• 25 Nov 2022 1:26 PM | Anonymous

    November 25, 2022

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (FACL BC) expresses its warmest congratulations to Justice Mabel Lai on her appointment to the Ontario Court of Justice. Prior to her appointment, Justice Lai was the President of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers Ontario (FACL ON), having previously served on the organization’s board of directors for a number of years.

    Justice Lai graduated from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Applied Science and Engineering in 2006 and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2009. Following graduation, she clerked for the Court of Appeal for Ontario before being called to the Ontario Bar in 2010. Prior to her appointment, she was Crown Counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Crown Law Office (Criminal) and her practice included prosecuting allegations against police and cases involving large-scale fraud. Justice Lai appeared before the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada on numerous criminal law appeals. She has also made numerous presentations to the judiciary about digital and expert evidence in criminal law and since 2019, she managed the training of provincial wiretap agents and advised and provided education to federal Crown and other policing partners.

    In addition to her involvement with FACL ON, Justice Lai also served on the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Research Ethics Board, participated in mentorship programs, and coached the Osgoode Hall Gale Cup moot team for eight years.

    The judicial appointment of Justice Lai is a monumental and celebratory occasion for the national Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers network. A diverse bench that reflects Ontario’s diverse communities and their perspectives and experiences increases public trust and confidence in the judiciary and improves the administration of justice. FACL BC strongly believes that the appointment of an Asian Canadian woman with a demonstrated history of being committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within the legal profession will strengthen Ontario’s judicial system, access to justice, and the ability of other young Asian Canadian women to see themselves reflected in positions of authority and repute.

  • 24 Nov 2022 6:42 PM | Anonymous

    November 24, 2022

    FACL BC is pleased to publish its Position Paper on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Proposed Legal Professionals Regulatory Modernization. Following engagement with various stakeholders, FACL BC presented its Position Paper to the Ministry of the Attorney General as part of its early consultation and engagement process.

    FACL BC supports in principle many of the proposals in the Intentions Paper, such as providing the regulator with a clear mandate and designing a more flexible licensing framework for paralegals. However, FACL BC has serious concerns that some proposals which purport to modernize the current regulatory framework to better serve the public interest may inadequately address this goal and may even have the potential to adversely impact the ability of the legal profession to foster diversity, maintain its independence, and provide access to justice for all British Columbians. 

    FACL BC takes the position that, while the underlying goals of the proposed legal professionals regulatory modernization are laudable, the Ministry’s Intentions Paper lacks the specificity and detail to determine whether many of the proposed reforms will actually positively contribute to access to justice and the public interest. 

    FACL BC is especially concerned about the proposed reduction in the size of the proposed board of directors which will likely undermine and stifle recent improvements in representation by reducing the diversity of voices at the decision-making table. FACL BC looks forward to continuing to work with the Ministry to promote equity, justice, and opportunity for Asian Canadian legal professionals and the broader community on this important modernization.

    Read FACL BC's full position paper here: FACL BC Position Paper on the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Proposed Legal Professionals Regulatory Modernization.pdf

  • 21 Nov 2022 8:00 AM | Anonymous

    November 21, 2022

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) is thrilled to recognize that Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, received royal assent on November 17, 2022. Bill C-5 has repealed 20 mandatory minimum sentences and has removed certain restrictions on the imposition of conditional sentence orders, which allow for a term of imprisonment to be served in the community. These amendments will increase judicial discretion in sentencing by repealing provisions that required judges to impose terms of incarceration regardless of the circumstances in which the offense was committed or the characteristics of the individual offender.

    FACL BC submitted a brief in support of Bill C-5 to both the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs.

    FACL BC supported Bill C-5 for a number of reasons, including that mandatory minimum sentences and restrictions on conditional sentence orders disproportionately affect racialized communities, especially Indigenous and Black communities with whom FACL BC stands in solidarity. These amendments will allow judges to reserve harsh jail sentences for circumstances in which they are genuinely warranted.

  • 31 Oct 2022 10:54 AM | Anonymous

    With its registered office located in the city of Vancouver, FACL BC is situated on the unceded, traditional territories of Coast Salish peoples, including the xʷməθkʷəy̓ə (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish) and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations. As a province-wide organization, we also recognize that our members are situated on the traditional territories of diverse First Nations, including the territories of the lək̓ʷəŋən peoples, the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations (Victoria), and the Tk'emlúps te Secwépemc (Kamloops). FACL BC encourages all settlers to learn about the Indigenous peoples upon whose traditional lands they occupy. One excellent resource to do this exploratory work can be found here.

    In acknowledging this traditional territory, we also recognize Indigenous peoples’ stewardship of the land predates the establishment of the earliest European colonies in British Columbia. FACL BC holds a deep respect for these traditional territories and the richness that they hold in terms of the histories, languages, knowledge systems, and cultures of the Indigenous peoples who continue to live upon them.

    Additionally, FACL BC acknowledges the fact that many territories in what is now known as British Columbia are unceded, meaning that Indigenous peoples never surrendered their sovereignty over the land or entered into treaties. We recognize the dispossession of these territories and the inherent jurisdiction that the Indigenous peoples still hold over them.

    As immigrants and descendants of immigrants, we at FACL BC acknowledge the complicated relationship between the Asian community and Indigenous peoples. While there is solidarity and understanding to be found in our similar experiences with systemic racism and discrimination, as well as stories of our coming together in acts of community and resistance, we are also settlers and occupiers of dispossessed land. To acknowledge our privilege as settlers is to recognize our own contribution to the lasting effects of colonialism, and we at FACL BC are cognizant of our status as uninvited guests on the traditional territories of Indigenous peoples.

    We also acknowledge the discrimination and injustices Indigenous peoples still face. FACL BC is dedicated to its mandate of promoting equity, justice, and opportunity across the legal community, as well as using our platform to address intersecting forms of oppression. We recognize that there are intersections between Asian communities and many equity-seeking groups, and are committed to decolonial solidarity and the full realization of Indigenous rights.

  • 28 Oct 2022 10:38 AM | Anonymous

    October 28, 2022

    The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (FACL BC) congratulates Justice Kevin D. Loo, K.C., and Justice Anita Chan on their recent appointments to the Supreme Court of British Columbia.

    Justice Loo, K.C., was born and raised in Vancouver and was a commercial civil litigator and partner of Nathanson, Schachter & Thompson LLP before joining the judiciary. Justice Loo’s great-uncle Andrew Joe, whom he calls an early influence in his legal career, was the first Chinese-Canadian called to the Bar in British Columbia. Prior to his appointment, Justice Loo was featured on FACL BC’s podcast on February 2021 and July 2022.

    Justice Anita Chan was born in Hong Kong and immigrated to Vancouver with her family at a young age. Prior to her appointment, Justice Chan was Crown Counsel at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada with a practice focused on complex and lengthy organized crime trials.

    FACL BC is heartened to see two esteemed Asian-Canadians appointed to the judiciary. Diversity in appointments allows decision makers to bring a range of experiences and perspectives to bear and to make better-informed decisions. Having a bench that reflects British Columbia’s diverse communities increases public confidence in judgments and strengthens the administration of justice. As Justices for the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Justice Loo and Justice Chan will decide cases that affect our communities, our province, and our country. We are confident that their diversity and experience as Asian-Canadians will prove to be strengths in their new roles.

  • 30 Sep 2022 10:14 AM | Anonymous

    FACL BC Statement on the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation

    September 30, 2022 

    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. 

    Each year, September 30th is recognized throughout Canada as the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. This day honours the children who never returned home and the Survivors of Canada’s Residential School systems. It is also a day for the public to commemorate the tragic and painful history and ongoing impacts of residential schools as part of a national commitment to reconciliation. September 30th is also Orange Shirt Day, an Indigenous-led grassroots commemorative day intended to raise awareness of the individual, family, and community intergenerational impacts of residential schools and to promote the concept of “Every Child Matters”. 

    National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is not a typical “holiday”. September is a difficult time of year for Survivors of Residential Schools as a painful reminder of the time of year when thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their homes and forced to attend institutions of forced assimilation, genocide, and abuse. For the rest of us settlers who reside in what is now known as Canada, September 30th is an opportunity to reflect upon our roles in reconciliation and to lean in, listen to, and learn from Indigenous peoples. The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation writes:

    “Our country is in the midst of a long overdue national conversation about the true history of these lands. For decades, First Nations, Métis, and Inuit have been silenced and ignored to preserve a façade that this country is one relatively untouched by racism.

    Reconciliation is not a self-fulfilling prophecy, and it cannot happen without truth.

    Canada, this is your opportunity to begin to walk the path of Reconciliation. We ask you to listen with your hearts. We ask you to remember the children who never came home and the Survivors who did, beyond this week and the occasional headline. We ask you to learn what it means to be Treaty people and how together we can ensure that the tragedy of residential schools is remembered—not for a few years, but forever.”

    This year, we encourage you to take some time to learn more about Indigenous peoples across Canada and to reflect on what active and engaged reconciliation efforts you can undertake and commit to. As Pan-Asian-Canadians and members of other equity-seeking groups, it can be easy to forget our own privilege and the benefits we gain from living as uninvited guests in what is known as British Columbia and yet we were once subjected to many of the colonialist and discriminatory restrictions that continue to bind Indigenous communities. But as settlers and legal professionals, it is imperative we use our privilege for the betterment of all those who continue to suffer from systemic oppression. National Day for Truth and Reconciliation is an opportunity to reflect on our role in advancing reconciliation. 

    To start, FACL BC encourages everyone to familiarize themselves with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s (“TRC”) Final Report and 94 Calls to Action. From 2008 to 2014, the TRC heard stories from thousands of Residential School Survivors and others impacted by their tragic history. In 2015, the TRC released its Final Report, which contained 94 Calls to Action. Of these 94 Calls to Action, only 13 have been completed, 62 are at some stage of progress, and 19 have not even been started according to Beyond 94, a tracking project launched by CBC News. Some other Indigenous-led organizations claim even fewer Calls to Action have been answered.

    Included in the TRC’s Calls to Action are 20 Calls to Action directly related to the Canadian legal system including:

    • 27 – We call upon the Federation of Law Societies of Canada to ensure that lawyers receive appropriate cultural competency training, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal– Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and anti-racism.

    • 28 – We call upon law schools in Canada to require all law students to take a course in Aboriginal people and the law, which includes the history and legacy of residential schools, the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Treaties and Aboriginal rights, Indigenous law, and Aboriginal–Crown relations. This will require skills-based training in intercultural competency, conflict resolution, human rights, and antiracism.
    • 52 – We call upon the Government of Canada, provincial and territorial governments, and the courts to adopt the following legal principles:
      • i. Aboriginal title claims are accepted once the Aboriginal claimant has established occupation over a particular territory at a particular point in time.
      • ii. Once Aboriginal title has been established, the burden of proving any limitation on any rights arising from the existence of that title shifts to the party asserting such a limitation.

    These particular Calls to Action, along with all the others, should inform the way we continue to practice and progress the law as legal professionals. Systemic racism against Indigenous Peoples continues to be a major issue within the legal profession (including challenges faced by Indigenous practitioners), as demonstrated by this mini-documentary by a group of Indigenous Lawyers in BC: “But I Was Wearing a Suit”.

    Further learning and resources you can engage with this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation include:

    If you are in Vancouver, consider checking out the Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre at UBC and the following National Day for Truth and Reconciliation events:

      (1) Tracey Morrison Memorial Bannock Walk

      The Western Aboriginal Harm Reduction Society (WAHRS), the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users (VANDU), and our OUR STREETS Block Stewardship Program will be holding the  Tracey Morrison Memorial Bannock Walk on Friday, September 30.

      The event will begin at 1:00pm at the VANDU Office at 380 East Hastings, corner Dunlevy. The event will begin with a traditional drum opening, followed by speakers. The organizers will be frying bannock at VANDU, which we will then distribute across the neighbourhood at the end of the event. Participants are welcome to bring their own drums and bannock to share with the community!

      This event is being held on National Truth and Reconciliation Day in honour of Tracey Morrison, a WAHRS warrior and leader who was known in the neighbourhood as the Bannock Lady. 

      Link to the event's Facebook page here

      (2) Orange Shirt Day at Oppenheimer Park

      Join us to Honour the Survivors of Residential Schools, the legacy carried by their families and to commemorate those who didn’t return home. We honour the Children with free BBQ, Bouncy Castles, Crafts, Giveaways & CIB Rap Battles. Please wear your Orange Shirt in Support.

      Organized by Wendy Nahanee. Link to the event's Facebook page here

      (3) Orange Shirt Day at Trout Lake

      Join Nisga'a Ts'amiks Vancouver Society to honour the lost children and survivors from the Indian Residential Schooling system on Friday, September 30, 2022 for Truth and Reconciliation Day. 

      We will be featuring a ceremony, drumming and sharing songs and stories with all attendees. Everyone is welcome to attend and participate in event activities.
      Organized by the Nisga’a Ts’amiks Vancouver Society. More info here

      (4) Frozen River Opening Night

      In nîkwatin sîpiy, Grandmother Moon tells the story of two eleven-year-olds, born under the same blood moon, but in different parts of the world. This new play follows their stories as they meet in a forest, and that of their descendants who meet in the present day in what is known as Manitoba. A broken promise from the past can be righted when there is finally an openness to learn from those who have protected and honoured the waterways for centuries.

      Co-written by Métis artist Michaela Washburn, Anishinaabe/Miami artist Joelle Peters and Carrie Costello, Manitoba Theatre for Young People‘s Frozen River (nîkwatin sîpiy) is a timely theatre work for children ages five-and-up.

      Presenting complex issues around environmentalism, community interconnection and issues of reconciliation, the show incorporates terms from the maskeko-Ininiwak (Swampy Cree) language.

      The play runs from September 28, 2022 to October 16, 2022 at the Waterfront Theatre on Granville Island. Tickets can be purchased here.

      Contact: Advocacy Committee – advocacy@faclbc.ca

    • 6 Sep 2022 8:54 PM | Anonymous

      FACL BC Documentary Selected For The 26th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival 

      September 6, 2022

      FACL BC is pleased to announce that our documentary, “But I Look Like a Lawyer”, has been officially selected for the 26th Annual Vancouver Asian Film Festival (“VAFF”) to be held between November 3 - 13, 2022 in Vancouver, BC. This year’s festival theme is “Representation”. 

      “But I Look Like a Lawyer” shares stories of the discrimination, stereotyping and bias experienced by members of the Pan-Asian legal community. It aims to increase intercultural awareness and competency, and to surface the complexity of the historical, socio-economic and colonial aspects of these real lived experiences.

      We are honoured to have our documentary selected for this year’s festival, and excited about the opportunity to share our documentary with a wider audience. VAFF is the longest running Asian film festival in Canada and attracts thousands of viewers over its four-day festival and other events throughout the year. Further, VAFF’s dedication to promoting and celebrating the diversity and depth of Asian culture and identity aligns closely with FACL BC’s mission.  

      Tickets are now on sale at https://2022festival.vaff.org/product/incorrigible/. There is also a special discount code to share with our FACL BC community. Use code “vafffilmmaker2022" for 25% off the ticket price using the discount code, valid until November 7, 2022 at 11:59 pm PT.

      To learn more about “But I Look Like A Lawyer”, please visit the documentary webpage here

    • 28 Aug 2022 1:42 PM | Anonymous

      FACL BC Statement on Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin’s Confirmation as SCC Justice

      August 28, 2022

      The Federation of Asian-Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) congratulates the Honourable Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin on her confirmation as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday, August 26, 2022. This is a historic appointment. Justice O’Bonsawin, an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation, is the first Indigenous person to be appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in its 147-year history.

      Throughout her distinguished career, Justice O’Bonsawin has demonstrated a special interest in mental health law and Indigenous issues. These topics ultimately formed the specialization of her PhD at the University of Ottawa, which she completed while sitting as a justice of the Superior Court of Justice.

      FACL BC is heartened to see an Indigenous woman appointed to this influential position. The Supreme Court is the highest court in Canada. In deciding cases of national importance, the Court makes decisions that affect the lives of many Canadians. Diversity in judicial appointments — especially to our highest court — allows courts to reflect the diversity of those who live here and gives a voice to those who often go unheard. In the context of Canada’s colonial legal system, which has long allowed injustices to be imposed against Indigenous peoples and lands, Justice O’Bonsawin’s confirmation is an important step toward reconciliation. 

    • 6 Aug 2022 5:46 PM | Anonymous

      President's Message

      August 6, 2022

      Ten years ago, I remember attending my first FACL event as a law student. It was an experience that I’ll never forget because it was the first time I felt like I belonged in this profession.

      Like many of you, I was the first in my family to attend law school. My parents were immigrants who came to Canada with next to nothing in their pockets. They worked hard so that we could have a better future. Despite getting into law school, I couldn’t help but feel like an outsider. Even my dad was worried that the colour of my skin would put me at a disadvantage he was not wrong.

      Attending my first FACL event changed all of this. It was the first time I met lawyers who not only looked like me but were also willing to lend a hand. FACL gave me a sense of belonging, a sense of community, and a sense of family. 

      I believe that this is what sets FACL apart from other organizations. And as a family, we support each other, we advocate for each other, and we lend a helping hand to others in need.

      The rise of anti-Asian hate crimes in the past two years has shown us the importance of organizations like FACL BC that we can lean on for advocacy. We are now at a pivotal moment in history where we have the social license to speak up. We now have a seat at the table. And now is the time to send the elevator down to support the future generation of lawyers. 

      I am grateful for the support of our FACL BC community. I am grateful for our dedicated volunteers and directors. Finally, I am grateful for members like you.

      It is our members who continue to inspire us towards promoting equity, justice and opportunity for Asian Canadian legal professionals and the wider community. In return, I invite you to continue promoting our mission, to take part in any of our active committees, and to connect with me or any of our directors. 

      This year marks our 11th year in BC, and we’ve only just begun.

      Steven Ngo

      President, Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers BC

      Counsel, Rivian 

      Email: president@faclbc.ca

      LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/ngosteven

      Book a one-on-one meeting here: ​https://calendly.com/beyondthea/faclbc 

    • 15 Jul 2022 10:28 AM | Anonymous

      Introducing our 2022-2023 FACL BC Board of Directors

      July 15, 2022

      Please extend a warm welcome to our FACL BC 2022-2023 Board of Directors, who were appointed/elected at our Annual General Meeting yesterday evening. We look forward to reaching new heights with this amazing team in the upcoming term! 

      • President: Steven Ngo
      • VP External: Mark Iyengar
      • VP Internal: Jim Wu
      • VP Marketing: Fiona Wong
      • Treasurer: Kayla Siu
      • Advisory Director: Hasan Alam
      • Directors-at-LargeCharlene Tsai, David How, Holly Wong, Jennine Punzalan, Jenny Huang, Jessica Chung, Sandy Lun, Sebastian Chern
      • Secretary: Lily Zhang
      • Gala Chair: Paige Mueller
      • Area Representative - Kamloops: Hardeep Chahal
      • Student Directors: Catherine Wong (UBC), Janice Jia Fujikawa (UVic), Talia Gukert (TRU) 

      We would also like to thank the following outgoing board members for their dedication and service to FACL BC during their respective terms: Abigail Cheung, Afifa Hashimi, Alex Chang, Brian Cheng, Chanel Pabla, Diana Wang, Karen Chow, Khalil Jessa, Rasmeet Mohar, Russel Chiong, Sarah Reid, and Shane Ching. 

      Please keep an eye out for ways to get involved with our Advocacy, Membership, Mentorship, and/or Gala committees in the 2022-2023 year. We can't wait to see what's in store! 

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