May 6, 2021
Bencher Profile Series
Cal Johnson, QC
Cal was born and raised in Calgary and completed his commerce degree in the city before moving to Edmonton to complete his Bachelor of Laws at the University of Alberta. He returned to Calgary and was called to the Alberta bar in 1976 after articling with Burnet, Duckworth & Palmer LLP. He has stayed there ever since, now acting as counsel for the firm after working there for more than 40 years.

After stepping back from client work in 2013, Cal was interested in occupying his time with more service to the community and the profession.

“I have always had an abiding interest in ethics, professionalism and governance. I have served on a wide variety of boards and have a huge interest in this area. When I looked at the role of the Bencher, those were areas where I thought I could add value.”

Outside of his work as Bencher, Cal has chaired and served on the Board of Directors of Vertigo Theatre, the United Way, the Springbank Community Planning Association and the Doorway (A Youth Employment Empowerment Agency).

Barbara McKinley
In her three years as a public representative at the Bencher table, Barbara McKinley cites the collegiality of the Benchers as a key differentiator when compared to other boards she has served on.

“The atmosphere and relationship between the Benchers – both elected and publicly appointed – is always respectful and courteous. There is a consistent emphasis on consensus-driven decision making and the Bencher table feels like a safe space to share your views, even during contentious issues.”

Barbara is no stranger to challenging board work. She is the owner of The Worker’s Advocate, where she has worked as an advocate and appeals representative for over 20 years. She has extensive experience interpreting and applying legislation and policy in order to participate in appeal hearings, prepare written arguments and facilitate communication between individuals, unions and the Worker’s Compensation Board (WCB).

Barbara served two years as a member on the Alberta Federation of Labour Committee on WCB and Health and Safety, the Technical Working Group on Occupational Health and Safety Code, the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees (AUPE) Disability Appeals Panel, and as Chair for the Alberta Labour Coalition on Worker’s Compensation.

A Note from Assist: Lawyer Well-Being Week
The beginning of May marks the confluence of two important events. May 3-7, 2021 is Well-Being Week in Law as well as the Canadian Mental Health Association (CHMA)’s Mental Health Week. Lawyer Well-Being Week, also referred to as Well-Being in Law Week, is a relatively new calendar event in Canada, having originated in the U.S. It aims to help lawyers identify the different dimensions of well-being, and then engage in activities to ensure that all dimensions are reflected and are in a semblance of balance, while CMHA’s Mental Health Week’s theme is #getreal about how you feel, using the tag line "name it, don’t numb it!”
Alberta Lawyers’ Assistance Society has combined these two weeks into Lawyer Well-Being Week, drawing on resources from both programs.
“Well-being” is an active process, being the process we engage in, continuously if we are able, that results in the state of wellness. At some, perhaps many, times in our lives, we are well without any effort or conscious activity. However, lawyers face many challenges both occupationally and personally which can create challenges to being well.

Court of Queen's Bench Announcement

On May 4, 2021, the Alberta Government announced Province-wide restrictions to protect the health system and slow the spread of COVID-19. In light of the increasing case counts, rise in variants, the ongoing risk to Justice participants, and the increased difficulties in having counsel, parties and witnesses attend in Court, effective May 10, 2021 and for the weeks of May 10, May 17 and May 24, 2021, new adjustments may be required in the areas of continuations, in-person, remote, process for conducting, masters, and master order #5 matters. Click here to see the full list of new measures.
Provincial Court Announcement

Effective Monday, May 10, 2021 up to and including Friday, May 28, 2021 all trials, preliminary inquiries and other hearings requiring viva voce evidence, except where an accused person is in custody or where the matter is urgent, will be adjourned and new dates will be scheduled. This applies to all Criminal, Family, Youth, Child Protection and Civil Court matters. Applications to have a matter deemed urgent shall be made to the Assistant Chief Judge in the division or geographic regions where the matter is set to be heard. In the case of a matter that is presently ongoing, the application shall be made to the Judge who is conducting the matter. Read more.

To help contain the spread of COVID-19, effective immediately and until further notice, all bar admission ceremonies in the Provincial Court of Alberta will be conducted remotely. Webex links will also be made available for family and friends who wish to view the ceremony.
Upcoming Events

Please visit our Events Calendar for a list of upcoming events.