The Power of Perspectives

The Canadian Bar Association

CBA/ABC National

Year in review

CBA National’s top 10 articles for 2016

By CBA/ABC National December 22, 2016 22 December 2016

CBA National’s top 10 articles for 2016


Here are the top stories that resonated with our readers in 2016.

1. Shaking up the academy

By Leo Singer

Canadian law schools are suffering from an existential crisis.

The prospective lawyers emerging from their hallowed halls are unprepared for a profession in flux, critics argue.  It’s a new world out there: Billable hours and traditional large firms are giving way to new business structures, law is becoming increasingly globalized, and entrepreneurs are creating new ways to deliver cost-effective and flexible legal services.

Meanwhile, law schools are struggling to reconcile the contradictions and tensions inherent in a cobbled-together educational mandate. They find it increasingly tough to defend high tuition fees and higher expectations. And they remain mired in a debate about the true mission of a legal education, and its role in society.

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CBA Influence

Acting on the Indian Act

By CBA/ABC National December 15, 2016 15 December 2016


If the government enacts Bill S-3 – or some version of it – on or before the Feb. 3, 2017 deadline set by the Quebec Superior Court, as many as 28,000 to 35,000 people could become eligible to be registered as Status Indians under it.

And the proposed legislation’s lack of provision for that eventuality is just one of the concerns the CBA’s Aboriginal Law Section talked about in its submission when it appeared before the Senate Committee on Aboriginal Peoples on Nov. 29 and before the House Committee on Indigenous and Northern Affairs on Dec. 5.

The submission traces the long history of steps toward Bill S-3, including the 1985 Indian Act amendments that fell short of their intention to eliminate discrimination against women in the Indian Status registration system, as it retained a gender-based inequity in generations to come. 

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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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