Today, Canada celebrates the 36th anniversary of the signing of Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter was signed by then-Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau and Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on April 17, 1982. In 2015, 93 per cent of Canadians surveyed chose the Charter as the most important symbol of national identity, ranking it higher than the flag, the RCMP, the national anthem, hockey, the beaver, and the maple leaf.
ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes encourages all Canadians to reflect on the meaning of the Charter’s introduction and how it has shaped Canada since it came into force. The Charter guarantees basic rights and freedoms for everyone in Canada and continues to be essential in the protection of human rights, the rule of law, and the independence of the judiciary.
"Aujourd’hui, j’aimerais rappeler aux Canadiens que nous n’avons pas plus grand devoir que celui de veiller aux libertés des uns et des autres. Les mots enchâssés dans la Charte représentent nos droits, nos libertés et surtout notre responsabilité collective."
ICJ Canada Board Member John Packer supports Bob Rae’s call for Canadian leadership on Rohingya crisisWritten by Administrator
ICJ Canada Board Member and University of Ottawa Law Professor John Packer supports Bob Rae’s call for Canada to play a leadership role in addressing the Rohingya crisis. “Not only is this amongst the world’s worst humanitarian crises, but it is another threat to the international rules-based order presenting evident challenges for regional peace and security and sustainable peace and development in Myanmar and its neighbourhood. Canada is well-placed to step up with substantial humanitarian assistance, but also to press for accountability of those individually responsible for the crimes committed. In this regard, the ICC Prosecutor’s request for clarification of jurisdiction is a welcome development. But beyond humanitarian assistance and the fight against impunity, Canada should also lead in addressing the larger challenges of Myanmar’s State responsibility for the situation as a whole and in urging and assisting an appropriate inter-governmental approach, consistent with the UN Charter, to the root causes. Issues of human rights, democratic governance, and the Rule of Law – within Myanmar and at international level – are at the heart of these challenges.”
ICJ Canada president and University of Ottawa Law Professor Errol Mendes congratulates the University of Victoria on Canada's first Indigenous Law Degree. Indigenous and Aboriginal Legal Traditions are gaining traction around the world and we are thrilled to see this development coming from one of Canada's leaders in post-secondary education while promoting Indigenous law and faculty. This aligns with our mandate of promoting human rights and the rule of law throughout Canada and world and aligns with the Truth and Reconciliation's recommendations to increase Indigenous knowledge and teaching methods into classrooms at all levels.
4 April 2018: ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes hosts and moderates discussion with NATO Secretary GeneralWritten by Administrator
On April 4th, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke at a CÉPI - CIPS Town Hall discussion on the importance of NATO during a time in which the rules-based international order is being challenged. ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes joined Mr. Stoltenberg on stage as host and discussion moderator.
Jens Stoltenberg is Norwegian and held various posts in the government including Prime Minister of Norway from 2005-2013
During his tenure as Prime Minister, Mr Stoltenberg frequently called for NATO to focus on security challenges close to Allied territory.
Mr Stoltenberg is a strong supporter of enhanced transatlantic cooperation, including better burden-sharing across the Atlantic. He sees NATO and the EU as complementary organisations in terms of securing peace and development in Europe and beyond.
Mr Stoltenberg has had a number of international assignments. These include chairing the UN High-level Panel on System-wide Coherence and the High-level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. He was also UN Special Envoy on Climate Change.
Happy New Year!
May 2018 bring you a peace filled life, warmth and togetherness with your work, friends, family and much prosperity. ICJ Canada’s first order of business will be to get our podcast series off the ground and we want to hear from you! What topics would like covered? What are the pressing legal issues facing Canada today? Are there any legal actors (judges, professors, lawyers, plaintiffs) we should profile or interview?
We would also encourage anyone who has not already purchased a membership for 2018 to please consider doing so. Your support is essential in allowing ICJ Canada to do projects such as these podcasts and advocate for the rule of law, judicial independence, and human rights in Canada.
Que cette nouvelle année vous apporte la réussite dans tout ce que vous entreprenez et que le bonheur soit dans vos coeurs et dans ceux de vos proches. Nous sommes en train de préparer la programmation pour 2018 et notre premier ordre du jour sera de démarrer notre série de baladodiffusions. Nous avons décidé de solliciter nos membres pour voirs quels thématiques ils aimeraient abordés. Quels sujets aimeriez-vous couvrir? Quels sont les problèmes juridiques pressants auxquels le Canada est confronté aujourd'hui? Y a-t-il des intervenants juridique (juges, professeurs, avocats, plaignants) que nous devrions interviewer?
Nous encourageons également toute personne qui n'a pas déjà acheté une adhésion pour 2018 de cliquer ici. Votre soutien est essentiel pour permettre à la CIJ - Canada de réaliser des projets tels que les balados et de défendre la primauté du droit, l'indépendance judiciaire et les droits de la personne au Canada.
ICJ Canada President Errol Mendes Book Launch - Canada's Constitutional Democracy: The 150th Anniversary CelebrationWritten by Administrator
ICJ Canada was thrilled at the turnout for the Canada's Constitutional Democracy: The 150th Anniversary Celebration book launch! This event was hosted by ICJ Canada President and general editor for the book Errol Mendes, and Senator Marilou McPhedran who also contributed a wonderful chapter on the efforts of Canadian women to acheive substantive equality through the Charter.
In attendance were guests such as John Packer, Elizabeth May, Stéphane Beaulac, and many other Parliamentarians and contributors.
You can order this landmark constitutional law and historical text celebrating Canada's 150th anniversary of Confederation here:
ICJ Canada publication and book launch: “Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération”Written by Administrator
ICJ Canada has published a unique collection of essays on the occasion of the 150th Anniversary of Canadian Confederation. Canada and the Rule of Law: 150 Years after Confederation / Le Canada et la primauté du droit: 150 ans après la Confédération features 35 short, captivating pieces by jurists from across Canada, interpreting the theme in diverse ways.
Topics addressed in the book include the Canadian ‘origin myth’, the interpretation of the rule of law in Canadian constitutional jurisprudence, the relationship between access to justice and the rule of law, the role of members of the judicial profession in relation to the rule of law, and the need for a rule of law that upholds fundamental human rights. Authors identify areas in which our continued vigilance and commitment to improvement is critical for ensuring a strong rule of law, particularly in relation to human rights. Several essays in the book focus on reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in Canada, and advocate for a rule of law that respects Indigenous laws. The essays are written in both English and French.
Our book launch took place on June 10, as part of the Realizing Rights 2017: Human Rights and Constitutionalism Conference. ICJ Canada Executive Director Janine Lespérance chaired the discussion, which featured 13 other book contributors: Raj Anand, Karen Busby, Richard Devlin, Scott Fairley, Julius Grey, Hanna Gros, Marie-Claude Landry, Errol Mendes, Samer Muscati, Alex Neve, John Packer, and Robin Sully.
Additional contributors to the book are Roger Bilodeau, Ian Binnie, John Campion, Adam Dodek, Maureen Duffy, Mary Eberts, Dennis Edney, Allan Hutchinson, Fiona Keith, Marcia Kran, Lucie Lamarche, Anne Levesque, Kathleen Mahoney, L.S. Tony Mandamin, Jesse McCormick, Bradford Morse, Pamela Palmater, Debra Parkes, Kimberly Prost, Daniel Proulx, Michèle Rivet, Colleen Sheppard, Shauna Van Praagh, Sherri Walsh, and Jack Watson. ICJ Canada wishes to sincerely thank all of our contributors for their excellent, thought-provoking writing.
We’d also like to acknowledge the editorial team that made this publication happen: Janine Lespérance (Lead Editor), Richard Devlin, Errol Mendes, John Packer, Michèle Rivet, and Peter Tinsley.
We intend to distribute this book widely, and hope that it will spark discussions about the nature and meaning of the rule of law for Canadians.
Tarnopolsky Award Ceremony for Professor Jennifer Bond: well-deserved recognition and a captivating conversation with Senator Ratna OmidvarWritten by Administrator
On January 31, 2017, ICJC members, colleagues, Parliamentarians, lawyers, and other members of the community gathered on Parliament Hill in Ottawa to recognize her Professor Jennifer Bond's achievements. She is the 2016 winner of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky Award. Following the Award Ceremony, in lieu of giving a traditional address, Independent Senator for Ontario Ratna Omidvar joined Professor Bond for an engaging discussion on "Responding to the Refugee Crisis".
Professor Bond is Associate Professor at the University of Ottawa; Chair of the Global Refugee Sponsorship Initiative; and Founder and Faculty Director of the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub. She has also served as Special Advisor to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship; was on the founding executive of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers, and led the creation of the Refugee Sponsorship Support Program (“SSP”), which has mobilized over 1,300 pro-bono lawyers to assist Canadians across the country seeking to privately sponsor refugees. She has published extensively, is a frequent media commentator, has given numerous presentations at national and international events, and has contributed to litigation, including by appearing in interventions in important refugee cases at the Supreme Court of Canada. She holds a BA and BCom from the University of Calgary, an LLB from the University of Victoria, and an LLM from Yale Law School.
Her nomination was supported by several colleagues who noted Professor Bond’s truly outstanding dedication to refugees over the past decade. She has demonstrated exceptional leadership, advocacy, and community building in the face of the migrant crisis, and been a great source of inspiration to many people through her work.
One of the Tarnopolsky award criteria for 2016 was that it must be awarded to a person not yet at the midpoint of his or her career. With her remarkable achievements to date, Professor Bond is an extremely deserving candidate.
ICJ Canada was profoundly saddened to learn of the passing of Professor Sir Nigel Rodley, President of ICJ Geneva. He was an internationally-renowned human rights educator and advocate, who played a key role in the development of international human rights law and insitutions. At ICJC's Board of Directors meeting held January 26, 2017, the Board passed a unanimous motion expressing our grief at his loss, and expressing condolences to his colleagues and loved ones. We are inspired by his lifetime of work and seek to carry on his torch.
A message to ICJC members from Professor Errol Mendes, President:
As a member for ICJ Canada in 2016, I would like to thank you for your support and important contributions to our organization. We very much appreciate your commitment to our organization, and ask that you maintain it this year, by renewing your membership online today and, if you can, donate to help with the work of our organization.
Your membership allows us to initiate many events and activities that have a positive contribution in our legal profession and in Canadian society, such as the impactful publication of our initial report on the federal judicial appointments process, and hosting a panel on legislative responses to modern slavery (see the video online)– our first step of engagement in this important area related to business, the rule of law, and human rights.
I’d like to take this opportunity to recognize and thank ICJC Board members Rebecca Robb, Naveen Mehta, and Jennifer Egsgard, whose efforts have been essential to the realization of these initiatives.
Similarly, I’d like to thank our new Vice President for the Prairies John McWilliams, and Council member Jim Arnett for organizing highly successful fundraising dinners this year featuring Dick Pound in Calgary and Toronto, respectively; Council member Peter Tinsley for putting together a successful full day Conference on Canadian whole of government involvement in fragile states; and Board member Chantal Bernier, with whom I hosted an engaging consultative event on national security and civil liberties that involved participants from government, the private sector, and rights-focused NGOs.
We are very excited about several projects that we have initiated and will carry forward this year. What does 2017 have in store for us?
- We will be hosting 2016 Tarnopolsky Award winner Professor Jennifer Bond in discussion with Senator Ratna Omidvar for a special event on responding to the refugee crisis in Ottawa on January 31
- Following the successful panel discussion we hosted on legislative responses to Modern Slavery, we are building a coalition and working towards the potential adoption of laws in Canada similar to the UK Modern Slavery Act
- We’ll continue to work on the second part of our judicial appointments project, the first portion of which has already had a national-level impact
- We are a project partner for “Realizing Rights 2017: Human Rights and Constitutionalism”, a major Conference to take place June 8-10 at the University of Ottawa – and plan to hold our Annual Members’ Meeting in conjunction with this conference (Details TBD – save the date!)
- Also coinciding with Canada’s 150th Anniversary, we intend to publish a book of short essays on the rule of law in Canada, featuring high quality contributions by jurists from across Canada.
Once again, thank you for your support! Wishing you and yours the very best for this new year.
On November 21, 2016, ICJ Canada hosted a timely and engaging panel discussion in Toronto: "Modern Slavery in Supply Chains: Trends in Global Corporate Liability and Legislation". A continuing professional development event, attendees learned a great deal about the problem of modern slavery, challenges for companies, and legislative responses to the problem. The event featured a diversity of viewpoints, which the lawyers and students present had the opportunity to continue to discuss at a reception following the panel. The presenters were:
- UK solicitor Peter Talibart, Managing Partner of Seyforth Shaw LLP London office
- Kevin McGurgan, UK Consul-General and Director-General of UK Trade and Investment in Canada
- Mark Trachuk, Partner, Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto
- Ruth Dearnley, Chief Executive Officer, Stop the Traffik
- Jonathan Drimmer, Vice President and Deputy General Counsel, Barrick Gold Corp.
- Mora Johnson, Barrister and Solicitor, Former Chair, OECD Forum on Responsible Mineral Supply Chains, Former Senior Advisor, Global Affairs Canada
If you were unable to attend the event in person, or if you would like to revisit the discussion, ICJ Canada is delighted to share this video of the panel with you:
On October 20, 2017, ICJ Canada held a very special full-day CPD programme in Ottawa, focusing on building the rule of law in fragile states through whole of government involvement, linking military, justice sector, humanitarian, and development assistance.
Beginning with remarks delivered by the Honourable John McKay, Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister of National Defence, the conference featured a range of renowned experts and leaders from the military, security, legal, and media sectors.
The keynote speaker, featured over the lunch hour, was General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff. His engaging comments touched on the new reality of interventions in fragile states, in which the military can play a role in creating a platform for other types of efforts that will together create development and long term stability, rather than short-lived victories.
Other themes discussed during the day included:
- Integrating whole of government expertise in Canadian involvement in Middle East conflict zones (Gen. Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff; Mark Gwozdecky, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Global Affairs; Prof. Thomas Juneau, University of Ottawa, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs);
- Accountability challenges and dealing with the destructive consequences of conflict (Prof. Errol Mendes, University of Ottawa Faculty of Law, and President, International Commission of Jurists, Canadian Section; BGen. (ret’d) Kenneth Watkin, former judge advocate general and legal author; Robert Petit, Senior Counsel and Team Leader, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section, Department of Justice)
- Best and worst practices in establishing or strengthening national justice and security sector institutions (Andrew J. Carswell, Senior Delegate to Canada for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Assistant Commissioner Serge Therriault, Executive Director, Public Affairs, Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP))
- Oversight of international peacebuilding efforts in relation to international criminal law (Hon. Marie Deschamps, former justice of the SCC and UN investigator; Linda Bianchi, Counsel, Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Section, Department of Justice and former international prosecutor; MGen Blaise Cathcart, Judge Advocate General)
- The role of media and knowledge networks in contributing to sustainable peace building, democracy and development (Murray Brewster, CBC reporter and author); Prof. Stephen Baranyi, University of Ottawa, School of International Development and Global Studies)
- Integrating silos for effective policy development (Anne Burgess, Director, Conflict Policy and Security Coherence Secretariat within the Task Force, Global Affairs Canada; Prof. Stephen Baranyi)
All discussions were enlightening and well-received by the audience, made up of professionals from the private sector, including civil society, and public sector, especially the military, as well as academia.
Many thanks to ICJ Canada Council Member Peter Tinsley, former international prosecutor and justice sector consultant, for organizing this highly successful event. Without his efforts, attendees would not have had such a unique learning opportunity.