CanArb Week 2020: Opening Ceremonies

Carol Trudell

The first-ever Canadian Arbitration Week kicked-off virtually on Monday, September 21st, 2020.

 The session began with co-chairs Janet Walker (Professor, Osgoode Hall Law School and Arbitration Place) and Paul Tichauer (Independent Arbitrator & Chair of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrator’s Canada Branch) welcoming attendees. Both co-chairs noted Canada’s immense progress in the area of arbitration and how, as a multi-cultural, inclusive, bilingual, and diverse country, it is poised to become an arbitration hub. As the arbitration community flourishes, the co-chairs emphasized the necessity of having the Canadian arbitration landscape reflect Canada's linguistic, cultural, and gender diversity. Following these remarks, guests were welcomed with a special presentation of O Canada presented by Indigenous artists Asani.

The session next saw guest of honor, the Hon. David Lametti (Attorney General of Canada and Minister of Justice), address viewers. The Attorney General also noted Canada’s potential as an arbitration hub due to both bilingualism and bijuralism. In his words, Canada pairs well with arbitration and vice versa, because of our historical involvement in the process internationally and active efforts to promote it at home. Domestically, Canada has established alternative dispute resolution frameworks and the federal government and all ten provinces have adopted international standards as their laws. Internationally, Canada has many talented arbitrators and is actively involved in reform initiatives such as UNCITRAL’s development of regulations for expedited arbitration processes.

The Attorney General expressed, in conclusion, the necessity of developing and participating in the expedited arbitration reform process, because of the changes to arbitration brought by technology, changes that have been highlighted and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. He expressed hope that CanArb week would be a site for discussing how to best tackle the challenges of our new reality while maintaining our commitments to development and diversity. 

To finish the ceremony, representatives from presenting organizations and firms gave guests a brief overview of their organization and the content they would present in their sessions during the week.

For more information about the numerous presentations, be sure to read the summaries compiled on the CJCA blog. On behalf of CJCA, we would like to thank the sponsors, presenters, and organizers of CanArbWeek 2020. The week was informative, exciting, and an essential mechanism for facilitating dialogue amidst the pandemic.  If you ended up missing the opening ceremony, you can watch the greeting at the link below.