Vancouver – As the Assembly of First Nations arrives in Vancouver this week for its Annual General Assembly, the Law Society of British Columbia has been welcoming delegates with the announcement that the Benchers have approved a Truth and Reconciliation Action Plan. Developed in consultation with Indigenous community leaders, the action plan marks an important step toward transforming Indigenous people’s experiences with lawyers and the legal system.
The action plan calls for ensuring intercultural competence of all lawyers.
Indigenous intercultural competence training was recently approved as a component of the continuing professional development program for lawyers, and the Law Society has added Indigenous intercultural competence, Indigenous child welfare, and Indigenous sentencing sessions to its Professional Legal Training Course, which is required for the admission of new lawyers to the Bar in British Columbia.
The action plan builds on steps the Law Society took after the Truth and Reconciliation Commission released its findings in 2015 to create a permanent advisory committee to advise the Benchers on justice issues affecting Indigenous people. The advisory committee is co-chaired by Law Society vice-president Nancy Merrill, QC, and Grand Chief Ed John. Other committee members include Professor John Borrows; Craig Ferris, QC; Dean Lawton, QC; Claire Marshall; Michael McDonald, QC; and Ardith Walkem, QC.