The Indigenous intercultural course provides information regarding the colonization of British Columbia and Canada and its impacts on Indigenous Nations and individuals.

The course is part of the Law Society’s commitment to implement the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action 27, by requiring a baseline Indigenous intercultural competence of lawyers. For more information on the Law Society's response to the Truth amd Reconciliation Commission's report and calls to action, see Why Reconciliation Matters.

Lawyers in BC are required to take the Indigenous intercultural course, which provides them with knowledge on the history of Aboriginal-Crown relations, the history and legacy of residential schools and how legislation regarding Indigenous peoples created the issues that reconciliation seeks to address.


Frequently asked questions
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The Indigenous intercultural course

The Indigenous intercultural course is an educational course that has been designed to help British Columbia lawyers increase their Indigenous cultural awareness and understanding. It provides information regarding the colonization of BC and Canada, the impacts of colonization and colonial laws and policies on Indigenous peoples. Topics include:

  • Indigenous laws and legal traditions
  • the evolution of the relationship between the Crown and Indigenous peoples
  • policies and laws to eliminate the rights, governments, cultures, resources, lands, languages and institutions of Indigenous peoples, including residential schools
  • social, political and economic success, resilience and reconciliation.

The course responds to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s calls to action, in particular #27 which calls upon Canadian law societies to ensure all lawyers have received appropriate cultural competency training. The Law Society worked to develop BC-specific content for BC lawyers. Our Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee, as well as Indigenous lawyers and legal experts, were consulted and involved in the development of this content.

For all practising lawyers, the Indigenous intercultural course is mandatory. Retired and non-practising members are welcome to take the course but are not required to do so.

Rule 3-28.1 requires all practising lawyers to complete the Indigenous intercultural course and certify completion before:  

  • the lawyer has engaged in the practice of law for two years in total, whether or not continuous, or
  • January 1, 2024,

whichever is later.

In December 2019, the governing board of Benchers determined that Indigenous intercultural awareness is a core part of lawyer competence. The Benchers approved the creation of this course to provide all practising lawyers in British Columbia with a baseline knowledge of Indigenous history, the history of Aboriginal-Crown relations, and how specific laws and policies regarding Indigenous peoples created issues that reconciliation seeks to address.

Participation

All practising lawyers in BC will receive an email with their specific log-in instructions to access the Law Society’s Brightspace, through which the course is available.

All practising lawyers as of January 20, 2022 should have received their log in instructions on Thursday, January 27, 2022. Individuals who become practising lawyers after that time should expect to receive their log-in credentials via email within a month of obtaining/returning to practising status. If this does not occur, contact ProfessionalDevelopment@lsbc.org.

Yes. Non-practising lawyers are welcome to take the course, but they are not required to do so.

If you are a non-practising lawyer and wish to take the course, contact Indigenous@lsbc.org and ask for log-in credentials. You should receive your credentials within two business days of your request.

Yes. Individuals with retired member status may take the course, but they are not required to do so.

If you are a retired member and wish to take the course, contact Indigenous@lsbc.org and ask for log-in credentials. You should receive your credentials within two business days of your request.

Yes. While the licensing requirements of the D2L learning platform limit who can access the course online, we welcome anyone who wishes to review the course materials which are available here.

No. Licensing fees and any other costs associated with accessing and taking the course are covered by the Law Society.

Accessing and completing the course

You may access the Indigenous intercultural course here: Law Society Brightspace Log On.

There is also a one-touch log in accessible through the Member Portal. Follow the link entitled “Law Society’s Brightspace” under the Education heading on the Member Portal landing page.

You can find more information about Brightspace, including a Practice Resource on navigating the platform, through the Member Portal under the "Law Society's Brightspace" link on the landing page.

The course is estimated to take approximately six hours to complete, based on feedback provided by volunteers who took part in a preview of the material.

The course has been organized into six modules which may be reviewed at your own pace over up to two years. At the beginning of every module, you will find a time estimate of how long that module will take to complete.

Rule 3-28.1 requires all practising lawyers to complete the Indigenous intercultural course and certify completion before:  

  • the lawyer has engaged in the practice of law for two years in total, whether or not continuous, or
  • January 1, 2024,

whichever is later.

The date upon which you are individually required to complete the course is available in the Member Portal under the “Law Society’s Brightspace” link on the landing page.

We absolutely encourage discussion and collaboration in the taking of the course. There are parts of the course that may be more compatible to group study than others (for example, video content versus written content), so have a look before the group gets started to establish an approach. Remember that practising lawyers are required to individually certify that they have completed the course.

Firm employees who are not lawyers are free to participate in the group study – but they will not be issued log-in credentials for the Law Society’s Brightspace. The Law Society has created a downloadable copy of the course materials that lawyers are encouraged to share with their staff, available here.

Completing the course means reviewing and considering the course material. There are no quizzes or assignments associated with the course.

Lawyers must certify completion of the course through the Member Portal. You can do so under the “Law Society’s Brightspace” link on the landing page.

Yes. Lawyers may also claim continuing professional development (CPD) credit for each hour spent working on the course, up to a maximum of six hours. The course is accredited for two hours of "professional responsibility, practice management and ethics" credit so can be taken to fulfill that requirement.

Lawyers are responsible for reporting all earned CPD credits to the Law Society; go to Recording CPD Hours.

Seeking an exemption or extension

Yes. The Law Society of BC’s Indigenous intercultural course content was specifically tailored to address the unique legal context of British Columbia, and to provide all lawyers in BC with a baseline knowledge of all the topics listed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s call to action 27 (i.e.: “the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations … [as well as] intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism”).

The Law Society’s Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee has been clear that “all lawyers in British Columbia” includes Indigenous lawyers. No exemptions are available. The Law Society does not expect all Indigenous lawyers to know everything there is to know about all of the topics listed in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's call to action 27. The course covers a broad range of topics and is meant to be engaging for all learners, including those with lived experience and pre-existing knowledge.

Yes. The course covers a broad range of topics, and not all of the content is emotionally triggering. The course contains content warnings to flag potentially triggering content, and lists a variety of mental health resources to provide learners with emotional support, if needed.

Questions and feedback

Questions and feedback on the Indigenous intercultural course can be emailed to Indigenous@lsbc.org.

If you have any issues accessing or using the Law Society’s Brightspace, contact ProfessionalDevelopment@lsbc.org.