The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

Criminal justice

Real solutions for fixing court delays

By CBA/ABC National December 13, 2016 13 December 2016

 

Earlier this month, Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi (pictured above) and Quebec’s Justice Minister Stephanie Vallée both announced measures to reduce the seemingly intractable problem of court delays in our justice system, primarily by promising to hire more judges and prosecutors and to inject cash into the justice system.  Nova Scotia appears to be leaning more heavily on restorative justice programs as way of moving offenders charged with less serious crimes away from the court system.

Michael Spratt calls these band-aid solutions. He argues for the government to start reigning in prosecutors:

Any public anger should rightly be directed at the actions of the Crown. And this is where the government’s attention should be focused. A handful of additional judges and prosecutors will do little to change a systemic Crown culture of complacency, possessiveness and overzealousness.

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Big picture

Protecting children’s rights starts with knowing what they are

By CBA/ABC National December 6, 2016 6 December 2016

Protecting children’s rights starts with knowing what they are

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which Canada ratified along with 194 other countries, instructs that the child’s best interests must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children. Though the Canadian Charter is explicit in that it should be read as being consistent with our international obligations, the CBA has expressed serious concerns about the knowledge lawyers and other legal professionals have about children’s rights, and how rarely the Convention is invoked particularly with respect to vulnerable, high risk and marginalized children in a number of areas.  Here are some figures.

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CBA Community

Latest news

By CBA/ABC National December 6, 2016 6 December 2016

Latest news

 

Meet CBA’s new CEO: Cheryl Farrow

On November 7th, Cheryl Farrow began her tenure as chief executive, making her the first female CEO in the association’s 120-year history. She replaces John Hoyles who is retiring after 20 years with the CBA.

An experienced professional association executive with more than 15 years of senior management experience in the not-for-profit sector, Farrow has worked with boards through periods of change and evolution. This experience will serve her well as she guides the association toward a new CBA, transitioning to a new governance model and exploring new ways to serve its members. To get to know her better, CBA National  asked Farrow about her thoughts on associations and her vision for the CBA.

CBA National: What do associations today need to do to stay relevant?

Cheryl Farrow: Associations first need to be able to properly define their membership, which may include a number of different segments with different needs. Based on that segmentation, we need to understand what members value and we need to understand members’ “pain points” and position the association as a valued partner in addressing those challenges. We need to embrace technology as a key enabler in providing relevant programs and services, while also recognizing that members are bombarded on all sides by electronic communications. Whenever we can turn our communications activities from “push” strategies into dialogue with members, that’s how we will gain the necessary intelligence to ensure our relevance.

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Profile

Creative licence

By CBA/ABC National December 6, 2016 6 December 2016

Creative licence

“Practising law can be creative, but sculpting allows for a different form of creativity and part of a balance in life that has been most satisfying. Besides, “hitting rock” is a good outlet for my aggression that might otherwise be directed against my partners, clients or family!”

Robert Cohen Q.C., Partner at Blaney McMurtry, has been sculpting stone for over 30 years and has participated in  a number of art shows.

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CBA influence

Protecting the non-default position on gender identity

By CBA/ABC National December 2, 2016 2 December 2016

If you’re cis-gendered, chances are that somebody in the past 10 years has had to explain that term to you – and chances are equally good that you asked why the term was necessary, because to embody the gender you’re born with is generally the default human condition. It’s all those other people who are living hyphenated lives.

That may be true, but it’s just as true that the cis-gendered mayn’t have the first clue of how difficult life can be when you’re not the default, and the law doesn’t protect your difference.

The Nunavut Branch of the CBA, along with the Association’s Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community Forum, have written to the Nunavut government asking that it amend the territory’s Human Rights Act to include both gender identity and gender expression as prohibited grounds of discrimination.

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