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March 17, 2021

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association sent a brief to the Manitoba Law Society asking it to review and create immediate changes to the “good character” process – a discriminatory and intrusive process imposed on anyone seeking to enter the legal profession – which violates individual privacy, and undermines the law society’s stated goals of Truth and Reconciliation, diversity and inclusion.

The process creates unnecessary barriers to the legal profession that disproportionately harm individuals from Indigenous, Black and other marginalized groups due to over-policing, profiling, systemic discrimination, and colonialism.  It violates individual privacy rights, and deters members of these communities from joining or even trying to join the legal profession. Lawyers hold a position of trust and authority in society, and the LSM should be representative.

This matter has been on the national agenda for several years, and was brought to the attention of CCLA by Indigenous students from Manitoba.

CCLA in its brief called on the LSM and all its members who have made it their profession to pursue and maintain justice: (1) to conduct a rigorous review of the licensing and “good character” process, (2) to make immediate changes to the most obvious discrepancies, consistent with the recommendations in this brief; and (3) to do so in consultation with Indigenous lawyers and communities, as well as lawyers and communities from other racialized and marginalized groups in Manitoba. These would be important steps towards Truth and Reconciliation, and to enhance diversity and representation within the legal profession.

Click here to read the brief.

About the Canadian Civil Liberties Association

The CCLA is an independent, non-profit organization with supporters from across the country. Founded in 1964, the CCLA is a national human rights organization committed to defending the rights, dignity, safety, and freedoms of all people in Canada.

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