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December 11, 2019
Hot on the heels of the B.C. government’s plans to bring its laws into harmony with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), the provincial law society has made it a future requirement for all lawyers in the province to take a course on Indigenous intercultural competency aimed at enhancing their understanding of the history of Aboriginal-Crown relations, the history and legacy of residential schools and how specific legislation regarding Indigenous peoples created the issues that reconciliation seeks to address.
The move, which benchers made at their Dec. 6 meeting, flows from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC)’s calls to action, particularly recommendation 27 which asked the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.
Law society president Nancy Merrill said the TRC revealed a gap in legal education in an area “that the benchers have recognized is a core area of competency for lawyers.”
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