Canadian Lawyer

December/January 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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UPFRONT 8 www.canadianlawyermag.com NEWS BRIEFS Alberta law society mandates Indigenous cultural training Move follows similar one by Law Society of B.C. ALL LAWYERS IN Alberta must take a course on Indigenous cultural competency starting next year. It's a new mandate of the Law Society of Alberta seen as an enlightening move by many, although others are saying it should not be mandatory. "This decision to mandate training is inte- gral to our commitment and obligation to respond to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action," said society president Kent Teskey. The commission had requested Canadian lawyers learn the history and legacy of residential schools, treaties, Indigenous rights and Indigenous legal issues. Making a training course mandatory is very rare, Teskey said. However, "there are some competencies where it is appropriate that the law society mandate training." Indigenous cultural competency is one of those "unique areas where mandatory training is important." It follows a similar move announced by the Law Society of British Columbia in 2019. Andrea Menard, Indigenous initiatives liaison for the LSA, said the training "demon- strates a genuine effort to ensure that lawyers in Alberta have an understanding of Indigenous history and culture that they may not have otherwise been exposed to in their education." Janet Hutchison, a non-Indigenous lawyer who practises Indigenous law, welcomed the move, saying, "Reconciliation is about devel- oping a mutually respectful relationship, which has to be based on understanding." The Indigenous cultural competency training program selected by the society is called "The Path," developed by NVision Insight Group, a majority Indigenous-owned business with offices in Ottawa and Iqaluit. The LSA is Alberta appeal court rules electronic devices search illegal In a case that could upend how phone and laptop searches are conducted at Canadian border crossings, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled a Customs Act section dealing with inspection of goods violates the Charter of Rights and Freedoms when it comes to such technologies. The court found in R v Canfield that the Canada Border Services Agency infringed upon the rights of two men charged with child pornography offences after a search of their devices at Edmonton International Airport. "It's a far-reaching decision because hundreds of thousands of people come through the border every year," said lawyer Kent Teskey, who represented the appellants. U of Calgary law school adopts new admission system for Black applicants The University of Calgary's faculty of law has launched a new process for vetting Black applicants. Applicants who self-identify as Black will be invited to complete an additional personal essay. They will also have their applications reviewed by a subcommittee that includes the Black Students Law Association, Black law faculty members and Black members of the legal community. "This is about the underrepresentation of Black lawyers and Black judges in the legal system, a situation which leads to systemic racism issues," said second-year law student Keshia Holloman, president of the BLSA's Calgary chapter. Alberta introduces legislation that would recognize First Nations police Under proposed legislation from the Alberta government, the province will formally recognize First Nations police services, such as the Blood Tribe Police, which have been operating for more than two decades. Contemplated changes would also ensure these police services will be considered in an upcoming review of the Police Act. "With this legislation, the Government of Alberta acknowledges the valuable role First Nations policing plays in keeping their communities safe," said Alberta Justice Minister Kaycee Madu. Bill 38 also proposes changes to the Police Act, the Provincial Offences Procedures Act, the Jury Act, the Queen's Counsel Act, the Victim's Restitution and Compensation Payment Act and the Referendum Act. B.C. judges' salary dispute ruling affirms importance of judicial independence The B.C. Supreme Court has quashed the provincial government's decision to reject the recommendations of its Judicial Compensation Commission on salary increases for Provincial Court judges, asserting the importance of judicial independence. The August ruling recognizes a 1997 Supreme Court of Canada decision that stresses the "constitutional imperative" of depoliticizing the matter of compensation for the judiciary. Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson also noted that the legislature's decision did not respect the unique position the judicial branch of government when it came to negotiating salaries. Yukon bill seeks to modernize condominium law regime A proposed Yukon law seeks to amend the legislative framework for regulating condominiums in the territory. Bill No. 16, tabled in early October, aims to amend the 2015 Condominium Act, including insurance requirements, proxy voting and voting entitlements for the boards of condominiums and timelines for developers and purchasers to deliver documents and funds. It also clarifies the rights and obligations for developers. WEST UPDATE Kent Teskey

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