Legal Feeds Blog
For the first time in more than a decade, Nunavut Arctic College will be offering a law degree program in Iqaluit.
|Martin Phillipson, dean of law at University of Saskatchewan, wants to assemble ‘an A-team’ faculty to teach the program in Nunavut.|
Through a partnership with the University of Saskatchewan outlining a five-year fixed-term contract, the university’s faculty of law will graduate up to 25 law students.
“We have over 40 years of experience and commitment to delivering legal education to Canada’s indigenous people, so this is an absolutely natural progression for us,” says Martin Phillipson, dean of law at the University of Saskatchewan. “Our university has made it quite clear that indigenization is going to be one of the major goals of our college and our university to comply with the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, so this absolutely fits with our historical commitment to aboriginal legal education.”
The design and delivery of the program will be the responsibility of the university, and Phillipson says the four-year academic program will be broken down into a year of pre-law — a foundation year — and a three-year JD program, followed by one year of co-op or articling to ensure the students are ready to practise law.
Faculty will travel to Nunavut to teach the students in Iqaluit and, while U of S professors will do “the lion’s share” of the teaching, Phillipson says he aims to recruit faculty from across the country to build “an A-team” to deliver a high-quality legal education.
Phillipson says he’s already had professors reach out to him, interested in the opportunity to teach the program. He notes that when the college partnered with the University of Victoria for a similar law program in 2001 that saw 11 law students graduate, faculty from various law schools across Canada taught the courses.
“That’s clearly a model I’d like to replicate,” he says. “I want faculty from other schools who are interested and committed to indigenous education to have a role in the program if they want.”
As for the admissions process, grade 12 will be a prerequisite, but further post-secondary experience isn’t needed.
“The things that we’ll be looking for will be character references, writing skills and life experience,” Phillipson says.
He stresses that while the admissions process — which is still being hammered out with Arctic College — might look different from some other Canadian law schools, including not having an LSAT requirement, it’s no less rigorous.
As for funding, students will have access to the same help as any other sort of student in Nunavut would have for post-secondary education, and they will also be able to apply for funds from the University of Saskatchewan as any other law student would.
Phillipson says the schools will likely start the admissions process in October, with classes beginning in September 2017.
The hope is that the program will “increase the number of practising lawyers in Nunavut, while also meeting Sivumut Abluqta’s education priority to deliver relevant programming to meet the needs of Nunavummiut,” said a statement on the University of Saskatchewan’s web site. Sivumiut Abluqta: Stepping Forward Together is a four-part mandate from the Nunavut government. One of the four priorities is self-reliance and optimism through education and training.
With this new law program on offer, students at Arctic College can stay in their home territory of Nunavut and participate in three degree-granting programs in partnership with universities, including a bachelor of science in nursing in collaboration with Dalhousie University in Halifax and the teacher education program in partnership with the University of Regina.
Richard Henry Bain found guilty of second-degree murder, Canadian Press
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Ontario’s Law Practice Programs are kicking off for another year this week, marking the third year of the Law Society’s Pathways pilot project.
|Ryerson University’s 2016/2017 Law Practice Program kicked off yesterday in Toronto with 270 candidates. (Photo: Antonio Pendones: VCM Photography & Graphic Design)|
Ryerson University’s LPP program kicked off yesterday with 270 candidates enrolled in the program. Meanwhile, at the University of Ottawa’s French LPP program, there are 26 candidates enrolled.
The LPP provides aspiring lawyers another path to the Ontario Bar. The LPP consists of a four-month training course and a four-month work placement.
This spring, 219 candidates finished the Ryerson program, while 11 completed the French program in Ottawa.
Initially, there were 330 candidates interested in the 2016/2017 Ryerson LPP program.
“This year, we have definitely seen an increase in the number of candidates interested in the program. We do see a bit of attrition as the program begins and candidates determine whether it’s the right path for them, so it’s possible we could lose a few candidates between now and December as we did in the first two years,” says André Bacchus, assistant director, work placement office with the LPP at Ryerson.
Anne Levesque, co-director of the LPP program at the Faculty of Law at University of Ottawa, says many of the candidates for this fall are recent graduates coming to the program right out of law school.
Ottawa U’s online orientation starts next week and in person Sept. 2. Students to the French program are coming from the University of Ottawa, University of Montreal and Université de Moncton.
“They have a really diverse set of skills,” says Levesque. “Some have PhDs and many have done graduate studies.”
Levesque is joined at the French LPP program this year by co-director Lise Rivet, who has been with the program since its launch in 2014.
Rivet says a new component of the French program this year will be to have candidates take part in a one-day legal information clinic in Sudbury to expose them to practice in francophone and northern communities. Areas of law to be covered will include family law, wills and estates and landlord tenant issues.
“It will give them an opportunity to work with clients and give legal information,” she says. “They’ll also be networking with other lawyers in northern Ontario at that time.”
Not all of the 26 French LPP candidates will go on the trip north, but all will be helping with the program and doing equivalent activities.
Rivet says many lawyers in smaller northern communities such as North Bay are nearing retirement, while francophone areas such as Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie, Elliott Lake and Sturgeon Falls are in need of French-speaking lawyers.
“We’re delighted that a lot of people are starting to choose the Law Practice Program as their go-to training during their access to the profession process,” says Rivet. “It’s exciting that people are interested in taking this type of practical training and getting exposed to many areas of law.”
Bacchus says Ryerson is seeing recent grads as well as those with previous careers and other experience as well.
“We’re also attracting people who are mature students or transitioning from other areas of practice and looking to get into Ontario,” he says.
Within six months of their call to the bar, Bacchus says, 75 per cent of Ryerson’s candidates are working in law.
Some of the French candidates have found jobs with a small criminal law firm in Ottawa, another had a contract renewed with a national union and another in a legal clinic.
“We were really happy about the criminal law job because when we did our initial consultation there was a shortage of criminal law lawyers available with French,” says Levesque.
At the end of this year’s programs, the Law Society of Upper Canada will review the LPP programs for possible renewal.
Man dies in fire in Toronto apartment building, Canadian Press
- Plea comes as federal government launches public consultation on digital security
Technology lawyers say they’re hopeful the federal government’s public consultation on cybersecurity will result in a set of national standards for digital safety in Canada.
Technology lawyer Lisa Abe-Oldenburg says that, currently, it’s difficult to advise clients who ask about the level of security standards they should be following to protect their systems.
“There’s really not a lot of legislation we can point to to give them any kind of guidance and comfort,” she says. “It often becomes a negotiation between the customer and the supplier.”
Ira Nishisato, partner at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, complains of the same issue.
“There are essentially no national standards,” Nishisato says. “From a legal perspective, the issue is always the question of standard of care — to what standard of care could an organization be held to in terms of ensuring the integrity and the security of its system?
“Right now, if you look for what you should be doing, it’s really not a question that avails itself of a straightforward answer,” he adds. “It would be extraordinarily helpful to have some sort of direction in terms of national guidelines or national standards for cybersecurity and cyber-risk management.”
Last week, the federal government announced it would be launching a public consultation “on the evolving cybersecurity landscape” with the goal of strengthening digital safety.
“The government’s cybersecurity review is an opportunity to build Canadian strength and expertise. Canadians spend more time online than people in any other country,” said Ralph Goodale, minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness.
“We need to get really good at cybersecurity — across our personal, business, infrastructure and government sectors — so we can take full advantage of the digital economy, while protecting the safety and security of Canadians, and selling our valuable cyberskills and products into a booming market throughout the rest of the world,” Goodale added.
Current legislation and regulations around cybersecurity lack rigour, according to Abe-Oldenburg.
“We haven’t created any robust security regulations,” she says, noting that even recent legislation such as the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act falls short of specifying details such as the level of encryption required on personal information collected for commercial purposes.
Abe-Oldenburg also says the government should look at the various risks to which the public is exposed in the age of the Internet of Things, including vulnerabilities that may come with self-driving cars. She adds she’s hopeful the consultation will result in better regulations for products and services.
Lack of software safety standards for autonomous vehicles, for example, could jeopardize personal safety and data, Abe-Oldenburg continues. “If somebody hacks into a system that’s controlling a device, a machine or an automobile, there could be serious repercussions.”
Fraudulent Citizenship callers target people in Charlottetown, Canadian Press
- ‘Better late than never,’ says plaintiffs’ lawyer
Seven years after the Ontario class action lawsuit concerning the Sixties Scoop was launched, it is set to make its way before a judge next week.
|Jeffery Wilson, the lawyer representing plaintiffs in the Sixties Scoop, says the fact the class action is being heard next week is ‘better late than never.’ (Photo: courtesy Kathleen Finlay)|
The Ontario Superior Court is set to consider a summary judgment motion about whether the federal government is liable for the loss of cultural identity of aboriginal children who were removed from their homes in the 1960s.
A Superior Court justice will begin hearing arguments Aug. 23 after years of delays because of a certification battle around the suit. The action was first filed in 2009, but it has seen multiple rounds of appeals concerning its certification.
“Better late than never,” says Jeffery Wilson, the lawyer representing the plaintiffs.
In the so-called Sixties Scoop, government workers removed aboriginal children from their families across Canada and placed them with non-aboriginal foster homes.
Wilson says the Ontario suit has been filed on behalf of 16,000 aboriginal people, who say that their displacement as children robbed them of their cultural identity.
The class action suit claims the federal government breached its fiduciary duties it had to the displaced aboriginal children by not taking reasonable steps to protect their cultural identities.
“Cultural identity is critical to the healthy development of vulnerable aboriginal children which, as a fiduciary, Canada must take into account and take reasonable steps to protect,” the claim said.
The lead plaintiff in the suit, Marcia Brown, was four or five years old when a children’s aid society removed her from her family in northern Ontario, the claim said.
She went through foster homes before a non-aboriginal family adopted her when she was nine.
The claim said that she was denied reasonable contact with her family and community, and lost all connection to her heritage until she was 17, when she returned to try and figure out where she was from.
“This action says . . . is that a lawful wrong and if it is, then what is the remedy to make sure it never happens again and to give redress to these people who lost the core of their identity,” Wilson says.
This week, Indigenous Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett signalled that the government is open to working toward settling lawsuits across the country that concern the Sixties Scoop.
But despite that, next week’s proceeding is set to go ahead and counsel representing the government filed thousands of pages of submissions this week, Wilson says.
“While I’m not doubting, I’m not questioning the motivations of the government or their sincerity or commitment, I’m just confused,” says Wilson.
Wilson says this case is the first in the western world to ask the court whether the loss of cultural identity is an actionable wrong.
He added that he is confident the suit will not have to go to trial as the evidence before the court will be sufficient enough to make a determination through summary judgment.
“The First Nations people would like [others] to know that a wrong took place and that a remedy should be created to ensure that this kind of a wrong can never take place again to First Nations people.”
Stephen Rotstein has been named chairman of the Canadian Bar Association’s Canadian Corporate Counsel Association for 2016-2017.
|A long-time supporter of the CCCA, Stephen Rotstein wants to encourage members to volunteer their time within the organization and offer their expertise as mentors.|
Rotstein, who is vice president, policy and regulatory affairs and general counsel at the Financial Planning Standards Council, takes over from Frédéric Pérodeau of Montreal.
The past chair of the Ontario chapter of the CCCA, Rotstein says he wants to work on promoting the services the CCCA provides to its more than 4,500 members including tools for career management such as the job site the organization launched a few years ago, and the Certified In-House Counsel designation — a business leadership program for in-house counsel considered to be a kind of mini MBA program.
In a time when the in-house bar has grown substantially, Rotstein says the CCCA plays an important role in offering career management resources and opportunities to help members grow to their next role.
“I remember when I was called to the bar there was really one place we looked for jobs and that was the Ontario Reports. For in-house, there were only ever maybe one or two jobs posted in the ORs. Now, a large number of the jobs advertised are for in-house or government. It’s a great area to be working right now,” he says.
And once in-house, Rotstein says lawyers quickly realize there are skills they don’t have that they need to gain, and in many cases they are working in solo departments or with just one paralegal to support them. That’s when being able to reach out to a community of other in-house counsel becomes important.
“That’s why I got involved with CCCA initially,” he says. “It’s nice to be able to pick up the phone and call others in a similar situation.”
Rotstein wants to see more members volunteering within the organization —something he has done for many years through mentoring and other areas.
“We want to encourage more of our members to share their expertise and connect with each other through mentoring and by speaking on topics they’re passionate about at our events,” Rotstein says. “Our members are full of talent and expertise, and we’ll be working to make better use of that collective wisdom throughout the coming year.”
Despite challenges in certain parts of the country such as Alberta, Rotstein says CCCA membership has been growing year over year.
“I’m always in recruitment mode asking people ‘Why aren’t you a member?’” he says.
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