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Indigenous Advisory Group: Invitation to Participate

May 29, 2019

On June 23, 2016, the Law Society of Ontario (Law Society) formally announced the establishment of the Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG). Since this time, the IAG has played a critical role in advising the Law Society on matters impacting First Nations, Inuit and Métis lawyers and paralegals as well as Indigenous community members in the province of Ontario. The IAG is currently seeking members to join our efforts in advising the Law Society.
 
The stated purpose of the IAG is:
Adopting the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples[1] as its framework, the Indigenous Advisory Group (Advisory Group) will advance and encourage the reconciliation of Indigenous Peoples and Indigenous legal systems within the Canadian legal system (Constitution, laws and legal framework) and promote the development of the relationships between Indigenous Peoples and Canadian legal structures and institutions in a manner that respects Indigenous values, beliefs and legal systems.

The IAG operates from the following principles:
The conduct of each member and the work of the Indigenous Advisory Group is guided by the following core principles:

  • Mutual Respect and Understanding: Each member will afford respect to and strive to understand one another, the diversity of Indigenous cultures, legal systems, clients’ needs and experiences, and the issues to be addressed.
  • Consensus Building: Each member and as a group will work to find consensus in the discussion of issues. Disagreements will be acknowledged and the members commit to compromise to find solutions wherever possible and practical.
  • Cooperation: Each member and as a group will work together toward realizing our shared purpose.
  • Words and Action Match: Each member and as a group will work to demonstrate integrity in carrying out our work. Efforts will be put forth towards prompt follow up on actions identified by the Advisory Group.
  • Confidentiality: Each member commits to maintaining the confidences of the membership and the discussions that occur and to refrain from disclosing any material deemed confidential that may come into the possession of the Advisory Group.

 
The IAG's mandate is:

  • To promote the implementation of recommendations and calls to action from reports generated regarding Indigenous Peoples and Canada’s legal system, including the Truth & Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Final Report and Calls to Action (2015) and the First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries Report by Justice Frank Iacobucci (2013).
  • To encourage partnerships and relationships between Indigenous Peoples, the Indigenous Bar Association in Canada and the Law Society of Ontario (Law Society).
  • To directly interact and partner with the Law Society, its Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee, Bencher committees and affiliated working, advisory and other Law Society groups; Office of the CEO and other staff at the Law Society on all issues affecting Indigenous Peoples in relation to the Law Society;
  • To identify priorities and make recommendations on the provision of legal services by and for Indigenous Peoples in Ontario;
  • To initiate, inform, promote and advance reform of policies, procedures, rules and regulations for the benefit of Indigenous Peoples;
  • To promote public awareness and educate members of the Law Society on issues related to and affecting Indigenous Peoples;
  • To review, comment and make recommendations on reports affecting Indigenous Peoples with respect to the legal profession;
  • To assess the progress and effectiveness of initiatives undertaken by the Law Society that address or relate to legal issues affecting Indigenous Peoples.

Elders Council and Membership:
The IAG is made up of an Elders Council and up to nine members. We meet bi-monthly (or 6 times) a year unless otherwise needed. There will always be the opportunity to participate by video or teleconference if a member is unable to participate in person. Participation is voluntary however, reasonable travel expenses are compensated by the Law Society.
 
Membership from Northern Ontario and early careers:
We want to ensure our membership includes the perspective and experience from Northern Ontario, legal professionals early in their careers, members of diverse Indigenous communities and members of the lawyer, paralegal and other professions.
 
How to Apply
If you are interested in joining our efforts, please email your reply to Equity@lso.ca.
In one page, please provide your background and explain why you are keen to participate.
All responses will be considered by the Elders Council who will ultimately decide the membership.
 
The deadline for replies is June 28, 2019
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[1] For greatest certainty, the term “Indigenous” is inclusive of First Nations, Status, Non-Status, Inuit and Métis Peoples.