TORONTO (July 13, 2016) — An Indigenous Advisory Group (IAG) has been established with the Law Society to provide advice on Indigenous issues and guide the Law Society and the legal community towards a better understanding of how to address unique issues faced by Indigenous peoples in Ontario.
The group of Indigenous legal professionals and Elders will promote responses to and implementation of the Calls to Action from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s final report and the First Nations Representation on Ontario Juries report by The Honourable Frank Iacobucci.
The IAG will also help advance relationships between Indigenous peoples and Canada’s legal communities and institutions in a way that respects Indigenous values, beliefs and legal systems.
“We look forward to working in partnership with this dedicated and well-informed group — and we will benefit greatly from their knowledge and advice,” says Law Society Treasurer Paul Schabas. “As we continue to work toward reconciliation, the IAG will play a critical role in helping us to identify priorities and make recommendations on the provision of legal services by and for Indigenous peoples in Ontario — and in enhancing the cultural competence of our members.”
The IAG has established an Elders Council that will provide guidance to the IAG and to the Law Society. Membership includes Elder Myeengun Henry, Elder Julia Putulik, Métis Senator Constance Simmonds and Elder Wanda Whitebird. These Elders are permanent members of the group and will be responsible for appointing new IAG members over time.
Current IAG members are: Cassandra Baars, Margaret Froh, IAG Interim Chair Kathleen Lickers, Audrey Huntley, Roger Jones, Candice Metallic and Sheila Warner. They will support the transition into a final IAG, which will be reflective of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities throughout the province.
“The IAG looks forward to working with the Law Society to advance and encourage reconciliation of Indigenous Peoples and legal systems with the Canadian legal system — its Constitution, laws, legal framework and jurisprudence,” says IAG Interim Chair Kathleen Lickers. “There is much to do and we need each other to truly affect change.”
The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.