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Current Focus Issues

ICJ Canada continues the great ICJ mission of promoting the cause of international human rights and the rule of law throughout the world.

We have chosen to focus our current activities on four substantive theme areas that are galvanizing national and international attention:

Judicial appointments

One of the core functions of ICJ Canada is to promote an effective judicial appointments process and constitutional and legal frameworks to ensure the most respected and independent judiciary that also reflects the diversity of Canada’s population. ICJ Canada is spearheading a legal research project to conduct a comprehensive review of the federal judicial appointments process. The research team, based mainly in British Columbia but expanding across Canada, will use a comparative approach that involves primary data collection and consideration of international norms. The intended end result is a synthesizing report that recommends an improved process. ICJ Canada is very-well positioned to make a serious, balanced, and influential contribution to this pressing issue facing the Canadian legal profession, the justice system, and Canadian society generally. Lessons learned will also be promoted through ICJ Geneva worldwide, since other countries face similar challenges to ensure independent and effective judiciaries, one of the most critical aspects of the rule of law.

Business and Human Rights: Addressing Modern Slavery

Exploitative or forced labour, termed “modern slavery”, in supply chains is an increasingly recognized and urgent problem. Discovery of modern slavery in a company’s supply chain can seriously affect the reputations and business of companies and sectors of global manufacturing, and forced labour has devastating consequences for its victims. Many jurisdictions, such as the U.K. and California, have already passed laws to tackle the problem, and others such as France and the E.U. are close to introducing their own.

In November 2016, ICJC held an inaugural event demonstrating our engagement on this important topic, a panel discussion featuring a range of legal experts, including experts on the UK Modern Slavery Act. ICJ Canada is currently building partnerships and exploring with key stakeholders the possibility of Canada adopting similar legislation that would increase transparency and accountability with respect to forced labour in supply chains.

  • Watch the video of ICJC's panel discussion on Modern Slavery in Supply Chains (held in Toronto, Nov. 21, 2016)
  • Read our rapporteur's summary report of the panel presentations

National security and civil liberties

ICJ Canada is committed to promoting the appropriate balance between national security and civil liberties in Canada, especially in light of the increasing complexity of laws focused on national security. Through a collaborative initiative, our Québec and Maritime regional sections have put into place a national security monitoring site, to provide comprehensive information and analysis of national security laws and proposals on a bilingual, publicly-accessible online platform. We have developed a partnership with Montréal, Laval, Ottawa, and Dalhousie universities to this end, and the site is hosted by the University of Montreal's Centre for Research in Public Law. Law students, academics, and legal experts are involved in the project.

Rule of law in the post-2015 international development agenda

The global community has been working on developing new sustainable development goals and targets, the latest iteration of which include rule of law and access to justice. Once finalized, these goals will be applicable to all countries, including Canada. ICJ Canada, in partnership with the Canadian Bar Association, organized multi-stakeholder roundtable discussions with government representatives and members of civil society on this topic. We have been invited to participate in a conference held by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation and the Canadian Association of International Development Professionals, and intend to continue to educate the public, development professionals, and government about the crucial importance of justice in society, both as an end in itself and as a means for achieving other development goals.