By delivering quality professional advocacy and events, we help our members:
• Celebrate the uniqueness of the Hispanic & Latin American legal community;
• Access connections and peer support;
• Advocate for their interests and those of our community;
• Prepare for an ever changing legal environment; and
• Grow their business.
The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (“CHBA”) is an organization with approximately 230 members. Our membership includes lawyers, internationally trained lawyers, National Committee on Accreditation (“NCA”) candidates, paralegals, law and articling students, and Legal Practice Program (“LPP”) candidates.
Our primary focus is to advocate for and support Latin American and Hispanic people in the legal profession across Canada. We also collaborate with other equity-seeking groups within the profession and the broader Latin American/Hispanic community on initiatives that aim to celebrate diversity and improve inclusion.
The CHBA is currently working on two very important and related efforts which we would like to share. First, the National Student Drive and the related launch of our first ever law student chapter at the University of Ottawa (“CHBA uOttawa Chapter”). The other is increasing our membership and presence across Canada to strengthen our ability to advocate for our members and other equity-seeking communities.
On October 14, 2021, the CHBA uOttawa Chapter held its inaugural event and it has been working with law students and new lawyers from across the country to invite other Latin American/Hispanic law students to join the CHBA and create a national network of Latin American/Hispanic law students. The National Student Drive aims to increase opportunities for mentorship and for students to build relationships with each other and established CHBA members that will support them throughout their careers.
The national expansion effort seeks to strengthen the CHBA’s presence outside of Ontario. While the CHBA certainly has members from outside of Ontario, it needs to increase its presence in other provinces to advocate more effectively for its members everywhere in Canada. Efforts are underway on this front through direct networking, but the CHBA will be looking at more systematic ways to increase its membership in the rest of Canada.
The CHBA would also like to take this opportunity to invite other equity-seeking groups to collaborate with us and know that we are here to collaborate with you. We have a history of collaboration, but believe it is important to continue to offer our support and cooperation. We draw inspiration from the Indigenous Bar Association, Canadian Association of Black Lawyers, and Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers, among other organizations, and look forward to continuing and strengthening collaboration in the years to come – our profession and society will certainly benefit.
In closing, we would like to thank the Ontario Bar Association for its support of the CHBA and for this opportunity during Hispanic Heritage Month to share a bit about ourselves and our efforts and goals. Hailing from 26 countries, Canadians of Latin American/Hispanic origin make up a large and growing community in Canada. They enrich our national fabric with their diverse and vibrant cultures, experiences, cuisine, music, dance, and they play an important role in Canada’s growth and prosperity, thanks to their entrepreneurial and collaborative spirit.
We invite all Canadians to learn more about our heritage and to honour the rich cultural and artistic traditions of our fellow Canadians of Latin American/Hispanic origin.
We wish you a wonderful and Hispanic Heritage Month!
Gracias and Obrigado!
September 30, 2021 marks the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, fulfilling one of many recommendations made by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (the “TRC”). It is an important milestone in Canada’s ongoing reckoning with our nation’s colonial past. As stated by The Honourable Murray Sinclair, Chair of the TRC, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is designed “to honour Survivors, their families, and communities, and ensure that public commemoration of the history and legacy of residential schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process.”
The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (the “CHBA”) acknowledges the importance of and recognizes the responsibility we share as legal professionals in advancing the goals of reconciliation. The CHBA encourages its members to explore ways in which we can participate and take up the responsibility of gaining greater awareness of Indigenous history and laws, and become respectful and genuine allies with Indigenous peoples, be in our places of work or more broadly in the regions where we live and play – the opportunities are many and varied.
The TRC report documented Canada’s legacy of attempted cultural genocide and charted a way forward for reconciliation. Furthermore, the Calls to Action report articulates what must be done to begin to address the legacy of Canada’s residential school program, namely, the discriminatory effects faced by Indigenous peoples in all areas of Canadian society such as child welfare, education, health, and throughout the nation’s justice system.
In items 27 and 28 of the Calls toAction, the legal profession is specifically called upon to advance legal change, including addressing the over-incarceration of indigenous people; mobilizing resources in the best interests of indigenous children, as ordered through numerous decisions of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal; responding to the victimization of indigenous women, as noted in the Inquiry of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women; and reflecting on how the Crown deals with claims of Aboriginal rights, including Aboriginal title.
The CHBA acknowledges that to contribute to, and be ready for, meaningful changes that reflect Indigenous laws and their applicability within the Canadian legal system, members can play a vital role by gaining greater awareness about Indigenous history and laws, and the diverse relationships that can propel that change. Importantly, for instance, the UnitedNations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act received RoyalAssent in Canada’s Senate on June 16, 2021, marking a historic milestone:Canada’s first substantive step towards ensuring federal laws reflect the standards set out in the UNDRIP. There is much more work to be done and we invite our members to consider and act on the words below.
“With determination, wisdom and kindness, The Honourable Sinclair remains steadfast in his belief that the path to actual reconciliation betweenIndigenous and non-Indigenous people requires understanding, and the acceptance of often difficult truths about Canada's past and present. He leaves Canadians with the challenge to choose one Call to Action and do what you can to make it happen.
- Alanis Obomsawin, Honour to Senator MurraySinclair, documentary featured at the Toronto International Film Festival,September 13, 2021.
The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (“CHBA”) has partnered with University ofOttawa Faculty of Law students to establish a uOttawa Chapter of the CHBA (“CHBA uOttawa”).
CHBA uOttawa has two initial objectives. First, CHBAuOttawa will strive to serve the needs of Hispanic and Latin American/Latinx-identifyingstudents at the Faculty of Law through relationship building, networking, andmentoring. Second, the executive members of CHBA uOttawa and CHBA will collaborateon a national outreach strategy to identify and connect with Hispanic and LatinAmerican/Latinx-identifying law school students across Canada.
CHBA and CHBA uOttawa are aware of several existingHispanic and Latin American/Latinx law school associations and individuals acrossCanada. Our national outreach strategy will seek to build a rapport with theseassociations and individuals, and consolidate efforts in order to work with thelegal community, promoting diversity, self-identification and a greater senseof community and advocacy for Hispanic and Latin American/Latinx-identifyinglaw school students and professionals.
CHBA and CHBA uOttawa have developed severalinitiatives, including:
- a law school student mentorship program that will pair 1L students with upper-year students;
- a kickoff networking event inOctober 2021 which will be targeted towards Hispanic and Latin American/Latinx-Identifyinglaw school students;
- the creation of content forthe “student corner” page in CHBA’s official website to promote CHBA uOttawaand provide a broader range of resources to students; and
- planning of future events tocontinue engagement with Hispanic and Latin American/Latinx-Identifying lawschool students across Canada.
We are excited to be starting this new initiative.Current and future Hispanic and Latin American/Latinx-Identifying law schoolstudents are the future of the CHBA and will ensure the organization’s growth.Their support is imperative to both the enhancement of diversity in the legalcommunity and continued member engagement in our organization.