June 8, 2021
Statement Regarding the Kamloops Indian Residential School
Learning that a mass grave of 215 Indigenous children was revealed at the site of a former residential school in Kamloops is devastating. Sadly this news does not come as a shock, as Indigenous people across the country were already well aware of such grave sites. This is another stark reminder that work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action is far from complete, and that we must confront this painful history to be able to move forward together.

Our hearts go out to the Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc First Nation, and to the survivors of the Kamloops Indian Residential School; to all survivors of the residential school systems across Canada; and to all the Indigenous peoples of Canada.

We are committed to respond to the Calls to Action to support lawyers in their understanding of this dark chapter of our history, and the lasting effects on survivors, their families and communities.
Improving the Principal and Articling Student Experience
In 2019, we conducted surveys of articling students, new lawyers, principals and mentors to better understand the current state of the articling system. The results raised concerns about the inconsistency of mentorship students receive, with 51 per cent of new lawyers stating they lacked confidence and felt only somewhat prepared or unprepared for entry-level practice. Only one-third of students and new lawyers stated that a learning plan was used during their articles. The survey results also showed that 32 per cent of students and new lawyers experienced discrimination and/or harassment during recruitment or articling.

While the reasons for inconsistency in the articling experience are complex, one of the issues highlighted in the survey was the varying quality of mentorship and feedback from principals. The issue was raised both from the perspective of articling students not feeling they had sufficient guidance and from principals who did not know what was expected of them in the role. Principals and mentors mentioned a lack of time, resources and training as key challenges in mentoring articling students.

While many principals are doing a good job supervising and mentoring articling students, the survey results show there is room for improvement. Historically, about one-third of principals each year are serving in that role for the first time and often do so without a clear understanding of what is expected of them and the articling experience. Anecdotally, we have heard that other lawyers would like to serve as a principal but are hesitant to do so without support.

Mandatory Principal Training Approved

One of the strategies to address these issues is the development of principal training. At the June 2021 Board meeting, the Benchers approved the development of a training course for all principals which will establish a baseline for consistency and quality assurance in the mentorship and training of new lawyers. When the principal training course is launched in 2022, participation in the course will be mandatory for all principals, regardless of previous experience.

The Law Society started discussing this possibility after reviewing the results of the articling survey and it was further reinforced in Jordan Furlong’s Lawyer Licensing and Competence in Alberta Report, approved by the Benchers in December 2020.

Mandating training will provide all principals with the skills and tools necessary to successfully fulfil their role in the articling process. The Law Society believes this requirement will establish baseline criteria for principals, improve consistency in the mentorship and feedback students receive, and provide principals with clarity for their role.

Parameters and Rule Amendments

Further details on the parameters and framework of the principal training, including time commitment, format and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) considerations, will be provided as the course is developed and more decisions are finalized. This includes any necessary Rule amendments required to support the decisions.
National Study of Well-being of Legal Professionals
Message from Federation of Law Societies of Canada Past President Morgan Cooper:

Dear Colleagues,

On June 10, your copy of the eBulletin will include a link to a questionnaire about experiences related to your well-being.

The study is being administered by Dr. Cadieux and her research team, and adheres to rigorous research and security protocols through the Université de Sherbrooke. All responses are anonymous and will remain strictly confidential. Only the research team will have access to survey data in aggregate form.

The study is a collaborative initiative of all law societies in Canada, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and the Canadian Bar Association. It is led by the Federation through a national Steering Committee. 

On behalf of the Steering Committee, I am writing to ask that you please take the time to complete the questionnaire. Your participation will provide important information about the determinants of well-being, both risk factors and factors that support well-being, among legal professionals in Canada. The information will also help law societies develop appropriate intervention strategies to better support legal professionals.

The questionnaire should take 30 to 45 minutes to complete. You can leave the questionnaire and return to it at any time, and continue from where you left off. Simply click on the secure link that will be provided in Dr. Cadieux’s email. Your response is kindly requested within two weeks of receipt of the survey. 

There is more information about the well-being initiative here. You can also watch a short video about this project from Dr. Cadieux here. The survey link will follow in a separate email within the week.

The cooperation of lawyers and articling students in Alberta is essential to the success of the study, and your participation in the national survey would be greatly appreciated. 

Kind regards,
Morgan Cooper
Chair, National Well-being Study Steering Committee
Federation of Law Societies of Canada
Provincial Court Announcements

Chief Judge Derek Redman of the Provincial Court of Alberta is pleased to announce the appointment of Judge Joshua Hawkes to the role of Assistant Chief Judge, Calgary Criminal and Regional Division.

After commencing undergraduate studies at the University of Lethbridge, Judge Hawkes obtained his Law degree from the University of Alberta. Judge Hawkes completed his articles with Alberta Justice and then joined the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service, where he served in many roles over the course of his career including Crown Prosecutor, Appellate Counsel, Director of the Prosecution Policy Unit, Director of the Appeals Branch, and Executive Director of the Appeals, Education, and Prosecution Policy Branch. He also served as a Bencher of the Law Society of Alberta, was on the executive of the Canadian Bar Association Criminal Justice Section, and was President of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada. Judge Hawkes was designated as Queen's Counsel in 2006 and was appointed to the Provincial Court in 2017.

The Court is proud to congratulate Assistant Chief Judge Hawkes as he assumes his new role.

Due to the current public health emergency in Alberta due to the COVID-19 virus, the Provincial Court of Alberta has allowed greater flexibility for individuals to appear by telephone or video. On June 7 2021, the matter of R v Coates was made available. Visit the Court website for access information.

The Provincial Court of Alberta plays a fundamental role in the daily lives of Albertans. The Court maintains the Rule of Law by which and through which citizens can order their lives.

The Strategic Plan sets the strategic priorities of The Provincial Court of Alberta.
Rainbow Tabs Initiative
June is Pride Month, a time to reflect on and celebrate the diversity, history and accomplishments of the LGBTQ2S+ community.

The Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and the CBA Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community (SOGIC) Section is once again inviting all Alberta lawyers to partake in the Rainbow Tabs Initiative. This initiative is inspired by the Ontario Bar Association’s Rainbow Tabs Initiative — a photo campaign where lawyers can show their support for the LGBTQ2S+ community by wearing printable or digital rainbow tabs or using Pride flag backgrounds during online meetings.

Participants are also encouraged to post their own photos on to social media using the campaign hashtags (#Pride, #Rainbowtabls, #SOGIC). Visit the SOGIC page on the CBA website for more information on how to get involved in this initiative.
Upcoming Events

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