The Federation is setting up an Indigenous Advisory Council (IAC) to provide guidance and advice on the Federation’s reconciliation work. As set out in its Terms of Reference the IAC will comprise Indigenous peoples representing different regions, cultures, age groups and gender identities. The IAC will guide and support the Federation’s efforts to build relationships with Indigenous stakeholders and support other Federation initiatives as needed, and will provide recommendations to Federation Council where appropriate. (September 2021)
In June 2020, the Council of the Federation voted to approve a series of recommendations from the Federation’s Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee that chart a path forward for the Federation on its journey towards reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The recommendations are set out in a report from the Advisory Committee. The Federation also adopted, in December 2020, a public statement of commitment to reconciliation that includes a set of guiding principles intended to inform all of the Federation’s work. (December 2020)
In 2017, the Federation established a Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action Advisory Committee. The Committee was composed of 10 members, six of whom represented First Nations, Métis or Inuit communities. Members also represented the Federation Council, law societies, the legal academy and Indigenous organizations. The mandate of the committee is to facilitate the exchange of information about law society initiatives and those of other stakeholders, to develop recommendations in response to Calls to Action 27 and 28 (Indigenous cultural competency training for lawyers and law students), 50 (Indigenous Law Institutes) and any other Calls to Action the Advisory Committee considers appropriate. (March 2017)
In 2016, the Federation first committed to respond to the Calls to Action in a manner that respectfully engages representatives of Canada’s Indigenous peoples and promotes reconciliation. Fundamental to this commitment was the recognition that responding to the Calls to Action is a shared responsibility of the law societies and the Federation. (March 2016)
To begin its national dialogue on developing an appropriate response to the TRC Calls to Action, the Federation made the TRC the focus of its annual conference in October 2015. There, we heard from law societies, academics, Indigenous leaders and key stakeholders that the response must be meaningful and prompt, and include direct collaboration with Indigenous peoples. There was also a consensus that responding should be a priority for both the law societies and the Federation, and that any response should take into account not only the Calls specific to regulators, but also the full range of recommendations in the report. (October 2015)
Photo: Darrel Pink, Executive Director of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society moderated a panel discussion on why lawyers need to be culturally competent. Panelists included the Honourable Justice Leonard S. (Tony) Mandamin, Federal Court of Canada; Aimée Craft, Professor, University of Manitoba; and Lorne Sossin, Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University.