ICJ Canada is currently completing a national project examining Canada’s federal and provincial judicial appointments processes in order to address criticisms that have emerged regarding the processes, and to suggest reforms. The project has two aspects. First, we seek to examine and critique the current Canadian process for judicial appointments. Second, we seek to survey current international norms and national processes from amongst leading rule-of-law jurisdictions around the world to identify best practices for adoption in Canada.
Commencing in the fall of 2015, ICJ Canada began gathering information from provincial jurisdictions across Canada on the federal and provincial judicial appointments processes by providing questionnaires to lawyers in five jurisdictions – Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, Nova Scotia and Alberta. 20 lawyers across Canada have been involved in this information-gathering process and have been reaching out to other members of their respective legal communities. We have prepared an Interim Report setting out the findings we have drawn from the responses received with respect to the federal judicial appointments process. The Interim Report also provides recommendations to address areas that evidently require reform to further advance the principles of judicial impartiality and independence and to promote greater diversity in the judiciary, ensuring it is representative of the communities it serves.
This project coincides with an important change in the federal government’s policy stance on judicial appointments, and its expression of interest in reforming the appointment of section 96 judges. Recently, the federal government took certain steps to reform the appointments process for the Supreme Court of Canada. ICJ Canada supports the general orientation of these reforms.
On August 17, the Department of Justice held a consultation on the Interim Report with Vice President for British Columbia Rebecca Robb -the lead on the project-, Board Member from the Atlantic Provinces Professor Richard Devlin, and ICJC President, Professor Errol Mendes. We expect further consultations with the Department of Justice, and continue to advance the project. We welcome any future opportunities to participate in consultation processes the federal government undertakes to address the judicial appointments process in Canada and contribute our expertise in this area.
Read the Interim Report here. We welcome all feedback, which you may send to: info [at] icjcanada.org.
ICJ Canada has a busy fall coming up. We hope that you will participate in some of the events we're planning for this fall.
- Calgary, October 6, Fundraising Dinner: An Evening with Dick Pound. Pound will speak on dealing with corruption in international sport. On the heels of Rio, and in light of Calgary's exploration of a bid for the 2026 Winter Olympics, this is an event not to miss. Find out more on our events page, and register while tickets are available.
- Ottawa, October 20, Conference: The Rule of Law in Whole of Government Involvement in Fragile States. A unique CPD conference featuring leading legal and policy experts discussing cutting edge issues in international interventions. Accredited by the LSUC for 1 hour of professionalism, and over 5 hours of substantive content. View the full program and Register online today.
- Toronto, November 21, Project Launch: Join us in Toronto for an event launching our new project focusing on responding to modern-day slavery. Save the date - details to be released later.
- Ottawa, TBD, Tarnopolsky Award Ceremony: We will be hosting a reception to honour 2016 Tarnopolsky Award Winner Jennifer Bond.
If you would like to participate in these events or have any questions, please email info [at] icjcanada.org.
ICJ Canada is thrilled to announce Professor Jennifer Bond as the winner of the 2016 Tarnopolsky Award. Jennifer Bond is Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa; Special Advisor to the Minister of Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship; Founder and Faculty Director of the University of Ottawa Refugee Hub; and Co-founder and Co-director of the University of Ottawa Refugee Assistance Project. She also helped to create 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 Jennifer’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.
The 2016 Tarnopolsky award was to go to a candidate not yet at the midpoint of his or her career. With her remarkable achievements to date, Jennifer is a highly deserving candidate. We wish her continued success.
Jennifer will be formally given the award at a special event this autumn. Details will be announced at a later date.
ICJC participated in Global Affairs Canada’s International Assistance Review Consultations, which gave civil society organizations the opportunity to provide input on Canada’s foreign policy priorities. Our concise submission emphasized the importance of the rule of law in foreign assistance activities, both as an end in itself and as a basis for reaching other development goals. As explained, strong legal and institutional frameworks, including fair dispute resolution processes, are the basis for achievements in areas like education, health, and economic growth.
We look forward to learning the outcome of GAC’s consultations, and continuing to be engaged in this area. We are appreciative of Secretary-Treasurer Robin Sully for her work in preparing the submission.
ICJC invites you to an evening with Dick Pound, founding President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) & the man behind the Olympics.
This dinner event will feature a talk by Mr. Pound entitled:
“After Rio… Dealing With Cheating in World Sport: A Global Corruption Challenge.”
The evening will be moderated by the President of the International Commission of Jurists (Canadian Section), Prof. Errol Mendes O.Ont, LSM.
ICJC Executive Director Janine Lespérance joined 41 prominent Canadians, including former Prime Minister Joe Clark, the former Chair of the Security Intelligence Review Committee Ron Atkey, human rights lawyer (and past winner of the Tarnopolsky Award) Paul Champ, former Ambassador to the United Nations Stephen Lewis, and several other diplomats, academics, and human rights advocates in signing an open letter calling for a Commission of Inquiry into the transfer of hundreds of detainees to Afghan authorities during Canada’s military mission in Afghanistan. Detainees were transferred despite risks of torture, and credible evidence has demonstrated that many transfered detainees were indeed tortured. A public inquiry would help to clarify what happened during this time, and whether Canada flouted its obligations, including those under the UN Convention Against Torture, which Canada ratified in 1987.
Our enormously dedicated President, Errol Mendes, Professor at the University of Ottawa, has received two prestigious awards this year for his outstanding professional accomplishments.
Most recently, on May 25, Professor Mendes was honoured by the Law Society of Upper Canada with its Law Society Medal, for his “extraordinary contribution as an academic, legal advisor, adjudicator and teacher and for his expertise in constitutional law, corporate governance, human rights and diversity issues.” The Law Society Medal is awarded to Ontario lawyers for outstanding service within the profession. Professor Mendes was among 14 lawyers who received the honour this year.
Earlier this year, Professor Mendes received the highest honour of the province of Ontario: the Order of Ontario. He was described as being internationally recognized as one of Canada’s leading experts on human rights law and constitutional democracy. Along with the other noteworthy individuals chosen for the award this year, he was presented with the Order of Ontario insignia by the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, at an investiture ceremony at Queen’s Park on January 20, 2016.
On May 26, 2016, we held our annual members' meeting, an opportunity for all ICJ Canada members to learn more about their organization's activities, to participate in governance decisions, to ask questions of Board members, and to discuss ideas. We had lots of positive news about our plans and activities to share. Would you like to know what we spoke about? Click here to read the meeting minutes.
If you're not already a member of ICJ Canada, we strongly encourage you to join today! Becoming a member is the best way of showing your support and helping our organization to be sustainable and active. We are very appreciative of all our members, who are all part of the Canadian legal profession.
On March 29-30, ICJ Canada co-hosted a fantastic conference at the University of Ottawa, partnering with the University of Ottawa, the Hague Institute for Global Justice, the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, and the Centre for International Policy Studies. Attendees were treated to thought provoking speeches and discussions on the state of global affairs today, and solutions to today's pressing foreign policy issues.
The eminent speakers featured at the conference included: Canada's current Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion; Adama Dieng, Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; the Honourable Louise Arbour; Margaret Biggs, former president of the Canadian International Development Agency; Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO; Ibrahim Gambari, Co-Chair, Commission on Global Security, Justice & Governance; the Right Honourable Kevin Rudd, former Prime Minister of Australia; and several others. The guest of honour at a special dinner held at the Château Laurier was former Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin.
Missed out on the Conference but you’d like to know what was discussed? Among the media present at the event was CPAC, which has posted several videos of the conference online.
- CLICK HERE to view the Panel on “Global Community and Just Society”. This discussion was moderated by ICJC President Errol Mendes.
- CLICK HERE to view the Plenary Address, “Global Governance for the 21st Century” by Irina Bokova, who may become the first female UN Secretary General – she is one of nine official candidates for the position. The election will be held later this year.
More videos of the conference are available on the CPAC site. We encourage you to view them!
On Tuesday, June 7, you are invited to join us in Toronto for an evening featuring Dick Pound, founding President of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) & the man behind the Olympics.
At this dinner event, Mr. Pound will deliver a presentation entitled "Dealing With Cheating in Sport; A Global Corruption Challenge." The evening will be moderated by former Supreme Court of Canada Justice, the Honourable Ian Binnie.
Tuesday, June 7, 2016
University Club, 380 University Avenue
Tickets are $275 per guest, in support of the International Commission of Jurists (Canadian Section). Charitable receipts will be provided for $200 of the cost for each individual.
This event is now sold out.
For more information, please contact event planner Sherry Naylor at 416-368-8253 or sherry[at]naylorandassociates.com,or ICJ Canada Executive Director Janine Lesperance: janine.lesperance[at]icjcanada.org.
We hope you will join us on June 7.
Dick Pound is one of Canada’s most-recognized figures in international sport. In his distinguished career he was a two-time vice-president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), and Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) president from 1977 to 1982. He was founding president of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), created in 1999 to coordinate the fight against doping in sport. His efforts to clean up drug use in sports have made him one of the most renowned and influential leaders in sports and in business.
Pound is the author of nine books, including Inside the Olympics and Inside Dope. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada and of l’Ordre national du Québec.
We would like to invite all members of the Canadian Section of the International Commission of Jurists to an exciting conference, which will be held March 29-30, 2016 in Ottawa:
"Canada in Global Affairs: New challenges, new ways"
For this international conference, we are collaborating with the University of Ottawa, The Hague Institute for Global Justice, the Centre for International Policy Studies, and the Human Rights Research and Education Centre.
It will bring together leading national and international experts in security and state fragility, global community and just society, and reform of global institutions. They will share their perspectives on current and future challenges, and possible solutions for Canada.
• The Honourable Louise Arbour, C.C., G.O.Q., Counsel, Borden, Ladner Gervais LLP; Chair, President’s International Advisory Board of the University of Ottawa
• Lloyd Axworthy, former Minister of Foreign Affairs and current Chancellor, St. Paul’s University College, former President of the University of Winnipeg
• Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO
• Adama Dieng, United Nations Under-Secretary-General; Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide
• The Honourable Stéphane Dion, P.C., M.P. Minister of Foreign Affairs
• Huguette Labelle, C.C., Emeritus Governor, University of Ottawa; member, President’s International Advisory Board of the University of Ottawa; former Deputy Minister, Canadian International Development Agency
• Abiodun Williams, President, The Hague Institute for Global Justice
• The Honourable Kevin Rudd, Former Prime Minister of Australia
• James Steinberg, Dean of the Maxwell School of Public Policy and former Deputy Secretary of State of the United States of America and member of the President’s International Advisory Board
All registrations include a dinner at the Chateau Laurier with a talk by The Right Honourable Paul Martin, former Prime Minister of Canada.
Click here to view the full conference program.
Space is limited - register online today!
Congratulations to our 2005 Tarnopolsky Award winner Marcia Kran, who has been nominated by the Government of Canada for the honour of sitting on the UN Human Rights Committee. Read Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's statement at the 31st Session of the Human Rights Council, here.
ICJ Canada wishes Ms. Kran the best of luck in the international elections, to take place on June 23, 2016.
Would you like to know what we were up to in 2015? Read on...
Exciting Projects Underway
The rule of law and judicial independence have been at the heart of ICJ’s mission since its inception. We are researching best practices on judicial appointment processes in Canada and internationally in light of international norms, with a view to making concrete recommendations for improvements both in Canada and through the headquarters of ICJ in Geneva in other interested countries with ICJ Chapters around the world.
ICJC’s Quebec branch has partnered with the University of Montreal Centre for Research in Public Law to launch a new online resource, the “Observatory on national security measures”. It is a web-based resource that stores documents and follows developments related to national security measures. As it continues to grow, it will be a hub for discussion –in both of Canada’s official languages- on the risks and challenges in this area.
ICJC participated in round table discussions on the inclusion of access to justice and the rule of law in the new post-2015 sustainable development agenda, co-authored a written submission to the Minister of International Development, and hosted a panel at a Canadian Council for International Co-operation conference. With the adoption of the new and transformative 2030 Agenda this fall, ICJC looks forward to continued work in this area.
Finally, we are in the exploratory stage of developing a multi-stakeholder process of engagement to ensure Canadian corporations respect human rights in their operations abroad.
Events Across Canada
Celebrating the Magna Carta
The year 2015 was an important one, not only for ICJC as an organization, but for jurists everywhere, as it marked the 800th Anniversary of the Magna Carta, which remains a revered document for its embodiment of the rule of law. Its legacy endures today, and it is often considered the foundation of modern democratic societies. ICJC members had the opportunity to attend two different events celebrating the Magna Carta.
First, members were invited to a private reception and viewing of the Magna Carta at the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau, QC, featuring special guests Julia Nolan, Head of Foreign Policy of the British High Commission; the Honourable Paul Crampton, Chief Justice of the Federal Court; and Nathalie des Rosiers, Dean of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. The event was attended by over 80 judges, lawyers, and members of the general public.
Second, ICJC’s Quebec chapter hosted a professional development conference, held at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal, on the impact of the Magna Carta today. An impressive list of speakers dealt with topics such as women’s rights, fundamental liberties, and jury trials, tying in the historic provisions of the Magna Carta with today’s pressing issues. Presenters included Chief Justice of Quebec Nicole Duval-Hesler, Senator Serge Joyal, criminal law lawyer Jean-Claude Hébert, and President of the Quebec Human Rights Commission Jacques Frémont.
Honouring the 2015 Tarnopolsky Award Winner: Louise Arbour
On November 5th, 2015, the ICJC recognized the Honourable Louise Arbour, C.C., G.O.Q. as this year’s recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky award. The award ceremony took place in the intimate setting of the judges’ conference room of the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montréal. ICJC President Errol Mendes praised Madam Arbour as being a person who needs no introduction for most Canadians, given her outstanding contributions to justice and human rights in Canada and around the world. Attendees were privileged to listen to Madam Arbour candidly share her reflections on the state of human rights today and new approaches to global challenges.
ICJC co-hosted several speaker events this year, working with other organizations to host captivating talks. Our special guests were:
- OSCE advisor Marwan Muhammad, on tackling Islamophobia
- Justice Richard Mosley of the Federal Court, speaking on national security
- Former diplomat Robert Fowler, relating the lessons he learned from being held captive by Al Qaeda
- Ontario Court Justice Brent Knazan and lawyer Heather Neun, presenting a report on the risks faced by human rights defenders in Colombia
- Patricia Kosseim and Daniel Caron of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, discussing the implementation of national security legislation and implications for privacy
Fundraising Dinner Featuring New York Times bestseller Bill Browder
ICJC hosted Bill Browder at a sold-out dinner event in Toronto attended by over 100 guests. His acclaimed book, “Red Notice” tells the story of his experience as an international investor in Russia, where he encountered corruption and cronyism firsthand; his lawyer was murdered for exposing corruption. Ever since, Browder has been an outspoken critic of authoritarianism in Russia, and an advocate for the rule of law and human rights. His compelling presentation was followed by a thought-provoking discussion moderated by ICJC Board member, the Hon. Ian Binnie.
Building the ICJ Canada network and ensuring sustainability
The exciting activities and events we’ve undertaken over the past year have been made possible through huge amounts of largely volunteer effort. We are focused on ensuring our organization remains active and sustainable in the long term, and are prioritizing fundraising.
We are also enthusiastic about involving the next generation of jurists in our work. We have identified representatives from law faculties across the country, and look forward to growing an engaged student network.
Ottawa, Jan 18: presentation by UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants François CrépeauWritten by Administrator
ICJC, along with the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, and the Centre for International Policy Studies, presents François Crépeau. His talk is entitled "Facilitating Mobility, Fostering Diversity: Lessons from the Global North’s Response to Migration Challenges".
Event Date: January 18, 2016 - 11:30am - 1pm
Location: Fauteux Hall, 57 Louis-PasteurPvt., room 147B
François Crépeau is Full Professor at McGill University, where he holds the Hans & Tamar Oppenheimer Chair in Public International Law, and is Director of the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism. He is the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants (2011-2017): he has conducted official visits to Albania, Tunisia, Turkey, Italy, Greece, Qatar, Sri Lanka, and Malta, and has produced thematic reports on the detention of migrants, the protection of migrants’ rights at the external borders of the European Union, climate change and migration, global migration governance, labour exploitation of migrants, and the recruitment practices of foreign labour. Guest professor at the Université catholique de Louvain (2010-2019), he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was a Fellow 2008-2011 of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, and is an Advocatus Emeritus of the Quebec Bar Association. He has given many conferences, has published numerous articles, has written, edited or coedited ten books, and is a member of the editorial board of several learned journals.