On behalf of the Alberta judiciary, we applaud the lawyers and law students for their bravery in sharing their experiences of racial discrimination as part of the “My Experience” Project.
The experiences related contain uncomfortable but compelling truths. They put a face on bias, unconscious or otherwise, and the harmful consequences flowing from it. And they bring home to the judiciary the leadership role we must play to ensure that the justice system in this province mirrors the fair and equal treatment of all so vital to our democracy.
Training in cultural understanding and conscious/unconscious bias is now a standard component of judicial education in Canada. Clearly, there is more to be done. We have circulated the accounts received by the Law Society to members of our Courts. We have asked them to read those accounts and reflect on the steps we in the judiciary must take, individually and collectively, to make certain that bias in any form is identified for what it is and firmly rejected. The Courts are committed to providing an inclusive environment for the very lawyers we count on to safeguard access to justice for others. Our constitutional duty to protect and defend equality rights for all demands no less.
We thank the Law Society of Alberta for initiating the “My Experience” Project. All Alberta Courts look forward to working with them and others in addressing all forms of racism and discrimination. Doing so calls for vigilance always.
Catherine A. Fraser, Chief Justice of Alberta
Mary T. Moreau, Chief Justice, Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta
Derek G. Redman, Chief Judge, Provincial Court of Alberta