New Certified Specialization in Indigenous Legal Issues

Posted: 01/20/2017

Photo of the Board members of the Certified Specialist Program

Certified Specialist Board (left to right): Edward Olkovich, Gerald Swaye, Janet Leiper (Chair), Marion Boyd, David Bannon, Donna Shier, May Cheng, Douglas Downey, David Shelly (Kathryn D’Artois, not pictured)

The Law Society is now accepting applications for a newly created designation of Certified Specialist: Indigenous Legal Issues. Ontario lawyers with the appropriate expertise are invited to apply.

Launched in June 2016, this new Certified Specialist Program (CSP) is Canada’s first certified specialization in Indigenous Legal Issues. The program was developed by the Certified Specialist Board to support the Law Society’s competence mandate and strategic priority to better meet the legal needs of Indigenous Peoples.

The Indigenous Legal Issues program is the 16tharea of specialty available from the CSP. It was developed in partnership with subject-matter experts and leading practitioners in the area from across the province.

Indigenous Legal Issues CSP sub-specialties

This new program includes three sub-specialties, each with its own set of experience, knowledge and skills standards:

  1. Rights and Governance;
  2. Litigation and Advocacy; and/or
  3. Corporate and Commercial.


In order to qualify, Ontario lawyers must have at least 5 of 7 years of practice experience in Indigenous Legal Issues, and the requisite knowledge, skills and professional requirements to demonstrate elevated competence in this area, including the ability to properly articulate the relevant Indigenous perspective in each matter undertaken.

Applicants must submit a brief statement confirming that they have obtained a significant understanding of the culture, the economic, political, social, or historical contexts, and the legal perspectives of at least one Indigenous Peoples as of the date of their application. Applicants are also required to submit a reference from an Indigenous community member.

CSP application and policies

The Application for Certification is common to all specialty areas and must be completed by all applicants. Prior to applying to the CSP, applicants are asked to review the Administrative Policies Governing the Certified Specialist Program (“Policies”).