News

  • 28 Feb 2022 11:30 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    FACL BC Statement for Black History Month 2022: February and Forever

    February 28, 2022

    The national theme for this year’s Black History Month is February and Forever: Celebrating Black History today and every day. As February 2022 comes to an end, FACL BC reminds our membership to continue to honour Black history, celebrate the daily contributions of Black community members and colleagues.

    FACL BC recognizes that anti-Black racism continues to exist in the legal profession and Canadian society at large. As Asian-Canadian legal professionals, we commit to acting in solidarity with our Black colleagues and acknowledge the contributions Black people have made to the profession. We encourage our readers to visit the Black Law Students’ Association of Canada’s Facebook page1 to see some of their Black History Month 2022 spotlights, which highlight influential Black-Canadian legal professionals such as Justice Corrine Sparks2 and Chief Justice Julius Alexander Isaac.3

    Image Source: Government of Canada BHM2022 digital toolkit 4

    This year, Black History Month and the Lunar New Year began on the same day, inspiring many to reflect on both the long history of Black and Asian solidarity and tensions in North America.5 Many also took this opportunity to honour the contributions of people of mixed Black and Asian heritage.

     Against the backdrop of COVID-19 and its disproportionate impacts on Black, Indigenous, and people of colour (BIPOC)7, both the Black Lives Matter8 movement and the Stop Asian Hate movement have gained significant momentum in the public eye.

    We must work to ensure our pledges of solidarity are put into action. These actions must also include undoing the anti-Black racism and colourism that continue to exist within Asian communities. FACL BC commits to strengthening interracial solidarity toward the shared goals of ending racial injustice and white supremacy. To find resources on topics such as tackling anti-Black racism in Asian communities and allyship and action, visit FACL BC’s resource lists:

    • FACL BC’s Resource List to Support Black Communities (2020)9

    • FACL BC Resource List for Black History Month (2021)10

    --

    1 https://www.facebook.com/blsacanada/photos
    2 
    https://www.facebook.com/blsacanada/photos/2054135361430833

    3 https://www.facebook.com/blsacanada/photos/2051760815001621

    4https://www.canada.ca/en/canadian-heritage/campaigns/black-history-month.html

    5https://nondoc.com/2022/02/15/time-to-celebrate-black-asian-solidarity/

    6 https://mixedasianmedia.com/celebrating-blasians-during-black-history-month-and-lunar-new-year

    7https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/news/2021/02/cpho-sunday-edition-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-racialized-communities.html

    8 https://www.blacklivesmatter.ca/

    9https://faclbc.ca/News/9013755

    10 https://faclbc.ca/News/10111664


  • 29 Jan 2022 12:15 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    FACL BC Statement on the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia

    January 29, 2022

    Today, FACL BC observes the National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia.

    Five years ago on this day, Alexandre Bissonnette walked into the Quebec City Mosque and murdered six Muslim men while they prayed. Nineteen others were injured and one of those injured was left paralyzed. The loss to their families and community is tremendous.

    On this day, we honour the lives of the men who were lost in this heinous act of violence and Islamophobia. FACL BC also honours the lives of the four members of a Pakistani-Canadian Muslim family who were killed while out walking in London, Ontario, in June of 2021. We stand against the racism and fear perpetuated against Muslims. 

    FACL BC invites you to take a moment of silence to remember these victims and all victims of hatred: 

    • Ibrahima Barry
    • Mamadou Barry
    • Khaled Belkacemi
    • Aboubaker Thabti
    • Abdelkrim Hassane
    • Azzedine Soufiane

    The National Day of Remembrance of the Quebec City Mosque Attack and Action Against Islamophobia acts as a reminder that Muslim people and those perceived to be Muslim continue to face discrimination and the threat of violence. However, for those who face discrimination, no such reminder is needed.

    We encourage allies and those within the legal community to learn about Islamophobia and the actions we can take to combat this issue.

    FACL BC is an official sponsor of the Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline, a free and confidential hotline aimed at providing legal assistance to anyone who has been a victim of Islamophobia. 

    Resources:

  • 19 Nov 2021 10:18 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    Relief Efforts for Individuals Impacted by B.C. Floods

    November 19, 2021

    FACL BC’s thoughts are with the thousands of individuals and families who have been impacted by devastating flooding in the coastal and interior regions of B.C. People have been displaced and their homes and livelihoods have been destroyed by these floods.

    During this urgent time of need, we encourage our members and community partners to participate in and donate towards the relief efforts that are aimed at recovery and rebuilding efforts.

    Listed below are a number of organizations that you can donate to:

    Abbotsford Disaster Relief Fund

    What they are doing: This brand-new fund was established to “support front-line agencies providing essential services to affected families and businesses.” It’s a collaboration between the Abbotsford Community Foundation, Abbotsford Chamber of Commerce and University of the Fraser Valley.

    How to donate: abbotsfordcf.org

    BC SPCA

    What they are doing: Boarding for pets of evacuees in Kamloops and providing pet supplies and food for owners and pets who have been displaced by the floods.

    How to donate: spca.bc.ca

    Canadian Red Cross

    What they are doing: The Canadian Red Cross is working to get help to people in and around affected areas as quickly as possible and provide humanitarian assistance for new needs as they arise. Money raised will enable the Red Cross to carry out relief, recovery, resiliency and risk reduction activities in and beyond the region at the individual and community levels.

    How to donate: https://donate.redcross.ca/page/94172/donate/1?locale=en-CA

    GoFundMe

    What they are doing: There’s a verified page of fundraisers on the website now, including supporting people who are stranded, pet sanctuaries, farmers markets and family homes that have been destroyed.

    How to donate: https://www.gofundme.com/en-ca/c/act/bc-flooding

    Migrant Rights Network

    What they are doing: Providing aid, housing and support to the approximately 700 migrant workers from Guatemala, Mexico, Jamaica and the Philippines that have been displaced by the floods inundating the province.

    How to donate: https://actionnetwork.org/fundraising/support-migrant-farmworkers-displaced-by-bc-floods/

  • 8 Nov 2021 9:00 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    2021 Bencher Candidate Statements on Diversity and Equity

    November 8, 2021

    An election is being held for Benchers of the Law Society of British Columbia in all districts for a two-year term beginning January 1, 2022 and ending December 31, 2023. Voting instructions and voter credentials were sent to eligible voters on November 1, 2021. Candidate biographies and election statements can be viewed here and are also posted on the online voting site.

    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 requesting that they provide us with a statement that answers the following questions:

    1) Why is equity and diversity important to you? 

    2) If elected, what steps will you take to improve equity and diversity within the BC Bar?

    3) What accountability measures (e.g. monitoring and reporting) will you use to ensure progress on your commitments?

    Please find the statements we received here. 

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

    Update (November 9, 2021):

    On November 8, FACL BC distributed statements on diversity and equity from candidates in the ongoing Bencher election. Unfortunately, some candidates sent statements to us but we did not receive them due to a technical issue with our mail server. In particular, Cheryl D'Sa; Brook Greenberg, Q.C.; and Kevin Westell submitted statements to us but we did not receive them due to a technical error. We sincerely apologize for any issues caused by this error. We have now updated the document to include all statements that we are aware of.

    We are currently in the process of reaching out to the other candidates to determine whether they sent us such a statement and will update the document tomorrow with all of the statements we received.

    Update (November 10, 2021):

    On November 8, FACL BC distributed statements on diversity and equity from candidates in the ongoing Bencher election. Unfortunately, some candidates sent statements to us but we did not receive them due to a technical issue with our mail server. In particular, Kim Carter; Tanya Chamberlain; Cheryl D’Sa; Brian Dybwad; Brook Greenberg, Q.C.; Doug Lester, Q.C.; Steven McKoen, Q.C.; Julian Porritt; and Kevin Westell submitted statements to us but we did not receive them due to a technical error. We sincerely apologize for any issues caused by this error. In addition, Lynett Jung did not receive our initial email because it went to her spam folder.

    We have now updated the document on our website to include all statements that we are aware of.


  • 20 Oct 2021 1:13 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    FACL BC’s “Next 10 Years” Student Scholarships 2021

    Amount: $1000 each

    Deadline: Monday November 15, 2021 at 5:00 PM (Pacific Time).   

    Please note that the deadline has now passed.   We thank you for your applications to our scholarship.

    FACL BC Student Scholarships recognize current law students enrolled in a law school in British Columbia who demonstrate a keen interest in and willingness to contribute to the British Columbian pan-Asian Canadian legal community. This year is special as it marks FACL BC’s 10th anniversary. Five $1000 scholarships will be awarded. Consideration will be given to applicants’ leadership and community involvement, and financial need.

    Requirements:

    • Self-identify as of pan-Asian descent (South Asian, Southeast Asian, East Asian, Central/West Asian)
    • Demonstrated past, current and/or future involvement in promoting equity, justice and opportunity for pan-Asian Canadian legal professions and/or the wider community in British Columbia
    • Enrolled in a law school in British Columbia
    • FACL BC member (membership is FREE for students - sign-up here)
    • Available to attend the scholarship presentation on Friday November 26, 2021 at 5:00 PM over Zoom (Pacific Time)

    Note: Current and former student directors are not eligible to apply.

    Selection process:

    • Each application that meets the requirements set out above will be reviewed by current FACL BC Executive Board Members
    • FACL BC exercises sole and absolute discretion to determine scholarship eligibility and recipients
    • FACL BC’s decisions are final and application materials will not be returned
    • Recipients will be notified of FACL BC’s decision the week of November 22nd, and the scholarships will be presented at FACL BC’s Virtual Conference on Friday November 26, 2021 (Tickets are complimentary)

    ---

    Thank you to our sponsors that made FACL BC’s “Next 10 Years” Scholarship Fund possible:

     
       
  • 4 Oct 2021 9:00 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

    FACL BC Statement on Resolutions 1 and 2 of the Law Society of BC 2021 AGM 

    October 4, 2021

    In December 2020, the BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court introduced practice directives instructing counsel and parties to introduce individuals by indicating their name, title, and pronouns. We posted an educational resource about this practice: https://faclbc.ca/news/10416646. FACL BC applauded the introduction of these practice directives that aim to make courtrooms more inclusive of transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse people.

    The Law Society of BC’s 2021 Annual General Meeting will be held on October 5, 2021. Members can vote on resolutions during the meeting or through advance online voting (open until 5:00 pm on October 4, 2021). Visit the Law Society of BC’s website for more information about voting and the resolutions.1

    FACL BC encourages our members to vote against Resolution 1. Resolution 1 proposes that the Law Society commit to “rational and unfettered discourse” on issues relating to the court pronoun practice directives. As the preamble makes clear, Resolution 1 places itself in opposition to these practice directives.

    In our view, Resolution 1 seeks to undermine an initiative directed at increasing inclusivity for marginalized people and it therefore conflicts with our mission to promote equity, justice, and opportunity among legal professionals and the broader community.

    For more information about Resolution 1 and why FACL BC opposes it, please see the Legal Equity and Diversity Roundtable (LEADR) statement, which FACL BC endorsed,2 and the statement by the Canadian Bar Association, British Columbia Branch (CBABC).3

    We also encourage our members to vote in support of Resolution 2, which proposes a number of changes to the Member Portal and Lawyer Directory on the Law Society website, including: to allow members to list their pronouns and forms of address; to include technical support for Unicode characters, to allow members from diverse communities to also list their traditional names; to include support for audio pronunciation guides for non-English names; and to include an easy way for members to change their names on the directory to prevent deadnaming.

    In our view, Resolution 2 aims to increase inclusivity of people with non-English names, and transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse people, which is consistent with our mission.

      --

      1 Voting: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/about-us/news-and-publications/news/2021/2021-annual-general-meeting-online-voting-and-regi/. Resolutions 1 and 2: https://www.lawsociety.bc.ca/about-us/news-and-publications/news/2021/2021-annual-general-meeting-%E2%80%93%C2%A0second-notice/
      2 
      https://www.linkedin.com/posts/legal-equity-and-diversity-roundtable_statement-against-resolution-1-at-the-2021-activity-6849356773745401856-c9Qk

      3 https://www.cbabc.org/News-Media/Announcements/2021/Message-to-CBABC-Members-Law-Society-of-BC-Resolu


    • 30 Sep 2021 10:27 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

      FACL BC Statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation 

      September 30, 2021

      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.

      As Asian-Canadian legal professionals, we work within a colonial legal system that has caused and upheld devastating injustices against Indigenous peoples and lands. We acknowledge our privilege and encourage our members to learn about the oppression of Indigenous peoples. We are committed to listening to the diverse voices of Indigenous peoples as we work together in the process of reconciliation, and we affirm our support for decolonization on Turtle Island.

      As more truths are brought to light, such as the uncovering of over a thousand unmarked children’s graves at former Residential School sites across the country,1 the harmful legacy of Residential Schools continues to be exhibited. We stand with Indigenous communities mourning the lives of the children found at these sites. It is imperative that we listen to and support Residential School survivors and survivors of intergenerational trauma. We encourage our communities to listen to Phyllis (Jack) Webstad’s story and participate in Orange Shirt Day to affirm that “Every Child Matters.”2

      We urge our members and communities to listen to the voices of Indigenous advocates, who continue to educate the Canadian public about ongoing colonialism in Canada, and who have outlined clear calls to action for governments, organizations, and individuals.

      We also encourage support of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls’ Calls for Justice, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We echo the Indigenous Bar Association’s call to implement these calls.3

      We encourage our members and communities to refer to the resources below and take action in solidarity with Indigenous communities.

        --

        1 https://ottawacitizen.com/news/canada/how-canada-forgot-about-more-than-1308-graves-at-former-residential-schools/wcm/18d376d7-7abc-42b6-a459-d964dc7ca844; https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/residential-schools-sites-investigations-1.6140931
        2 
        https://www.orangeshirtday.org/

        3 https://twitter.com/IBA_Canada/status/1399379211593392129





      • 30 Jul 2021 1:52 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

        Congratulations to our new Board of Directors for 2021/2022.



      • 10 Jun 2021 11:05 AM | FACL BC (Administrator)

        FACL BC Statement on the Islamophobic Attack in London, Ontario 

        June 10, 2021

        The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (FACL BC) is deeply saddened and disturbed by the terrible murder of four members of a Pakistan-Canadian Muslim family who were out walking in London, Ontario.1 Evidence shows that this was a planned, premeditated act of violence fueled by anti-Muslim hate and white supremacy. FACL BC condemns the violent ideology that led to this tragedy. We stand in solidarity and mourn with the family whose members were taken and the Muslim community across Canada who are all grieving this loss of life. Our thoughts are also with the lone survivor of this attack, who is only nine years old and is currently recovering in hospital.

        While we mourn these losses in this moment, we recognize that this incident is linked to a long history of Islamophobia in this country, where scapegoating of Muslims has been an acceptable practice in our national conversation, institutions, and foreign policy. The result is the dehumanization of Muslims, which leads to violence.

        We encourage everyone reading this to take action and call out Islamophobia, whether it is perpetrated by individuals, leaders, corporations, or political parties. All acts of Islamophobia contribute towards the unsafe environment that Muslims face daily. Muslim women and Black Muslims are especially targeted — a recent series of attacks against Black Muslim women in Alberta has left many feeling unsafe.2

        We also encourage everyone affected by this tragedy to seek out mental health resources and community support. Here are some resources:

        If you have faced discrimination yourself, we encourage you to seek assistance.

        FACL BC is a sponsor of the Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline, which provides free confidential legal advice for people who feel that they have been discriminated against, harassed, or faced violence because they are Muslim or are perceived to be Muslim. The hotline number is 604-343-3828. For more information, visit https://islamophobiahotline.ca/.


          --

          1 https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/london/london-truck-attack-victims-1.6057079
          2  https://globalnews.ca/news/7721850/hate-crime-alberta-attacks-black-muslim-women/


        • 30 Apr 2021 8:13 PM | FACL BC (Administrator)

          BC Courts’ Pronouns Practice Directives: What You Need to Know

          A FACL BC Resource

          In December 2020, the BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court implemented new practice directives that direct counsel and parties to state an individual’s name, title, and pronouns when making an introduction. FACL BC applauds the introduction of these practice directives that aim to make courtrooms more inclusive of transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse people. FACL BC’s Advocacy Committee created this resource about the directives and why they are important.

          Click here for a PDF version of this resource.

          What are pronouns and titles?

          In English, we use pronouns to refer to other people in the third person.

          Examples: She is a lawyer. / He is a lawyer. / They are a lawyer.

          We also use titles to show professionalism or respect.                                 

          Examples: Ms. Lee / Mr. Lee / Mx. Lee

          People’s titles or pronouns should not be assumed based on name, appearance or voice. When others make assumptions about someone’s gender, and assume which title/pronouns to use, they can unintentionally misgender that person. Misgendering (addressing someone using the wrong gendered language) is harmful and disproportionately impacts transgender people. 

          (Sources: BC Provincial Court ENews Article and CBABC Gender-Inclusive Pronouns: FAQ)

          What are the practice directives? 

          • On December 16th, 2020, the BC Supreme Court and BC Provincial Court implemented new pronoun practice directives (BC Supreme Court PD-59 and BC Provincial Court NP 24)

          • When counsel or parties are introducing themselves, their client, a witness, or any other person, they are asked to include the individual’s pronouns to be used, as well as their name and title (e.g. “Mr./Ms./Mx./Counsel [Last Name]”)


          Why is this important?

          • The pronoun practice directives provide an opportunity for all people appearing before the court to be addressed by their correct pronouns, which can make the court experience more inclusive and respectful for transgender and gender diverse people 

          • Gender identity is deeply personal, and people who are transgender or non-binary often experience harassment, discrimination, and violence because their gender identity or gender expression is different from their sex assigned at birth 

          • Misgendering is harmful, and can be deeply distressing, as it ignores and dismisses an individual’s gender identity 

          • The directive shifts toward the normalization of asking people how they want to be addressed, rather than making potentially harmful assumptions (based on name, appearance or voice) that the misgendered individual has the burden to correct 

          (Sources: BC Provincial Court ENews Article CBABC Gender-Inclusive Pronouns: FAQ; and Ontario Human Rights Commission)

          FACL BC applauds the introduction of these practice directives that aim to make courtrooms more inclusive of transgender, non-binary, and other gender diverse people.

          What has changed?

           Old Practice  Current Practice

          “My name is Jane Lee, spelled L-E-E. I am the lawyer for Joe Carter.”

          (Name, spelling of last name)

          “My name is Ms. Jane Lee, spelled L-E-E. I use she/her pronouns. I am the lawyer for Mx. Joe Carter who uses they/them pronouns”.

          (Name, spelling of last name, title, pronouns)


          (Source: BC Provincial Court ENews Article. For more examples of introductions, see the CBABC Counsel Introduction Scripts.)

          Pronunciations

          The gender-neutral title “Mx” sounds like “Mix”.

          People may choose to use pronouns other than she/her/hers, he/him/his, and they/them/theirs. One example is ze/hir and ze/zir pronouns.

          How to pronounce these pronouns:

          • Ze sounds like Zee

          • Zir sounds like Zere

          • Hir sounds like Here

          Ze/hir pronouns: “Ze is a writer and wrote that book hirself. Those ideas are hirs. I like both hir and hir ideas.”

          Ze/zir pronouns: “Ze is a writer and wrote that book zirself. Those ideas are zirs. I like both zir and zir ideas.” 

          (Sources: CBABC Counsel Introduction Scripts and MyPronouns.org)

          Experiences of transgender, non-binary and gender diverse Asian people

          Sources

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