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The Canadian Bar Association

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Big picture

The long road to reconciliation

By CBA/ABC National June 19, 2017 19 June 2017

The long road to reconciliation

 

In 1996, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples issued a roadmap for transforming the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Crown. The majority of its recommendations were never implemented. But its findings “opened people’s eyes and changed the conversation about the reality for Aboriginal people in this country,” the Truth & Reconciliation Commission later wrote.

In 2016, Canada declared its full support for the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples which recognizes Indigenous Peoples’ rights to self-determination, language, equality and land, among others.

Despite some progress, however, the issues identified more than 20 years ago remain a pressing concern. As Canada prepares to mark National Aboriginal Day on June 21, here is a snapshot of the community.

Source: Aboriginal Peoples in Canada: First Nations People, Métis and Inuit, 2011 National Household Survey, Statistics Canada.

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In person

In person: Orlando Da Silva

By CBA/ABC National June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

In person: Orlando Da Silva

 

A former president of the Ontario Bar Association, Orlando Da Silva became a mental health advocate after opening up about his personal struggle with depression. He is counsel with the Crown Law Office – Civil, Ministry of the Attorney-General, Ontario.

National Magazine: Who has had the biggest influence on you and why?

Orlando Da Silva: My father was an angry working class man who suffered no fools and demanded excellence from his children. He was a hard man to please. He left home when I was 10 and died when I was 19 and he was only 51. Yet, in his short life, he taught me about perseverance and persistence. I have used both to challenge my doubts and fears, which, in turn, allowed me to engage the world in rewarding and often surprising ways. So in the end, my father taught me gratitude for having, and continuing to live, an interesting life.

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CBA community

Justice for East Africa's children

By CBA/ABC National June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

 

When 15-year-old Edith was charged with robbery for allegedly stealing a cellphone, there were some unexpected consequences.

Her mother lost her job at a food stall in the Nairobi slums because she had to accompany her daughter to court. A widow with five children and no income, she couldn’t pay the cash bond to secure Edith’s release, so the teen was sent to the Nairobi Children’s Remand Home.

But Edith (not her real name) was able to get some help from the Kenya National Working Group, which offers legal advice and psychosocial support for children and youth in contact with the law. A pro bono lawyer got her bail reduced to a free bond so she was able to go home. Now she receives counselling and guidance while she waits to be able to afford to go to school. She dreams of being a teacher.

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CBA community

A conversation with Kerry L. Simmons, Q.C.

By CBA/ABC National June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

A conversation with Kerry L. Simmons, Q.C.

Kerry L. Simmons, Q.C. was a high school student working part time at a small-town law firm when one of the partners was elected president of the CBA-BC branch. J. Parker MacCarthy went on to become the CBA national president. And that left an impression.

“I just watched what he did,” she says. “This was part of being a lawyer – which I knew I wanted to do. As a lawyer, you were part of the CBA and there was an opportunity for leadership in your professional association. I thought I’d like to do that one day.”

Simmons, a partner at Cook Roberts LLP in Victoria, followed in her mentor’s footsteps, serving as president of the BC branch in 2012-13. And on Sept. 1, she takes office as CBA’s next president. National spoke with her about her commitment to public service, the role of the CBA and life outside law.

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CBA community

Latest news from the CBA

By CBA/ABC National June 16, 2017 16 June 2017

 

CBA rolls out child rights toolkit

The CBA has launched an online toolkit packed with information and resources to help lawyers, judges and other professionals make better decisions for children.

The CBA Child Rights Toolkit provides checklists, key cases, precedents and sample facta plus basic information on overarching principles of children’s rights, constitutional considerations, legal representation, the role of independent human rights institutions and child rights impact assessments.

It is designed to help identify breaches of legal rights and provide remedies across a broad range of practice areas from family law and child protection to immigration and education law.

The resource is a collaborative effort of 13 CBA sections led by the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child subcommittee of the Children’s Law Committee. It was funded by the CBA Law for the Future Fund, and inspired by the need to improve access to justice for children in Canada. 

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