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book coverICJ 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.

book launch groupOur 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.

PURCHASE BOOKS THROUGH DONATION to ICJ Canada ($50 suggested donation). All 2017 ICJC members will receive a copy of the book.

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You are invited to join us in Toronto for an exclusive dinner event with David MacNaughton on May 29, 2017. All proceeds from this fundraising dinner go to support ICJ Canada's work in favour of the rule of law, human rights, and judicial independence.

Published in Events

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.

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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.

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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.

Published in Events

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.

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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.

Published in News

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.

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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.

Click here to learn more. Click here to read the open letter. 

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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.

Published in Events
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