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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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conference banner W w date

International Commission of Jurists Canada is proud to partner with the Human Rights Research and Education Centre (HRREC) to host a unique national and international conference, “Realizing Rights 2017: Human Rights and Constitutionalism,” to be held from June 8-10, 2017 at the University of Ottawa.

The Conference seeks to bring together, for the first time, the full range of practitioners, scholars, and advocates working on human rights across Canada and beyond, in order to discuss challenges and opportunities for the effective realization of human rights and related constitutional and governance arrangements. This major conference coincides with Canada’s 150th anniversary, which provides a special opportunity for celebration and reflection.

To organize it, HRREC and ICJC are working in partnership with: the Canadian Association of Statutory Human Rights Agencies (CASHRA), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL), and the Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child (LRIDE). The conference, featuring various parallel meetings, sessions, workshops, and social events of distinct character, will contribute in a significant way to the development and strengthening of the field of human rights professionals.

ICJC will be hosting a special session at the Conference to launch our book on the rule of law in 2017, and we will hold our annual members' meeting on June 7, the day before the Conference officially begins.

Registration is now open, and volunteer applications are being accepted.

We hope to see many ICJC members there!

 

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

Published in Events

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.

Published in Events

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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teaching profile crepeau 250x350 0ICJC, 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
Free. In English and French. Registration is required. Seating is limited and available on a first come, first served basis. RSVP at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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.

Published in Events

arbour and mendesOn November 5th, 2015, the ICJC recognized the Honourable Louise Arbour as the 2015 recipient of the Walter S. Tarnopolsky award, which is given annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to human rights in Canada or abroad. 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.

He highlighted a few of her notable accomplishments: She is a former justice of the Ontario Supreme Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada, and chaired an inquiry commission that investigated certain events at the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ontario. Internationally, she was the Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. She was also President of the International Crisis Group from 2009 to 2014, before returning to Canada to take the position of counsel with Borden Ladner Gervais in Montreal. She is a member of the Advisory Board of The Coalition for the International Criminal Court, the Global Commission on Drug Policy, and the International Commission Against the Death Penalty. Among her numerous honorary doctorates and awards, Madam Arbour has been a Companion of the Order of Canada since 2007, a Grand Officer of the Ordre national du Québec since 2009, a Commander of the Légion d'honneur, and has been decorated by both Spain and Colombia.

Louise Arbour et alSarah-Michèle Vincent-Wright, Stéphane Beaulac, Louise Arbour, Frédéric Bérard, Errol Mendes, Pierre Dalphond, and Nathalie Des RosiersAfter being presented with the award, Madam Arbour shared a few comments with an attentive audience of fellow jurists, and answered their questions candidly. She shared some reflections on the state of human rights today, and expressed cautious optimism that we are entering an era of new, pragmatic, and evidence-based approaches to global challenges, particularly in the areas of migrant policy and drug policy. She expressed that it is particularly special for her to receive the Tarnopolsky award, because Walter Tarnopolsky had been a colleague of hers, whom she respected greatly and recalls fondly.

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QCCAAs one of ICJC’s regional activities, its Québec chapter held a symposium at the Quebec Court of Appeal in Montreal, entitled “The Magna Carta and its impact here”, to highlight the 800th anniversary of the Great Charter. Organized by ICJC Board Members Stéphane Beaulac, professor at the University of Montreal, and former judge Pierre Dalphond, now with Stikeman Elliott, this conference had an impressive line-up of speakers. They included Nicole Duval-Hesler, Chief Justice of Quebec, senator Serge Joyal, criminal law lawyer Jean-Claude Hébert, President of the Quebec Human Rights Commission Jacques Frémont, and Dean Nathalie Des Rosiers. The speakers dealt with various topics tied to the legacy of the Magna Carta, but that remain of importance today, including women’s rights, fundamental liberties, and jury trials.

This highly engaging conference was followed by the public launching of the Observatory on National Security Measures, for which Stéphane Beaulac is the founding director. The observatory is one of ICJC’s regional activities, and is housed by the University of Montreal’s Centre for Research in Public Law (CRDP). It is a web-based resource that has the mission of storing documents and following Montreal Magna Cartadevelopments related to national security measures. The site is bilingual, and will be a hub for discussion on the risks and challenges in this area. It is a project of inter-institutional collaboration of the law faculties of the University of Montreal (Stéphane Beaulac), Laval Université (Fannie Lafontaine), Université of Ottawa (Errol Mendes), and Dalhousie Université (Rob Currie).

The event closed with a cocktail reception to commemorate the Honourable Louise Arbour, C.C.,G.O.Q., winner of the 2015 Tarnopolsky Prize.

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