Touchstones, 25 years later

By CBA/ABC National Spring 2018

Touchstones, 25 years later


This year the CBA marks an important anniversary: 25 years ago it released a groundbreaking report on equality in the legal profession: Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Chaired by  Bertha Wilson, the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court, the task force behind the report examined the role of women in the legal profession and the impact of discriminatory practices. While the report proposed 228 recommendations for achieving gender equality in the profession, it also addressed issues concerning Aboriginal women and women from other racialized groups.

Out of Touchstones the CBA Equality committee was born, and there are a number of sections that deal with equality issues, including Aboriginal, Young Lawyers, SOGIC, French-Speaking Members and the Women Lawyers Forum. There have been projects such as Measuring Diversity in the Profession, collecting self-identification information, and the racial equality task force.

Now, 25 years after the report, the Women Lawyers Forum is launching a national compensation survey to study the question of unequal pay.

The 2018 CCCA National Conference and In-House Counsel World Summit

The Canadian Corporate Counsel Association (CCCA) is bringing the world to Toronto this year to mark its 30th anniversary. The theme of the joint conference with the 2018 In-House Counsel World Summit is Beyond Borders: Business and Law in the Global Village.

It’s scheduled for Sunday, April 29 to Tuesday, May 1 at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York Hotel.

The program starts Sunday evening with a screening of I am Jane Doe, an award-winning documentary about young girls sexually exploited at the hands of pimps through social media advertising sites facilitated by internet providers. It will be followed by a discussion examining how in-house counsel balance their personal morals and reputation with representing their organization.

Keynote speakers will be Rosemary McCarney, business leader, author and current Canadian Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations who will discuss global cybersecurity; Mark A. Cohen, CEO of LegalMosaic and chairman of the advisory board and chief strategy officer at Elevate, will be part of a panel discussion on the innovations changing practice (Read his thoughts on the changing business of law in this month’s Agents of Innovation column.)

Conference co-chairs are Simone Cole, vice president and general counsel of Weston Foods, and Kenny Robertson, who leads the legal services team at the Royal Bank of Scotland. Master of ceremonies will be Helen Mackay head of Juno Legal, the New Zealand-based flexible in-house legal services provider.

The 2018 CCCA Awards will be presented during the conference. Events wrap up with The Pitch, a competition for companies hoping to change the way we do law.

Visit for more information and to register.

The Canadian Bar Insurance Association Annual General and Special Meeting

Take notice that the 2018 Annual General and Special Meeting of The Canadian Bar Insurance Association (CBIA) shall be held in conjunction with CBIA’s May Board Meeting at the Auberge Saint-Antoine in Québec City, Québec on Friday, May 25, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. EDT, in the Charles Aubert de la Chesnay room. At that time, the Financial Statements and the Public Accountant’s report on the Financial Statements shall be presented, the Public Accountants for the ensuing year shall be appointed, the remuneration of the Public Accountants shall be fixed or shall be referred to the Directors for decision, and an amendment to the bylaws will be presented to remove references to the annual meeting being held in the same week and in the same city as the Canadian Bar Association’s annual conference, to remove references to the Executive Committee, and to make other changes required in connection with eliminating the Executive Committee references.

A copy of the complete text of the special resolutions to be voted on by Members and forms of proxy will be available on CBIA's website at not less than 21 days before the date of the Meeting.

Nominations open for Tarnopolsky award

This award is given by the Canadian Section of the International Commission of Jurists each year to a Canadian resident who has made an outstanding contribution to human rights, domestically or internationally. The award takes the form of an inscribed bronze medallion and an honorarium of one thousand dollars. Groups are not considered as candidates, and the award is not given posthumously. Walter S. Tarnopolsky was a renowned legal scholar, judge, and human rights advocate who was a pioneer in the development of human rights law and civil liberties in Canada.

The deadline for nominations is April 30. Please see the awards page at for more information about eligibility and for the application form.

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