News Release
December 06, 2019

The Law Society’s governing board of Benchers has determined that lawyer competence includes knowledge of the history of Aboriginal-Crown relations, the history and legacy of residential schools and specific legislation regarding Indigenous peoples of Canada. Beginning in 2021, all practising lawyers in BC will be required to take an Indigenous intercultural competency training course that will be provided online and at no cost.

The Indigenous intercultural competency course content will be finalized in 2020 and will cover specific topics and themes referred to in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s report and calls to action. The course will also include information and knowledge that prepares lawyers to participate in, and respond to, changes to provincial laws as contemplated by the recently enacted Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.

The six-hour online course will be available in modules and will be eligible for annual continuing professional development credit. Lawyers will have up to two years to complete all of the modules.

For further information, visit the Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation webpage and read this backgrounder on the Indigenous intercultural competency course.


“The Truth and Reconciliation Commission revealed a gap in legal education in an area that the Benchers have recognized is a core area of competency for lawyers. We are acting in the public interest by establishing training that provides lawyers with a baseline of education to address this pressing and substantial need.”
Nancy Merrill, QC, Law Society President

“Better training makes for better lawyers. As federal and provincial lawmakers have begun taking steps toward reconciliation through legislation that requires all current and future laws to be harmonized with the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, it is incumbent upon all lawyers to have the legal education and tools that Indigenous intercultural competency training will provide.”
Dean Lawton, QC, Second Vice President and Co-Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee

“Serving the public interest means a knowledge of the facts of history, even if that history does not show our society in a good light. These are historical and legal facts that continue to permeate all of Canada, its economy, its social fabric, its education system and its legal system. We need to ensure the public interest is met by ensuring that lawyers have that core knowledge.”
Michael McDonald, QC, Co-Chair, Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee


For further information contact:

David Jordan
Communications Officer