President's Report | December 2021
“It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop.”
In preparing this journal entry, I came to the realization that I am halfway through my term as President and reflected on the progress we have achieved during this period of time. This quote from the famous Chinese philosopher resonates in the slow but steady course that we have all maintained in confronting the challenges presented by the pandemic.
The HLA remains committed to ensuring that our services are easily accessible to our membership. Our staff are present in person at the library and prepared to assist you and address your needs or questions. Our committees continue to meet regularly and are actively involved in addressing their respective mandates. We continue to deliver quality CPD programming and are working towards presenting our first in-person program since the declaration of the pandemic. At the Trustee level, on November 17, 2021, we will have held our first in-person Trustee meeting since March 11, 2020. I am looking forward to seeing my fellow trustees in person and to celebrate this small achievement. I would like to thank all our volunteers for their time and effort.
We received some amazing news from the LSO Convocation held on October 28, 2021. Convocation voted to restore the 10% cut to the LiRN (Legal Information and Resource Network) budget implemented in 2020. The cuts had impacted the HLA greatly, resulting in a 14% reduction to our funding. This additional funding will assist us in delivering quality library services and maintaining our staffing levels. In addition, the funding will increase by 5% to factor in inflation. A capital grant for technology funding was also finalized. The HLA has been very vocal in addressing the cuts with the LSO. We have made it known that we are a large urban centre, without a law school, which makes a well funded law library essential to the legal profession. The HLA will continue its commitment to advocate on issues that directly impact the ability of its members to deliver competent and effective assistance to their clients. I would also like to thank FOLA (Federation of Law Associations) for their perseverance in addressing this issue, which produced a White paper and positive lobbying efforts directed towards the Benchers.
I would like to congratulate Nathan Baker on his appointment as the new President of FOLA. We are looking forward to working with him to ensure that our interests are promoted. On October 14, 2021, I attended the FOLA Central South Regional meeting chaired by Allen Wynperle. It was a very informative session, and we obtained insight as to how other associations are dealing with similar challenges.
At our Trustee meeting held on October 15, 2021, we were honoured to have the Treasurer of the LSO, Teresa Donnelly attend as a delgate. An update was provided with respect to issues of importance, such as Legal Aid funding, paralegals providing family law services, anti money laundering legislation and the Competence Task Force report. She recognized the impact the library funding cuts had on associations outside of Toronto, and the importance of stronger connections between the LSO and law associations was also acknowledged.
We organized a social event at the Hamilton Club on October 5, 2021. The event was well attended, and we apologize to those who were unable to purchase tickets, as the number of attendees was limited by restrictions in place. It was great being able to socialize in person. We are all looking forward to once again holding our traditional social events.
The 64th Annual Red Mass was held on October 8, 2021. This year, the service took place at Christ’s Church Cathedral. I would like to thank Peter Boushy for organizing the event and continuing the tradition that has been part of the Hamilton legal profession for six decades.
The Honourable Justice Sheilah Martin of the Supreme Court of Canada was this year’s speaker for the 20th Annual Sopinka Luncheon on October 27, 2021. I would like to congratulate Hussein Hamdani for being this year’s recipient of the John F. Evans Award, in recognition for his contributions to the community as a lawyer and volunteer. I would also like to thank all those involved in making this event a success.
Congratulations to Grosso Hooper for celebrating 20 years since the opening of the practice.
I had the honour of appearing on behalf of the HLA on October 7, 2021 for the swearing in of Justice of the Peace Bouchard and Justice of the Peace St. Denis. Both Justices have illustrious military careers and are a great addition to the compliment of Justices of the Peace in Hamilton.
I will take this opportunity to wish our members, on behalf of the HLA, a very Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanza, and Happy Holidays. Wishing you all and your loved ones, new goals, new achievements, many new inspirations and a Happy New Year.