• 20 Dec 2023 7:50 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) congratulates the Honourable Leonard Marchand on his appointment as the Chief Justice of BC and Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal of Yukon. As a Syilx person and a member of the Okanagan Indian Band, Chief Justice Marchand has made history as the first Indigenous Chief Justice of BC.

    Chief Justice Marchand was a Judge in BC Provincial Court from 2013 until 2017, when he became the first First Nations Justice appointed to the BC Supreme Court. In 2021, he became the first First Nations Justice appointed to the BC Court of Appeal. Leading up to his impressive 10 years of judicial experience, he articled and practiced at Fulton & Company LLP in Kamloops since 1994. Throughout his practice, he appeared before all levels of court in BC and many administrative tribunals. He has dedicated much of his career to advancing reconciliation and supporting survivors of residential schools, including ​​advancing civil claims on behalf of survivors and helping to negotiate the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement.

    FACL BC recognizes and applauds the progress the new Chief Justice has made for Indigenous peoples towards being reflected in the justice system. In his own words in a recent interview, Chief Justice Marchand said: 

    “It's important to have Indigenous voices throughout the justice system, so that we can start to establish, for the first time, a level of trust in a system that has such profound effects on the everyday lives of Indigenous people.”

    FACL BC echoes the Chief Justice’s sentiment and is heartened to see him appointed to a position where he can continue to share and use his unique voice and perspective. We are sure that his appointment and an increasingly diverse judiciary will also benefit the larger community, including Asian Canadian legal professionals. FACL BC looks forward to seeing the changes Chief Justice Marchand will bring and his impact on BC’s justice system.

  • 18 Dec 2023 8:34 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) expresses its warmest congratulations to Judge Grace Oh on her appointment to the Provincial Court of BC and to Justice Phuong T.V. Ngo on her appointment to the Federal Court. To the best of FACL BC’s knowledge, Judge Oh is the first Judge of Korean descent and the first female Judge of East Asian descent to serve on the BC Provincial Court judiciary. Justice Ngo is the first Justice of Vietnamese descent to sit on the Federal Court. 

    Judge Oh worked as Crown Counsel with the BC Prosecution Service for the last 25 years where she appeared before the Supreme Court, the Youth Court, and the Downtown Community Court. She was appointed to the Provincial Court of BC in November 2022 and was sworn in at the beginning of 2023. 

    On December 4, FACL BC board members attended her welcome ceremony at the Surrey Provincial Court where she was applauded by her colleagues and by pan-Asian-Canadian legal communities as a talented, versatile, and compassionate addition to the bench. FACL BC thanks the Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch for their invitation to provide congratulatory remarks and to Mylene de Guzman for reading these remarks to the Court and to Judge Oh. 

    Justice Ngo is a Vietnamese-Canadian who immigrated as a young child with her family. She was appointed to the Federal Court in September 2023 following a successful career as a partner at Gowling WLG in Ottawa. Justice Ngo practiced in both English and French with a focus on the fields of procurement law and health law. Justice Ngo was widely recognized for her legal work as a leading practitioner in procurement law by Lexpert, Chambers Canada, Best Lawyers in Canada, and Legal 500. 

    FACL BC is proud to see the accomplishments of these distinguished Asian-Canadian women recognized and is heartened by their appointments to their respective courts. A diverse bench that reflects Canada’s diverse communities and their lived experiences increases public trust and confidence in the judiciary and improves the administration of justice. FACL BC thanks Judge Oh and Justice Ngo for their contributions to the legal field and we look forward to seeing them thrive in their new positions.

  • 14 Dec 2023 2:48 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) extends its warmest congratulations to its members who have received the King’s Counsel (KC) designation as announced on December 12, 2023. This well-deserved designation is a testament to their exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession in British Columbia.

    On this special occasion, we highlight the remarkable achievements of each of our distinguished members:

    Cheryl D’Sa, KC is a civil litigator and mediator recognized for her expertise in personal injury cases. Cheryl was the first female racialized President of the Vancouver Bar Association. A Bencher since 2020, she currently chairs the Law Society of British Columbia’s Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee. She received the CBABC Debra Van Ginkel, QC Mentoring Award in 2023. Cheryl was a recent speaker on our panel, Life of a Bencher: A Conversation with Our Current Benchers of Asian Descent, featured on our Spotlight series, and recently joined our FACL BC Advisory Committee.

    Gurminder Sandhu, KC is an experienced civil litigator who has appeared before all levels of the British Columbia courts and has a wide practice area consisting of human rights issues, traumatic brain injuries and real estate disputes, family law, and insurance law. He has been a Bencher of the Law Society of British Columbia since 2022 and served on the Federal Judicial Advisory Committee (B.C.) from 2021 to 2023. Gurminder was a recent speaker for our panel, Life of a Bencher: A Conversation with Our Current Benchers of Asian Descent, and a former podcast guest. Listen to Gurminder’s episode on Spotify and Apple.

    Joven Narwal, KC is a prominent trial and appellate lawyer who handles high-stakes cases, specializing in criminal and securities litigation, professional regulation, and complex civil matters with criminal aspects. He was the first racialized President of the Vancouver Bar Association. Joven and his firm, Narwal Litigation LLP, have been long-time sponsors and supporters of FACL BC. 

    Kinji Bourchier, KC is an experienced business and commercial litigator and a leader in environmental law and commercial litigation in Canada. He has held leadership roles with the Vancouver Bar Association, the Environmental Law section of the CBABC, the Hoop Law Society, the Advocate’s Society, the Reed Athletics Fund, and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada. Since 2015, Kinji has served as President of the Allard Law Alumni Association.

    Miranda Lam, KC is the Chief Legal Officer and Vice-President of Business Development at a leading biotechnology company headquartered in Vancouver. Championing diversity, equity, and inclusion, Miranda holds leadership positions on the boards of four organizations, including as the Vice-Chair of the UBC Board of Governors and the BC Cancer Foundation. Miranda was a recent guest speaker at our FACL BC Leadership Academy and a podcast guest. Listen to Miranda’s episode on Spotify and Apple.

    FACL BC takes immense pride in the collective accomplishments of our members, whose dedication and excellence inspire the legal community. Their achievements both reflect their individual prowess and underscore the diverse and impactful contributions of Asian Canadian lawyers in shaping the legal landscape in British Columbia and Canada.

    We also wish to congratulate and highlight Rubinder Dhanu, KC and Kasari Govender, KC, both of whom have made exceptional contributions to the community:

    Kasari Govender, KC is British Columbia’s Human Rights Commissioner. Before her current role, Kasari clerked for the Supreme Court of British Columbia and worked at a Toronto-based firm, where she built an impressive profile working on cases dealing with gender-based violence, human rights, and constitutional law. She pioneered the Rise Women’s Legal Centre, which is an important institution in our community providing access to justice for marginalized women and education at post-secondary institutions. Kasari has also graciously volunteered her time with FACL BC in the past as a panelist for “A Community Discussion: The Rise in Anti-Asian Discrimination in B.C.”.

    Rubinder Dhanu, KC is an experienced criminal lawyer, who was formerly a Crown prosecutor and now runs a private practice as a defense attorney. Rubinder has appeared before all levels of the British Columbia and Alberta courts and the Supreme Court of Canada. Rubinder’s contributions to the legal community extend beyond the courtroom, as he is also a frequent presenter on various legal topics and is a mentor to his associates and others.

    Once again, FACL BC congratulates the newly appointed King’s Counsel on their well-deserved designations and thanks them for their past and ongoing contributions to the legal and wider community in British Columbia.

  • 31 Oct 2023 3:47 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    An election is being held for Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia in Vancouver County, Victoria County, Westminster County, District of Okanagan, Cariboo County, Prince Rupert County, and District of Kamloops for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2024, and ending December 31, 2025. Voting will open on Wednesday, November 1, 2023, and close at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. More information about the election, including candidate biographies and election statements, can be found here

    Given that part of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society’s mandate is to promote equity and opportunity, we wrote to the Bencher candidates inviting them to respond and provide their positions on questions regarding equity and diversity. 

    Please find the statements we received here. 

    We sincerely thank all candidates who took the time to provide their statements. 

    The views expressed are those of the candidates and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of FACL BC.

  • 20 Oct 2023 10:35 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    In recent weeks, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) has witnessed a troubling surge of antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian sentiment, and an alarming increase in hate and violence across Canada and in British Columbia. 

    FACL BC strongly condemns the rise in discrimination and hostility within British Columbia and Canada. FACL BC denounces all forms of prejudice, discrimination, and racism. Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian racism are unacceptable in any form. We note that individuals belonging to other ethnic, cultural, and religious groups may also be targeted or harmed, mistakenly or otherwise, for the same reasons, which is equally condemnable. FACL BC reiterates our commitment to fostering a more inclusive, equitable, and just society for the wider community.

    We acknowledge that this is a challenging time for many. FACL BC stands in unwavering solidarity with British Columbians, our members, and their communities who are impacted by these events and the resulting discrimination and hostility.

  • 12 Oct 2023 4:20 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    October 12, 2023

    Welcome home!

    It is a great privilege to serve as FACL BC’s President for the 2023 to 2024 year. Like many of you, I am an immigrant (from Hong Kong), a first-generation Canadian, a first-generation university graduate, and a first-generation lawyer.

    The diversity of our profession is slowly changing, but lots of work remains to be done. As we enter our 12thyear, I hope to focus my presidential term on advocating more, enhancing accessibility, and building more alliances for the Asian-Canadian legal community. Asian-Canadians were not permitted to practice law in BC until the late 1940’s. Only 100 years ago, the Chinese Immigration Act, 1923 was enacted with the objective of banning all immigration of Chinese peoples to Canada.

    I joined FACL BC as a Student Member. The first time I ran for a board position at the annual general meeting (AGM), I was extremely nervous as I had never participated in a contested election. I was not elected and thought I would never show my face at FACL BC again out of humiliation and embarrassment.

    But little did I know my journey at FACL BC actually began that day. The person who was elected for the role I ran for ended up becoming one of my closest friends in law. I went to my first FACL BC event following the AGM. Everyone – strangers – welcomed me with open arms because they all had the same intention of empowering other Asian-Canadian legal professionals, and “sending the elevator down” to junior lawyers. There was an incredible outpour of support from people I have never met, and this is still the case years later.

    Not everyone’s experience at FACL BC is the same, but I think we all can safely say that the energy at FACL BC – both at the board and member level – is unparalleled. We are an incorporated non-profit society that is entirely volunteer driven other than two part-time student contractors. You or your firm’s support of our initiatives and mandate of promoting equity, justice, and opportunity can make a significant difference in our legal profession.

    Because of FACL BC, I have been fortunate to meet and interact with very distinguished members of our bar, all of whom have carved the path for future generations of Asian-Canadians: from interviewing Justice Randall Wong, producing a documentary on discrimination and bias that screened at the Vancouver Asian Film Festival, learning from some of the few King’s Counsel of Asian descent in this province (including Winston Sayson, KC on our Advisory Committee, and Louisa Winn, KC, who recently graced the cover of The Advocate), to sharing a meal with BC’s Attorney General, the Honourable Niki Sharma, KC. FACL BC has also supported me professionally by connecting me to job interviews and client referrals through our incredible network of 620+ members. Most importantly, this professional network has become a community of lifelong friends and mentors - some of which have been recognized individually for the work they do for FACL BC, including through theCBABC Equality & Diversity Award as well as the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada.

    These opportunities are, similarly, open to anyone who wishes to join FACL BC. I hope that you can benefit from the same through attending our exciting roster of events, or joining our future board, or one of our committees – advocacy, mentorship, membership, or gala.

    I invite you and your friends to join us at http://faclbc.ca/join. Allies are welcome, and we offer a Supporting Membership for those who do not fall under the Full and Student Membership categories.

    If you have any comments or feedback about FACL BC, please contact me anytime at president@faclbc.ca. Let’s get started!

    Fiona Wong

    President, Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC


  • 12 Oct 2023 4:12 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    October 12, 2023

    Please extend a warm welcome to our FACL BC 2023-2024 Board of Directors, who were appointed/elected at our Annual General Meeting on July 17, 2023. We look forward to reaching new heights with this amazing team in the upcoming term! 

    • President: Fiona Wong
    • VP External: Sebastian Chern
    • VP Internal: Jim Wu
    • VP Marketing: Jenny Huang
    • Treasurer: Daniel Szeto
    • Advisory Director: Steven Ngo
    • Directors-at-Large: Catherine Wong, Cen Yang, Charlene Tsai, David How, Jennine Punzalan, Sandy Lun, Shanna Gu, Zheng-Yi Ong
    • Secretary: Lily Zhang
    • Gala Chair: Paige Mueller
    • Area Director - Kamloops: Shazia Hosenbocus
    • Area Director - Victoria: Wen He 
    • Student Directors: Miguel Oreta (UBC), Jaspreet Kaur Mann (UVic), Sharon K. Malhi (TRU)

    We would also like to thank the following outgoing board members for their dedication and service to FACL BC during their respective terms: Mark Iyengar, Kayla Siu, Hasan Alam, Jessica Chung, Hardeep Chahal, Sarah Reid, Catherine Wong, Janice Jia Fujikawa, and Talia Gukert.

    Please keep an eye out for ways to get involved with our Advocacy, Membership, Mentorship, and/or Gala committees in the 2023-2024 year. We can't wait to see what's in store! 

  • 30 Sep 2023 12:00 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) affirms our commitment to reconciliation and our dedication to acting in solidarity with our Indigenous colleagues, clients, and community members.

    This day marks the third anniversary of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation and notably is the first year that it is a statutory holiday in British Columbia. The National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is a day of reflection and remembrance. For some, September serves as a harrowing reminder of a time when Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and subjected to the atrocities of forced assimilation, genocide, and abuse.

    We encourage everyone to take the opportunity to learn more about Indigenous peoples across Canada and reflect on the actionable steps we can undertake to contribute to reconciliation actively. We recognize the importance of acknowledging our privilege and understanding the historical and present-day injustices that Indigenous communities endure. As settlers and legal professionals, we must use that privilege to address the systemic oppression faced by Indigenous communities.

    We encourage our members and communities to refer to the resources below to learn more about the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation:

    Truth and Reconciliation Day Events in BC 

    Below are just a few of the Truth and Reconciliation Day events happening across BC.

    QTS Orange Shirt Day/Truth and Reconciliation Celebration

    • Date/Time: September 30, 10:00 am - 3:00 pm
    • Location: Quesnel Friendship Centre, 319 North Fraser DriveQuesnel, BC

    An Indigenous-led day-long event created in 2013, this event is designed to educate Canadian people, to promote awareness about the Indian residential school system and the multigenerational impact it has had on Indigenous communities for over a century. The event is to honour the lost Children and the Survivors of residential schools, their families, and communities, to call for public commemoration of the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools.

    Reconciliation Powwow

    • Date/Time: September 30, ‘grand entry’ at 1:00 p.m. & 7:00 p.m. on 30th 
    • Location: Chilliwack Secondary School, 46363 Yale Rd EChilliwack, BC V2P 2P8

    A traditional style powwow held at Chilliwack Secondary. Although the powwow started Friday evening, there’s also a grand entry at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturday. Everyone rises to their feet during the grand entry which is led by flag bearers and elders, followed by dancers. The event will feature drum groups, vendors, dancers, and various performances. The BC Metis Society will also host a free dinner on Saturday at 5 p.m.

    Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children

    • Date/Time: September 30, at 7:30 p.m. & 9:30 p.m. (doors at 7:00 p.m.)  
    • Location: Tightrope Impro Theatre, 2343 Main StreetVancouver, BC

    Indigenous storyteller Dallas Yellowfly brings "Qwalena: The Wild Woman Who Steals Children'' to life in this unique and scary theatrical multimedia storytelling performance. 

    The purpose of this performance is to promote anti-racism, create awareness of the Indian Act, and the intergenerational impact of Indian Residential Schools, and strengthen communities through education.

    Tickets are “pay what you can”/by donation ($25 recommendation).

    Intergenerational March to commemorate Orange Shirt Day

    Date/Time:September 30, at 11:45 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

    Location: Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre Canada, 1985 Learners' WalkVancouver, BC V6T 1Z1             

    The march aims to be educational and supportive of the Indigenous community on campus and beyond. Educational activities will be held throughout the day to allow younger participants to connect with the original inhabitants of the land and plant a seed to continue these conversations about a difficult era in Canadian history at home. 

    Visit the link above for more information about the day’s agenda.

    Semiahmoo First Nation's 3rd Annual Walk for Truth & Reconciliation

    • Date/Time: September 30, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.     
    • Location: The walk begins in the parking lot adjacent to Grand Chief Bernard Robert Charles Plaza at 15393 Marine Drive, White Rock, BC V4B 1Y6 

    Join Semiahmoo First Nation for the 3rd annual Walk for Truth & Reconciliation beginning near Grand Chief Bernard Robert Charles Plaza and ending at Semiahmoo Park with programming and activities.

    National Day For Truth And Reconciliation with Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society

    • Date/Time: September 30, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.
    • Location: Trout Lake Community Centre, Outdoors Gravel Field3360 Victoria Drive, Vancouver

     Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society is honouring the lost children and survivors from the Indian Residential Schooling system with a National Day For Truth And Reconciliation event at John Hendry Park. Orange T-shirts will be sold on-site and there are also food vendors planned.

    South Island Powwow

    • Date/Time: September 30, from 10 a.m. to midnight. Grand entries at noon and 6 p.m.
    • Location: Royal Athletic Park, 1014 Caledonia AveVictoria, BC

    The annual South Island Powwow is an opportunity to recognize Survivors and their families in the spirit of reconciliation. Celebrate traditional Indigenous cultures and resiliency through song and dance.

  • 22 Sep 2023 1:47 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC (“FACL BC”) is aware that on Wednesday, September 20, 2023, organized anti-trans protests were held across Canada. These protests, which were met by counter-protests in support of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, are an escalation of the alarming rise in anti-trans rhetoric, violence, and legislation throughout the nation. FACL BC condemns the far-right and anti-trans views expressed at these protests and reiterates its commitment to stand in solidarity with Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse communities. FACL BC recognizes its intersectional members and affirms its mandate to promote justice, equity, and opportunity not only for Asian Canadian legal professionals, but also the wider community.

    In addition to the organized demonstrations, it is especially disturbing to see that political actors are also contributing to the spreading of hate, misinformation, and violence against the Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse communities. Some provinces have recently made changes to their school policies which prevent Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse youth from using their preferred pronouns and names at school without parental consent, regardless of whether they have safe and supportive homes. These policy changes are being promoted as upholding “parental rights”, which are not recognized by Canadian human rights law or the Charter, but will have the effect of outing 2SLGBTQ students and potentially exposing them to violence at home. These policies have been criticized by 2SLGBTQIA+ activists and civil rights groups as well as provincial child and youth advocates.

    Furthermore, the Conservative Party of Canada recently voted to approve a national policy to limit gender-affirming care for minors. While the outcome of legal and political action against such policies is uncertain, what is certain is that these policy changes will lead to harmful effects on Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse youth (who have five to seven times higher rates of thoughts of and suicide attempts, respectively) and their further marginalization. All youth have the constitutional right to safety and security, regardless of their gender identity, and this right is not subject to any “parental rights” (which are not constitutionally recognized). Schools must remain safe for all students, especially when their homes are not safe or where they are not comfortable being out to their parents, and these policies are a step in the wrong direction. Finally, according to recent Statistics Canada data, police reported hate crimes motivated by sexual orientation increased 64% from 2020 to 2021. There was also an increase in reported harassment, intimidation, threats of violence, misinformation, and hate-motivated protests throughout Canada, particularly affecting places where youth are such as schools and drag story times.

    British Columbia does not currently have a sexual orientation and gender identity (“SOGI”) curriculum. However, throughout the kindergarten to grade 12 curriculum, students explore topics of human rights, including possible discussions of SOGI. Additionally, British Columbia schools are encouraged to leverage resources such as SOGI 123 to support educators in addressing such topics.  

    As we experience this concerning rise in anti-trans activity and rhetoric, it is more important than ever to use our voices and actions to support every Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse person’s rights to live openly, authentically, and proudly. FACL BC commits to creating a place of belonging for all our members and the wider 2SLGBTQIA+ community and to advocating on their behalf. FACL BC calls on the legal profession to stand up for the rights of Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse people as it has done for so many others. FACL BC acknowledges and supports the rights of Two-Spirit, trans, non-binary, and gender diverse people to be treated with respect and dignity, to have access to appropriate medical care, and to be their true and authentic selves. It is only through diversity that we can achieve a just and fully engaged society.

  • 11 Sep 2023 9:00 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC (“FACL BC”) extends its warmest congratulations to Scott Morishita as he starts his term as the president of the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (“CBABC”).

    Notably, Scott is the fourth Asian CBABC president and the first person of Japanese descent to hold this position. Diversity in leadership positions like this fosters an understanding of a range of experiences and perspectives and allows organizations to produce better-informed policies and services. Scott is a proud member of the  2SLGBTQIA+ community.

    Scott has been a valued member and friend of FACL BC since 2019. A respected lawyer with experience in personal injury, insurance and municipal law, Scott brings a strong commitment to addressing issues of access to justice, mental health, and equality. 

    FACL BC also wishes to extend its heartfelt congratulations and gratitude to outgoing president, Aleem Bharmal, KC on a successful term. FACL BC deepened its relationship with the CBABC under Aleem’s leadership and thanks him for his support over the years. Aleem was the third person of Asian descent to hold this position. Previously, the second CBABC president of Asian descent was Margaret Mereigh, and the first was Jennifer Chow, KC, from 2015-2016.

    CBABC is a professional organization representing over 38,000 lawyers, judges and law students across Canada and has 7,800 members in British Columbia. CBABC members practice at the forefront of the justice system, providing services to British Columbians in every area of law.

    FACL BC looks forward to continuing to work with Scott and the rest of the CBABC team in promoting greater equity in the legal profession and wider community. See Scott’s full President Statement here.

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