Indigenous Cultural Competency Education Launching April 21

April 19, 2021

Beginning on Wednesday, April 21, Alberta lawyers can begin taking the Indigenous Cultural Competency Education called The Path (Law Society of Alberta) — Your Journey Through Indigenous Canada. This educational requirement was approved at the October 1, 2020 Bencher meeting.

All active Alberta lawyers have 18 months to complete the five hours of education following the launch, or effective from the date they become active. Lawyers can complete the five module course in segments, allowing for flexibility of learning pace, but must complete the program within the 18-month time frame allotted. As well, inactive lawyers can also take the program. Those who complete the program while inactive will meet the requirements of the education upon reinstating to active status.

Specifics about how to register for The Path (Law Society of Alberta), program details and exemption criteria will be provided to you by email on April 21.

The Path (Law Society of Alberta) differs from the national version that some lawyers may have taken through the Canadian Bar Association or other organizations. The Law Society’s Indigenous Initiatives Liaison, along with input from the Indigenous Advisory Committee, worked with the developers of the program to create additional Alberta-specific content, to offer an educational tool specifically for Alberta lawyers. The Path (Law Society of Alberta) is not meant to be in depth and cover all the issues or perspectives on the topic, but to provide a baseline understanding for all Alberta lawyers.

The decision to mandate education is integral to our commitment and obligation to respond to the 2015 Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (TRC) Calls to Action, in particular, #27 which calls upon Canadian law societies to ensure all lawyers receive Indigenous Cultural Competency Training. This decision is also consistent with our 2020 – 2024 Strategic Plan, where we have made Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, along with Lawyer Competence, two of the four strategic goals.

Providing Alberta lawyers with shared Indigenous Cultural Competency Education is part of our social responsibility to educate ourselves on issues relevant to the communities where we live and practise law.

Some exemptions are available to lawyers who have equivalent Indigenous Cultural Competency Education. However, regardless of exemption eligibility, all Alberta lawyers are still welcome to complete The Path (Law Society of Alberta). More information about eligibility and how to request an exemption will follow on Wednesday.

Watch for an email on April 21 for instructions on accessing and beginning The Path.