CHBA Opposition to the Fagan/Brown Motions Involving EIAC & EAG (Feb. 27/20 Convocation)
DELIVERED BY E-MAIL
Law Society of Ontario
Osgoode Hall - 130 Queen Street West Toronto
Ontario M5H 2N6
Dear Treasurer and Members of Convocation:
RE: CHBA Opposition to the Fagan/Brown Motions Involving EIAC & EAG (Feb. 27/20 Convocation)
The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (“CHBA”), an organizational member of the Law Society of Ontario’s Equity Advisory Group (“EAG”), would like to express its opposition to the motions brought by John Fagan and seconded by Jared Brown (the “Motions”).
As you know, the EAG’s mandate is to assist the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee/Comité sur l'équité et les affaires autochtones (“EAIC”), in the development of policy options for the promotion of equity and diversity in the legal profession by: i) identifying and advising the EAIC on issues affecting equity communities, both within the legal profession and relevant to those seeking access to the profession; ii) providing input to the EAIC on the planning and development of policies and practices related to equity, both within the Law Society and the profession; and iii) commenting to the EAIC on Law Society of Ontario reports and studies relating to equity issues within the profession.
The need for such an advisory group was identified in the 1997 Bicentennial Report on Equity Issues in the Legal Profession. Since then, the EAG has been working collaboratively with the Law Society to address issues that affect all of us in the legal profession. Some of the reports that the EAG has participated in and which have led to positive changes in the profession include: the Career Choices Survey and Articling Reports, the Mental Health Report, Indigenous Initiatives, the Professor Fiona Kay Reports, the Retention of Women in Private Practice Consultation reports, etc.
Specifically, the CHBA is concerned that, rather than contributing to the goals of inclusion and diversity in the profession and recognizing the important role of the EAG in the EAIC, the Motions attempt to address a perceived problem in the internal workings of the EAIC --which is outside the control of the EAG-- as justification to censure the EAG and challenge its existence altogether. As such, the CHBA respectfully submits that any issues concerning the internal workings of the EAIC do not reasonably justify the elimination of the EAG, which has been contributing to the betterment of the profession for the last 23 years. We continue to believe that it is important for licensees and the public to see that the legal profession is making efforts to better reflect the increasing diversity of Ontario’s population. To that end, we ask that Convocation once again stand on the side of continuing to work collaboratively with our equity partners and communities towards the promotion of diversity and inclusion in our profession.
Yours very truly,
The Canadian Hispanic Bar Association
Cc. Equity Advisory Group, email@example.com, CHBA Membership
CONVOCATION AND STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES, SEPTEMBER 11, 2019
As we all know, in 2016, the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) adopted the Report of the Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees Working Group. Our organization has been involved with this process from the inception of the LSO working group in 2012, through the consultation process in 2015, and the final report in 2016.One of the recommendations of this final report was to require every licensee (i.e. all lawyers and paralegals) to adopt a personal and confidential “Statement of Principles” (SoP) to advance greater equality, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession.The LSO elected a new Board on April 30, 2019. A number of the newly-elected members do not support the required SoP.On June 27, 2019, Convocation (i.e. the business meeting of the LSO’s Board of Directors) considered two motions regarding the SoP. The main issue was whether the SoP should be repealed or made voluntary. After eight long hours of debate, the day ended in impasse and the SoP remained the status quo.A special meeting of Convocation is scheduled for Wednesday, September 11, 2019 at the LSO in order to continue the consideration of this matter.CHBA continues to believe in the value of the SoP and, facing the prospect of completely abandoning the progress made thus far, endorses the motion proposed by benchers, Joseph Groia and Teresa Donnelly, to make the SoP voluntary. We understand that other members of the RoundTable of Diversity Association (RODA) and Demand Inclusion also support the voluntary pledge, and we stand united with them.For more information about Convocation on September 11th, please visit the LSO’s website. If you wish to attend and stand in solidarity with our partner organizations, you can wear purple to show your support. Please see Demand Inclusion's websitefor more information.
Letter to Ministers Hussen and Goodale re Montoya Family Xmas Eve 2018 Deportation Order
*UPDATE* - THE MONTOYA FAMILY IS STAYING IN CANADA!
December 17, 2018The Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipThe Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency PreparednessHouse of CommonsOttawa, ON K1A 0A6Dear Ministers:Re: Montoya Family Christmas Eve Deportation OrderWe are writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association, a non-for-profit organization representing the interests of Latin American and Hispanic lawyers, National Committee on Accreditation candidates, Foreign Legal Consultants, articling students, Law Practice Program candidates, and law students across Canada.We are writing further to the Twitter messages and voicemails left at your offices on December 14, 2018 regarding the pending deportation of Camilo, Bettsy, Martin, Thomas, Henry, Dora, and Luisa Montoya. Their story was featured last week on Global News and other media outlets - https://globalnews.ca/news/4751451/family-canada-deported-christmas-eve/.We have been in touch with the Montoya family and their lawyer. We acknowledge that the family’s asylum claim was recently rejected on account of the Immigration and Refugee Board’s five-year delay in hearing their case. The Refugee Board found that the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) is longer a threat, despite evidence that FARC members continue to attend the Montoyas’ former home to inquire about the family’s whereabouts. We understand that the family has an outstanding spousal sponsorship application as well as other pending applications to remain in Canada on humanitarian and compassionate grounds. We also understand that the Montoya family members are model members of their community and own property and small businesses in Canada.In our view, the current order to deport the Montoya family is unfair and unjust, given the government delays in hearing the family’s asylum case and the family’s other pending proceedings. Moreover, the Montoyas have already been living in Canada for six (6) years and have demonstrated their ability to be contributing members of Canadian society.At a time when our community appears to be increasingly under attack by the federal government in the United States, it is more important than ever that the Canadian government show its support for Canada’s Latin American and Hispanic community. For this reason, we strongly urge you to stay and/or rescind Canada’s current deportation order against the Montoya family.We wish you a happy holiday season and thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this matter.Yours very truly,Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA)CC: The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, House of CommonsThe Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, House of CommonsSenator Rosa Galvez, House of CommonsLetter to Ministers Hussen and Goodale re Montoya Family dated December 17, 2018
CHBA's June 29/18 Letter to PM Trudeau re Trump's Immigration Policies
June 29, 2018The Right Honourable Prime Minister Justin TrudeauHouse of CommonsOttawa, ON K1A 0A6Dear Prime Minister Trudeau:Re: Take a Stand Against the Trump Administration’s Immigration PoliciesWe are writing to you on behalf of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association, which is a national non-for-profit organization representing the interests of Latin American and Hispanic lawyers, National Committee on Accreditation candidates, Foreign Legal Consultants, articling students, Law Practice Program candidates, and law students across Canada. Our organization works to help our members grow their business, access connections and peer support, prepare for an ever changing legal environment, and celebrate the uniqueness of the Hispanic and Latin American community.Although our organization seldom weighs in on political matters, we feel compelled to voice how deeply disturbed we are by the recent cruel treatment of migrant families crossing through the Mexico/U.S.A border. Canada is a country of settlers and immigrants and we believe in due process and the dignity of the migrant.We are also concerned about the potential backlash against the Latin American and Hispanic community as a result of the Trump Administration’s current immigration policies. As such, we ask that you stand up and condemn these policies in the House of Commons. Thousands of people immigrate to Canada every year through various streams, including the refugee stream. Our country is proof that the enforcement of immigration laws can co-exist with due process and the dignity of the migrant. Remind our American neighbours that a country can govern with heart, and not cruelty, in administering its immigration system.Given the ongoing cruelty of the Trump administration in the enforcement of its immigration laws, we urge the Canadian government to immediately suspend and withdraw from the Canada-U.S.A. Safe Third Country Agreement so that migrants who do make their way to Canada via the U.S.A. are not turned back at the border.The circumstances under which this agreement was signed approximately 14 years ago are no longer in place. The U.S.A is no longer a safe country for migrants, as evidenced by its most recent policies. In order for Canada to maintain its international human rights obligations, it can no longer send back migrants to a country where their rights are violated. Where children are separated from their families and put in cages. Where families escaping persecution are sent to military detention centres indefinitely.Canadians must not stay silent. We ask that you please advise us as soon as possible of further steps you and the Canadian government are taking to protect the rights of immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.Yours very truly,Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA)CC: The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency PreparednessThe Honourable Ahmed D. Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and CitizenshipLetter to PM Trudeau re Trump Immigration Policies dated June 29, 2018
CHBA attends meeting re DACA/TPS with MP Pablo Rodriguez
On February 16, 2018, the CHBA attended a meeting in Toronto with MP Pablo Rodriguez and other local Hispanic community organizations to discuss the Canadian government policies regarding persons affected by the U.S. government's decisions on DACA and TPS.Correo Canadiense article: https://bit.ly/2vTHWRjRevista Debate article: https://bit.ly/2CbVGcu
CHBA’s October 23/17 Letter to LSUC Benchers re Statement of Principles
October 23, 2017Law Society of Upper Canada BenchersOsgoode Hall130 Queen Street WestToronto, ONM5H 2N6Dear Law Society Benchers:RE: Opposition to the Motion Requesting that the Law Society of Upper Canada Exempt Conscientious Objectors from Adopting and Abiding by the Statement of Principles to Promote Equality, Diversion and InclusionOn behalf of the Canadian Hispanic Bar Association (“CHBA”), we are writing to express our disagreement with the proposed motion to be tabled by Bencher Joseph Groia on December 1, 2017 that seeks to exempt licensees from adopting and abiding by a statement of principles (the “statement”) to promote equality, diversity and inclusion if they declare themselves to be conscientious objectors.The CHBA has been involved with the Challenges Facing Racialized Licensees (“Challenges”) process from the inception of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s (“Law Society”) working group in 2012, through the consultation process in 2015, and the final report in 2016. We supported the adoption of the final report and its recommendations by Convocation in December of 2016 and our members were very pleased when it was passed.Through the above process, the CHBA met with benchers and made written submissions outlining the systemic barriers faced by our members. There is no doubt that this phenomenon is real, which is why we view requiring licensees to “acknowledge” their pre-existing human rights obligations through the statement as a baseline step in addressing systemic discrimination in the profession.In our view, this requirement concerns action and conduct, and not thoughts and belief. As such, there are no grounds for this motion. Moreover, we object to the invocation of Charter protection to evade human rights mechanisms that will promote equity, diversity, and inclusion for our members.In our view, the recommendations contained in the Challenges reports are well-reasoned, well-thought out, and enjoy wide support from equity-seeking groups in the profession. It would be a step backwards for the current motion to pass.We thus ask you, as our elected representatives, to vote against this motion, and to continue to implement the recommendations contained in the Challenges report in our continued pursuit of equity, diversity and inclusion in the profession.Yours very truly,Veronica MarsonPresident, Canadian Hispanic Bar Association
CHBA Opposes CBA's Intervention in Chevron Corporation et al. v. Yaiguaje et al.
The CHBA stood alongside lawyers from across Canada in opposing the Canadian Bar Association's intervention before the Supreme Court of Canada in Chevron Corp.'s high-profile case against a group of Ecuadorean indigenous people.The case involves a $9.51 billion judgment that indigenous villagers had obtained against Chevron for extensive pollution in the Lago Agrio region of Ecuador. The villagers seek to enforce that judgment against Chevron's assets in Ontario. A lower court had dismissed the case against Chevron on grounds that there was no jurisdiction in Ontario to enforce the judgment, but the Ontario Court of Appeal reversed that decision. Chevron appealed the matter to the Supreme Court of Canada.The CHBA raised the procedural concern that the CBA had violated its own policies in deciding to intervene, along with the substantive concern that the CBA's intervention would constrain access to justice for one of the most vulnerable groups in our global society: indigenous peoples living on resource-rich lands.On October 16, 2014, just one day before the deadline to submit its factum, the CBA withdrew its intervention. The CHBA's letter to CBA President, Michele H. Hollins, Q.C.on this issue may be viewed here: http://nebula.wsimg.com/0f55bf77ec4b21e62d079089d37db5fd?AccessKeyId=DA0FDD96E2979F714914&disposition=0&alloworigin=1