September 23, 2022

A Guide to the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada developed 94 Calls to Action after hearing the stories from survivors and their families about the impacts of “Indian Residential School.” Call to Action 80, “[C]alls upon the federal government in collaboration with Indigenous peoples to establish a statutory holiday for Truth and Reconciliation to honour Indian Residential School survivors, their families, and communities and to ensure the public commemoration of history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”

Since 2013, Orange Shirt Day has been observed by Indigenous peoples and their allies to honour the Indigenous children who were sent to residential schools in Canada. In 2021, the federal government passed legislative amendments that adhered to Call to Action 80, to establish Sept. 30 as an annual federal statutory day of commemoration known as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Participate on Sept. 30

Sept. 30 is meant to be a day of reflection as well as a day of action. If you have not yet completed the Path (Law Society of Alberta), we encourage you to use this day to do so. For most lawyers, the Oct. 20 deadline is fast approaching. There are also other resources available and events taking place for those seeking to learn more about the history and the impacts of Indian Residential Schools. Find out more about these resources and events by reading the full article.

Allyship is another way to show action towards reconciliation. The article shared also has some suggestions on how to be a good ally to Indigenous peoples on Sept. 30 and every day. 

Read the full article

Language Matters: An Everyday Way to Contribute to Reconciliation

by Jessica Buffalo, Indigenous Initiatives Counsel

As lawyers, we are used to being cognizant of the language that we use — be it drafting pleadings, writing articles or corresponding with colleagues. We have taken ethics courses in law school or seminars on how to avoid further marginalization of our colleagues and to be civil in all communications. Despite this, language surrounding colloquialisms pertaining to Indigenous peoples continues to be used in our everyday language. In this article, I have identified some common phrases that are outdated and perpetuate negative stereotypes for Indigenous peoples, as well as suggested alternatives. As lawyers, we should strive to promote inclusivity and reconciliation in the language we use. This is one small thing lawyers can do to practice reconciliation in our daily lives.

Learn more

Law Society Board Welcomes Three New Benchers

The Minister of Justice and Solicitor General has appointed three new public representative Law Society of Alberta Benchers (also known as Lay Benchers). Glen Buick, Levonne Louie and Mary Ellen Neilson will join the Board for a three-year term, replacing Barbara McKinley, Cora Voyageur and Elizabeth Hak. We thank our outgoing Benchers for their time and service. 

We are also pleased to announce Louise Wasylenko, CPA, CMA, will continue to serve as a Bencher, as her appointment has been renewed until Nov. 24, 2024.

Glen Buick (pictured above left) previously served as a Bencher from 2014–2018. He was formerly the Canadian Ambassador to Chile, and later, Assistant Deputy Minister in Alberta Culture. He is a member of the Alberta Law Enforcement Review Board, the Assessment Review Board of the City of Edmonton and the Tribunal Roster of Public Members under the Health Professions Act. Glen received the Alberta Centennial Medal in 2005 and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

Levonne Louie (pictured above centre) holds a Bachelor of Science, a Bachelor of Commerce, and a Master of Business Administration, all from the University of Calgary and her ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors. She retired from the oil and gas industry with almost 40 years of experience in the energy sector. She brings considerable leadership experience to her roles on the boards on which she serves. Levonne has been serving as a Public Member on the Council of the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Alberta since 2017.

Mary Ellen Neilson (pictured above right) has her Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary, her Master of Business Administration from York University, her CPA, CMA from the Chartered Professional Accountants of Alberta, and her ICD.D from the Institute of Corporate Directors. She was Executive Director at the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Brain Injured until her retirement in 2020. Prior to this, Mary Ellen had a successful 30-year career in financial services, where she held senior executive positions for Western Canada operations. She is currently a Director on the Board of ATB Financial and chairs the Risk Committee.

Read more about the newest public representative Benchers in our Board Directory.

Court of King's Bench Announcement 

Submissions from Junior Counsel at the Court of King's Bench 

Opportunities to address the Courts are essential to the development of junior counsel in Alberta.

The Court of King’s Bench welcomes the opportunity to hear from newer counsel, who often play a significant role in the drafting of written submissions and have in-depth knowledge of the case before the Court. Our Courts have an important role to play in fostering an environment that welcomes hearing from all members of the Bar. While the decision as to who speaks on behalf of the client in a particular case belongs to counsel and their clients, the Court of King’s Bench encourages the practice of senior counsel sharing a portion of oral argument with more junior counsel.

Reminder to Complete the Indigenous Cultural Competency Education Requirement

This is a reminder to those lawyers who have yet to complete the Indigenous Cultural Competency Education requirement called The Path (Law Society of Alberta) – Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada.  

The course launched on April 21, 2021 and active Alberta lawyers were given 18 months from the launch to complete the course or certify eligibility for an exemption. All Alberta lawyers who were active when the requirement was introduced have until midnight on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022 to complete it. Those who became active after the launch of the Path can confirm their respective deadlines in the Lawyer Portal under Mandatory Education.

Those who do not complete the course by their deadline will be subject to administrative suspension (Rules of the Law Society of Alberta, Rule 67.4).

Those intending on filing an exemption must do so as soon as possible to allow enough time for the exemption review process (see FAQ). Some lawyers may be subject to an exemption review, and if ineligible, will still be required to complete the Path (Law Society of Alberta) by the original deadline.  

Lawyers are encouraged to set aside the time to complete the course sooner rather than later to avoid last-minute issues or unforeseen personal circumstances that may delay course completion. 

The Path (Law Society of Alberta) is a five-hour series of online modules with videos and quizzes. Alberta lawyers can do the course all at once or in stages. Of those lawyers who have taken the course so far, 92 per cent have given it an overall rating of good, very good or excellent. Also, 90 per cent strongly agreed or agreed that it increased their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous cultural awareness.

How to Get Started
Upcoming Events
Well-Being in Practice | Oct. 4 – 5, 2022

Visit our website for a full list of upcoming events.
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