2021 Annual Conference: Indigenous Peoples and the Law
***In Person in Vancouver and Online*** (sold-out for in-person participation)

Date: November 17-19, 2021
Price per person: Group rates available (4 and more). Contact us! – Not-for-profit: $500 – CIAJ Members – $895 – Non-Members – $1,045 – Young lawyer CIAJ Member (5 years or less): $625 – Young lawyer Non-Member (5 years or less): $725 – Students: $75 (enrolled full-time at Canadian universities)
Location: Online and at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver: 900 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, BC V6C 2W6

***This event is over. You can watch the videos here and access the documents here.


Image: “Sacred Circle” by Coast Salish artist from the Lyackson First Nation, Dylan Thomas

Thank you to our Conference Partners:

 Know History Logo        Law Foundation of Saskatchewan Logo    Miller Titerle Law Corporation Logo      Courthouse Libraries BC Logo              Legal Aid BC Logo           

Bilingual program with simultaneous interpretation
Participation in this program is accredited in provinces where CLE requirements for lawyers are mandatory.
Participation in this program is approved under Section 41 (1) of the Judges Act.


CIAJ’s 45th Annual Conference on Indigenous Peoples and the Law will explore the current state and future of the self-government of Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Vital to the discussion will be the issues of the decolonization of legal institutions, reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and the enduring legacy of a colonial relationship. The recent finding of unmarked graves at residential school sites only reaffirms the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s vision of an “ongoing process of establishing and maintaining respectful relationships” with Indigenous Peoples. This conference will be a space for dialogue and exchange on the continuation of active education and exploration of the TRC’s message.

Honorary Chair │ The Honourable Murray Sinclair
Chair │ The Honourable Robert J. Bauman, Chief Justice of British Columbia and of the Court of Appeal of Yukon
Opening Remarks │ Chief Dr. Robert Joseph, O.B.C., O.C., Reconciliation Canada
Master of Ceremonies │ Scott Robertson, Senior Associate, Nahwegahbow, Corbiere
Land Acknowledgement │ Debra Sparrow, Knowledge Keeper of the Musqueam First Nation, weaver, and artist, Vancouver


  • The Honourable Justice James W. O’Reilly, Federal Court, CIAJ’s President
  • The Honourable Justice P. Colleen Suche, Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba, CIAJ’s First Vice-President

Panel Chairs

  • The Honourable Judge Tina Dion, Provincial Court of British Columbia
  • The Honourable Justice Tracy Engelking, Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)
  • Mark Gervin, Lawyer; Director of the Indigenous Legal Clinic, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • The Honourable Justice Leonard Marchand, Court of Appeal for British Columbia
  • Professor Bradford Morse, Faculty of Law, Thompson Rivers University
  • The Honourable Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin, Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)
  • The Honourable Judge Alexander Wolf, Provincial Court of British Columbia


  • Merle Alexander, QC+, Principal, Indigenous Law Group, Miller Titerle Law Corporation
  • Nadir André, Indigenous Law Lawyer, Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais (BLG), Montreal Office
  • Dr. Cindy Blackstock, OC, FRSC, Executive Director, First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada
  • Halie Bruce, J.D., Barrister & Solicitor, ADR Mediator, Cedar & Sage Law, British Columbia
  • The Honourable Douglas R. Campbell
  • Professor Aimée Craft, Faculty of Law – Common Law Section, University of Ottawa
  • Marie-Andrée Denis-Boileau, lawyer; former Counsel, Viens Commission, Quebec; former Gladue Lawyer, Legal Aid BC
  • Georges Erasmus, OC
  • Phil Fontaine, OC OM
  • Joyce King, Director of Justice for the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, Akwesasne Court; Justice of the Peace under section 107 of the Indian Act
  • Professor Sheryl Lightfoot, Senior Advisor to the President on Indigenous Affairs; Canada Research Chair in Global Indigenous Rights and Politics; Associate Professor, First Nations and Indigenous Studies and Political Science, University of British Columbia
  • Kathy Louis, OBC
  • Jason T. Madden, Métis Lawyer, Co-Managing Partner, Pape Salter Teillet LLP
  • Professor Sarah Morales, Associate Professor, Faculty of law, University of Victoria
  • Professor Val Napoleon, Director, JD/JID program; Law Foundation Chair of Indigenous Justice and Governance, University of Victoria
  • The Honourable Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin, Superior Court of Justice (Ontario)
  • The Honourable Kim Pate, OC, Senator, Senate of Canada
  • Chancellor Steven Point, University of British Columbia
  • Professor Kent Roach, Faculty of Law, University of Toronto
  • Jonathan Rudin, Lawyer, Program Director, Aboriginal Legal Services, Toronto
  • The Honourable Justice Shannon Smallwood, Northwest Territories’ first Dene Supreme Court Judge
  • The Honourable Judge Garth Smith, First Nation Court of New Westminster, British Columbia
  • Professor Mary-Ellen Turpel Lafond, Director, Indian residential school history and Dialogue Centre, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • The Honourable Judge Diana Vandor, Provincial Court of British Columbia
  • Brenda Young, Community Justice Director, Chippewas of the Thames First Nation

Student Panel

  • Jamie-Lee Keith, student, Thompson Rivers University Faculty of law
  • Shayla Praud, student, University of Victoria Faculty of law
  • Verukah Poirier, student, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • Cassandra Sawers, student, Peter A. Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia
  • Justin Thompson, student, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University

Become a partner of the Conference!

Position your organization as a committed leader in supporting the administration of justice in Canada and reach decision makers and prominent members from all branches of the legal community and across the country. Discover all the possibilities in our brochure: Sponsorship Package / Exhibitors 


For further information, please contact the Program Coordinator, Mary Plagakis
Tel.: 514-731-2855, extension 4
Email: mary.plagakis@ciaj-icaj.ca

Cancellation Policy:

  • 30 days or more before the event: Administration fees of $40
  • 7 days or more before the event: 50% of registration fees
  • Less than 7 days before the event: No refund

At any time, a participant may be replaced by another person without charge