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My Indigenous Law Summer Student Experience at the CRT

Taanishi, Kaitlyn Hait dishinihkaashoon! Hello, my name is Kaitlyn Hait!

I am a proud member of Métis Nation BC and the Métis Kelowna Association. I’m going into my third year in the JD/JID Common Law and Indigenous Legal Orders Law Degree at UVIC. This summer, I worked at the CRT in the position of Indigenous Law Summer Student.

This year was the first time the CRT offered an Indigenous law summer student position. This position was created to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples by increasing opportunities in the administrative justice sector for Indigenous law students and to acknowledge that Indigenous lawyers historically have been underrepresented in administrative tribunals. This position was also a priority as the CRT believes in including people with diverse experiences and backgrounds to enhance the team. This is true, as I felt welcomed, valued and that my voice mattered.

During my time at the CRT I worked on several projects including researching the expanded motor vehicle jurisdiction over enhanced care benefits that the CRT is gaining next May 2021, researching how other tribunals are providing equitable opportunities for Indigenous peoples in their processes, developing helpful caselaw databases for tribunal members and case managers, and most notably, I helped to create and draft the CRT’s Reconcili(action) Plan.

The CRT Reconcili(action) Plan is anticipated to be published later this fall and will include a list of actions that the CRT is dedicated to implementing in order to advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. I have no doubt that with the current and future changes, the CRT will be an approachable way for Indigenous peoples to resolve disputes.

The CRT is creating space for Indigenous voices, Indigenous legal principles and equitable opportunities for Indigenous participants. Not only are some changes being made right now, but these changes will continue to occur as the CRT Chair is committed to being held accountable for the implementation of the Reconcili(actions). Additionally, the CRT is unique as it relies on user-feedback to continuously improve its services. This means that Indigenous voices, like mine, will be valued, heard and used in the future to improve the CRT and Indigenous people’s access to justice.

As I move on from my time at the CRT, I am looking forward to hearing that more Indigenous people accessed the CRT, that they felt welcomed and culturally safe with the CRT staff and that they would recommend it to others. I look forward to seeing the CRT continue to make meaningful and intentional changes to promote diverse representation, reconcili(action) and equity!

All my relations,

Kaitlyn Hait