reconciliation Response Plan (“RRP”). RRPs are designed to assist law firms to take steps  within their power to advance reconciliation, and in particular the Calls to Action in the areas of justice and equality for Aboriginal people in the legal system, through their work, their workplace, client relationships, community activities, and the development of their corporate team. 

The CBABC will promote the adoption of RRPs by law firms within British Columbia.

The CBABC will also liaise with other bodies who are working to develop reconciliation resources for the private section (including the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation).

The Law Firm Resources & Guides WorkPlan and RRP templates are available here.

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Also flowing from the Final Report was the recommendation of the TRWG that the CBABC retain the services of a Truth and Reconciliation Officer. This position will assist the Truth & Reconciliation Working Group and CBABC to, inter alia, integrate Indigenous cultural competency within future professional development, and work with Sections and Forums to integrate components of the Reconciliation Action and implementation Plan, as necessary.

CBABC is pleased to welcome Leah George-Wilson to our branch as the Truth & Reconciliation Officer. Leah is a well-known and respected Indigenous leader who practices in the area of Indigenous law. She was the first woman to serve as Chief of the Tsleil-Waututh Nation, a position she held for 6 years.

The CBABC has to date:

  • Created a space for an Aboriginal lawyer (the ALF chair or designate) on its Executive Committee;
  • Created space for ALF representatives on:
  • BarTalk Editorial Committee
  • Government Relations Committee
  • Advisory Committee to Judicial Council of BC
  • Welcomed and encouraged Indigenous lawyer participation in the Truth and Reconciliation Working Group.

The CBABC will continue to work to identify opportunities for Indigenous lawyers in the governance of the CBABC.

The CBABC will encourage, by sharing the Reconciliation Action and Implementation Plan and  support steps taken by the CBA (national) and other CBA branches to promote leadership roles for Indigenous members.

The CBABC will work to support efforts aimed at:

  • recruitment, retention and advancement of Indigenous lawyers within the legal  profession; and
  • involving Indigenous lawyers in the governance of and in leadership roles with other legal organizations including the Law Society of BC.

The CBABC will encourage application by and appointment of Indigenous lawyers to the bench.

The CBABC will advocate that the Law Society include Indigenous writers to update and include Indigenous elements to PLTC materials.

Read Appendix F from the TRWG Final Report on Indigenous Leadership Expanding at CBABC here.

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The CBABC advocates for a culturally appropriate and culturally responsive legal system that is focused on improving outcomes for Indigenous people and reducing their over-representation in the adult and youth criminal justice systems and the child welfare system.

This includes:

  • Restorative justice initiatives
  • Indigenous courts
  • Expansion of legal aid services
  • Child protection reform
  • Enhanced cultural competence among all justice system participants
  • Indigenous-specific victim services

The CBABC Government Relations committee will develop strategies for external advocacy on these issues and will implement those strategies.

The CBABC will build connections with the BC Aboriginal Justice Council (“BCAJC”) and look for ways to assist and give prominence to their advocacy work.

The CBABC will advocate within the legal profession, including with the Law Society, CLEBC and other organizations, about the matters set out above.

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The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada released its Executive Summary Report on June 2, 2015, along with 94 Calls to Action, and on December 15, 2015, it released its Final Report. The Calls to Action are aimed at redressing the legacy of residential schools and advancing the process of reconciliation. As of December 18, 2015, the work of the TRC was transfered to the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation. You can access the materials below and others by visiting www.trc.ca.

Truth and Reconcilitation Commission of Canada: CALLS TO ACTION

Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada
‚ÄčAudio Version (by Chapter)

What We Have Learned: Principles of Truth and Reconciliation

The Journey to Cultural Competency  |  January 27, 2018
The Honourable Judge Alex Wolf, Provincial Court Judge for Provincial Court of British Columbia

Other Reconciliation Resources of Interest

Territory acknowledgement is a way that people insert an awareness of Indigenous presence and land rights in everyday life. This acknowledgement appropriately takes place at the commencement of courses, meetings or conferences, and presentations (given either at one’s home, institution or elsewhere).

This site is great in advising you which territories to acknowledge when you are speaking/presenting at an event/meeting. Simply type in the city where you will be speaking, and the website will populate the various territories to acknowledge.

Sample: "We would like to recognize that this [meeting/event] is taking place on the traditional and unceded territories of the ____________ First Nations, and we thank them for their hospitality."

Access the search tool Territory Acknowledgement by Native-Land

First Nations in BC Knowledge Network

The First Nations in BC Knowledge Network was developed by the First Nations Technology Council with the generous support from the New Relationship Trust and the valued input of many organizations and First Nations in BC.

The First Nations in BC Knowledge Network is a hub for First Nations in the province to share ideas, tools, and best practices on many aspects of governance and community development. One of the tools is a BC Directory which includes comprehensive lists of First Nations communities, organizations, and partners. Use the Directory to explore, find contacts, or learn more about groups from across BC.

Access the First Nations BC Directory