Road Map for Increasing Cultural Competency in the Delivery of Legal Services

Introduction

The Law Society of Manitoba’s Strategic Plan (2017-2020) is comprised of four strategic objectives, the third being to “Promote and improve equity, diversity and inclusion in the regulation of the legal profession and in the delivery of legal services.”

Strategy 3.3 in support of this objective states “We will address the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).”  There are two activities included in support of this strategy:  Activity 3.3.1 is to “Increase cultural competency in the delivery of legal services” and Activity 3.3.2 is to “Increase cultural competency among the benchers and staff”.  Both of these activities are in direct response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Call to Action #27, which the Law Society has endorsed, and which states:

We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal-Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights and anti-racism.

Step #3 identified in support of Activity 3.3.1 is to:

Develop a roadmap or targeted plan to assist members of the profession to become culturally competent in the delivery of legal services (plan to include short and long-term goals).

Similarly, Step #2 in support of Activity 3.3.2 is to:

Consider a framework to provide annual training to benchers and staff to assist them in becoming more culturally competent in their regulatory work.

This Road Map is intended to realise the commitments set out in the above noted Steps of the Strategic Plan.  In addition to capturing the actions taken to date, it will guide the Law Society  going forward in its efforts to increase cultural competency in the delivery of legal services, in response to the TRC’s Call to Action #27.

To account for the overlap that exists between increasing cultural competency and the related but more general objective of supporting and facilitating equity, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, which is also embedded in the Law Society’s Strategic Plan, this document takes a broad view of cultural competency

The Road Map is intended to be a dynamic or “living” document which will be adjusted and augmented over time.

The The Law Society of Manitoba’s activities in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action should fall within five broad categories: legal education, internal awareness, governance and operations, support for Indigenous members and collaboration and engagement.