Canada’s law societies have signed an updated agreement that covers permanent mobility rules for Canada’s three northern territories, ensuring easier transfers by members of the legal profession between the territories and Quebec. The signing ceremony with representatives of all of Canada’s legal regulators was held April 3, 2014 in Saskatchewan’s historic Government House. The Territorial Mobility Agreement 2013 follows the signing in October 2013 of a protocol agreed to by the provincial law societies that breaks down remaining barriers to seamless mobility of the legal profession between Canada’s two legal traditions, the civil law in the province of Quebec, and the common law in the other parts of Canada.
Federation President Marie-Claude Bélanger-Richard, Q.C., said the signing of the Territorial Mobility Agreement 2013 reinforces what many in the profession have been saying for a long time “There are more similarities in legal training and in daily practice in these two legal traditions than there are differences. All law societies now acknowledge that crossing provincial and territorial borders should be as easy for a lawyer moving from Montreal to Iqaluit as it is for one who moves from Regina to Winnipeg.”
The National Mobility Agreement 2013 covers both permanent and temporary mobility rules and was signed by the provincial law societies in a similar ceremony in October 2013 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. The Territorial Mobility Agreement 2013 deals with permanent mobility rules only, in keeping with the existing arrangements with the territories that have been in effect since 2006.
“These occasions remind us why the Federation exists in the first place. One might ask, in this new world of mobility of the legal profession, whether there are any principled reasons why there should be local differences in approach to legal regulation. The answer of course, is no” Ms. Bélanger-Richard told those present for the signing ceremony. “That is why national mobility is the driving force behind all Federation’s national initiatives, which are designed or developed to achieve consistency across Canada in how law societies fulfill their regulatory functions. The public should expect no less.”
As with the National Mobility Agreement 2013, the Territorial Mobility Agreement 2013 will go into effect once fully implemented by the provincial and territorial law societies.