Montréal, September 30, 2021 – On this National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, the Chambre des notaires du Québec joins its voice with thousands of others in memorializing the tragic history of Canada’s residential school system, and in honouring the lives lost as well as the survivors among First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples, their families and their communities.
Seeking to help define a more just future for all, the Chambre des notaires is today publishing a Declaration on Reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples and reiterating its desire to help better protect historically disadvantaged groups, including Indigenous Peoples. With this declaration, the Chambre reasserts the fundamental values guiding the notarial profession and affirms its commitments toward the process of reconciliation, including the demand to change the name of the Indian Act and, ultimately, work toward repealing it, as well as toward revitalization of Indigenous legal systems and traditions.
“We are duty-bound to work toward improving our society,” says Me. Hélène Potvin, President of the Chambre des notaires du Québec. “The active participation of the Chambre and its members in charting this blueprint for society will be the true testament to our determination to build an inclusive, egalitarian world, in accordance with our fundamental values of justice, cohesion and understanding.”
Actions for coaching and awareness of Indigenous laws and realities
To help ensure the engagement of everyone, including the community of local legal professionals made up of notaries across the province and members of its governance structure, this fall the Chambre des notaires will begin offering training on Indigenous law and realities. In addition to specific legal aspects, the training will cover the cultural, socio-economic and historical context of people from Indigenous communities, as well as how best to support them in their legal undertakings.
Further initiatives will focus on course content for Bachelor of Laws and Master of Laws in Notarial Law students. The Chambre will work with universities to ensure that future legal professionals are educated about the realities of Indigenous Peoples and the challenges these communities face.
Lastly, the Chambre wishes to remind Indigenous authorities that its Fonds d’études notariales financial assistance program makes funding available for initiatives to document and revitalize Indigenous law and foster coexistence of legal systems and traditions. The program has already enabled projects by Justice Pro Bono and the Nunavik Community Justice Centre to provide support and guidance to Indigenous Peoples in Northern Québec.
All of the actions announced today aim at raising notaries’ awareness of issues around inequity and unconscious bias as well as their impacts on the law and their practice, so that they can do more to mitigate them. This is not merely a one-time initiative; rather, it is an ongoing process of reflection to be incorporated into the Chambre’s activities from this point on. These measures follow from the recommendations in the reports of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) and the Public Inquiry Commission on Relations between Indigenous Peoples and Certain Public Services in Québec (the Viens Commission).
About the Chambre des notaires du Québec
The Chambre des notaires du Québec is the province’s professional order of notaries, with some 3,900 members. Its mission is to ensure the protection of the public by promoting the preventive practice of law, supporting a notarial practice of quality that serves the public, and fostering access to justice for all.
Director, Clientele and Communications
Chambre des notaires du Québec
514-879-1793 / 1-800-263-1793, ext. 5912