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Statement from Treasurer Teresa Donnelly: National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

October 01, 2021

TORONTO, ON — Treasurer Teresa Donnelly made the following remarks at today’s meeting of the Board of Directors of the Law Society of Ontario:

“Yesterday, September 30, marked the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.  September 30 honours the children who died and the Survivors of residential schools, their families and communities. This Nation-wide commemoration of the tragic and continuing impacts of residential schools is central to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

“At the invitation of Professor Jeffery Hewitt of Osgoode Hall Law School, in support of a virtual session with students for National Truth and Reconciliation Day, bencher Dianne Corbiere and I reflected on:
•          The meaning of the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation
•          What it means to the legal professions
•          And, what it might means for Canada.

“Bencher Corbiere and I were very grateful to Professor Hewitt and Osgoode Hall students for inviting us to share our perspectives on this very important day.

“Justice isn’t something that only lives in courtrooms and is written about in reports or books. For justice to be real, it has to be accorded by individuals to individuals, through understanding and respect. I hope that this National Day of recognition starts individual Canadians on their individual journeys toward justice – toward reconciliation.

“As we know, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Report looked at the negative impacts that the courtroom experience had on residential school survivors because many lawyers “did not have adequate cultural, historical, or psychological knowledge to deal with the painful memories that the Survivors were forced to reveal.”  And how this lack of knowledge resulted in some Survivors receiving inappropriate legal service. Calls to Action 27 and 28 directly relate to lawyers, paralegals and law students need to receive cultural competency training. The Law Society is committed to enhancing cultural competency within the legal professions. Enhancing cultural competency of lawyers and paralegals is key to meaningfully advance reconciliation.”

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario, and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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Media contact: Jennifer Wing, Senior Communications Advisor, External Relations and Communications or jwing@lso.ca. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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