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nigel rodley 300x0ICJ 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.

Learn more about his life and work here and here.

Thursday, 05 January 2017 11:01

Happy New Year! A message to our ICJC members

Written by

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.

To find out more about any of these projects, or if you’d like to participate more closely in any of them, do not hesitate to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Janine Lespérance.

Once again, thank you for your support! Wishing you and yours the very best for this new year.

Sincerely,

Errol Mendes

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:

We received many positive comments about this event and look forward to continued engagement on the pressing global issue of modern slavery.

Tinsley Conf 2On 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.

Tinsley Conf 1The 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)Tinsley Conf 4
  • 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.

In collaboration with the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, and the Centre for International Policy Studies, University of Ottawa. 

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 has devastating consequences for its victims.

A unique CPD conference featuring leading legal and policy experts discussing cutting edge issues in international interventions. An event not to miss for lawyers keen on human rights, humanitarian law, and foreign policy issues!

Accredited by the Law Society of Upper Canada for 1 Professionalism hour and 5h35min of Substantive content. Cost: $375 for full-day event, including lunch. Click here to Register today.

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.

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