Federation News Archive - 2021

Federation Statement in Support of Afghan Women Judges

The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is deeply concerned about the risks to women judges and their families in Afghanistan due to the takeover of that country by the Taliban. An independent judiciary, free from interference or threat, is a cornerstone of the Rule of Law. The existence of that institution in any viable, democratic society is made possible by the efforts and sacrifices of the women and men who are devoted to building it and ensuring its success on a daily basis. Recent news reports suggest that many individuals who have invested in the successful administration of justice in Afghanistan, be they judges, lawyers, or other justice system stakeholders, are under threat. Such reports also underscore that women in the judiciary in Afghanistan are at particular risk arising directly from their efforts to build a fair and effective judicial branch as part of a legal system that comports with international norms. The approximately 270 women judges faced serious threats even before the recent fall of the elected Afghan government. Those threats have been greatly intensified since the Taliban seized control of Afghanistan, and developments in recent days indicate a rapidly deteriorating situation. We note the commitment of the Canadian government to bring 20,000 at risk Afghanis to Canada. We recognize that evacuating people from Afghanistan is very difficult, but we urge the Canadian government to do everything it can, whether by resuming its evacuation efforts or by working with its international partners, to ensure that Afghan women judges and their families who wish to leave the country are counted among the vulnerable individuals who are worthy of urgent assistance and protection. The Federation of Law Societies of Canada is the national coordinating body of the 14 law societies which are mandated by provincial and territorial law to regulate Canada’s 126,400 lawyers, Quebec’s 3,800 notaries and Ontario’s 12,700 licensed paralegals in the public interest.

Statement Regarding the Kamloops Indian Residential School

All of us are still processing news of the discovery of a mass gravesite of children attending the Kamloops Indian Residential School. The reaction to this news has evoked a profoundly wide range of emotions in all Canadians, especially those who are a part of the Indigenous community and more especially the members of the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation.  Some of those emotions have been shock, profound sadness, grief, and anger. On behalf of the Council of the Federation, I wish to express our condolences to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc peoples and all those affected by the discovery of the mass gravesite, being evidence of tragic events that will forever stain our nation. I believe it is incumbent on all of us to personally reflect on this tragedy and how we might each do a small part in healing the wounds that have been opened and re-opened for many as a result of these events. As legal regulators, one of our roles is to ensure that legal professionals in this country are educated about the legacy of the Indian Residential School system in Canada, as well as the consequences of that policy on Indigenous peoples and communities today. Part of our mission is to ensure that we do not perpetuate historical wrongs. Steve Raby, Q.C., President Federation of Law Societies of Canada

CanLII President to Step Down

Xavier Beauchamp-Tremblay has announced his intention to step down as President and CEO of CanLII (the Canadian Legal Information Institute) after six years of service, to pursue new opportunities. He will remain in the position until a successor is found. “It has been a privilege to serve as CanLII’s President and CEO and to work with an outstanding team of dedicated and talented employees,” Beauchamp-Tremblay said. “The product enhancements we released in the last year have completed the vision I had for CanLII when I joined. We have many ideas about what could come next, and I'm excited for the future of the organization, but I feel it's time to let someone else take the lead as CanLII looks ahead to its next Strategic Plan.” “It has been an absolute pleasure working with Xavier” says Crystal O’Donnell, Chair of the CanLII Board of Directors. “He has done an outstanding job leading CanLII and preparing the organization for its future. He was especially instrumental in the acquisition of Lexum, CanLII’s technology provider. Xavier will be greatly missed and we wish him only the best as he embarks on his next adventure.” “With his keen interest in technology and its potential for the legal profession, Xavier provided leadership that brought CanLII to the next level in terms of content and resources” Steve Raby, President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada added. ”The success of those improvements is reflected in the fact the number of visitors to the site increased by 39 per cent from 2018 to 2020, when CanLII recorded 15 million site visits.” CanLII is a not-for-profit organization created by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada with the support of all of Canada’s 14 law societies that regulate Canada’s legal professions in the public interest. It is the premiere source of online Canadian legal information, including legislation, case law and commentaries, and is offered for free to the legal profession and the public. Mr. Beauchamp-Tremblay became President and CEO of CanLII in 2015. During his tenure at CanLII, significant enhancements were made to the service to improve the user experience. At the same time, CanLII’s historical primary law collections were expanded, as was its robust open access commentary collection. In 2018, CanLII laid the foundation for its long-term sustainability with its acquisition of Lexum Inc, a Montreal - based technology company that specializes in SaaS turnkey solutions for…