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.
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.
Learn with Lerners Bursary & Mentorship Program
Lerners believes that diversity and equitable opportunity in the legal services industry is integral to providing effective legal representation. That is they launched the Learn with Lerners Bursary & Mentorship Program as part of their efforts to help address the systemic barriers experienced early on by Black, Indigenous and People of Colour in the legal services industry.
The program is designed to assist BIPOC students financially in their first year of post-secondary education by awarding a $5,000.00 bursary in addition to 12 months of invaluable mentorship with a Lerners lawyer.
Effective immediately, they are accepting applications online through their website. For more details on this program and to submit applications,
please go to https://www.lerners.ca/diversity-inclusion/bursary-program. Applications will be accepted until 11:59pm EST on October 7th, 2021.
Students who graduated high school and have been admitted to a first-year program at an Ontario college or university in September 2021 are eligible for the Learn with Lerners Bursary & Mentorship Program. Eligible candidates must:
The recipient of the Learn with Lerners Bursary & Mentorship Program will be announced in early November.
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