Alberta Lawyers vote to keep mandatory Indigenous history training in place

“There were powerful statements made about the importance of self-regulation and about educating ourselves, as legal professionals, on the legal history and relationship of Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. I am proud of my profession and the Alberta Bar today," said Koren Lightning-Earle, legal director at Wahkohtowin Law and Governance Lodge at the University of Alberta


Alberta lawyers voted Monday to reject a resolution that would have done away with mandatory training in Indigenous cultural competency.

Unofficially, 2,609 of the 3,473 active members of the Law Society of Alberta (LSA) who voted wanted the LSA to continue to mandate professional development requirements as they saw fit and in an appropriate time frame. That number represented approximately 75 per cent of those who voted. According to the law society there are over 10,000 lawyers in the province.

A petition had been brought forward by 50 active members of the society who wanted to do away with Rule 67.4, which allows Benchers (board members) to “prescribe continuing professional development requirements to be completed by members, in a form and manner, as well as time frame, acceptable to the Benchers.”

Roger Song, who organized the petition, referred to the “pain of automatic suspension” that was the result of not completing The Path. In November, 26 lawyers were put on administrative suspension.

With the failure of the resolution, no further action will be required by the law society.

The Benchers mandated The Path in October 2020 as continuing professional development for the law society. That mandate was followed by the adoption of Rule 67.4 allowing Benchers to prescribe specific continuing professional development.

Lawyers are given 18 months to complete The Path, a five-hour series of online modules. The training was open to both active and inactive lawyers at no cost. Those who do not take the course will be suspended.


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