Thursday, July 8, 2021

Angela Fernandez and Bryce Edwards

Angela Fernandez and Bryce Edwards are the 2021 recipients of the TRC Teaching Award from the Students’ Law Society and the Indigenous Law Students’ Association.

The awards recognize professors who have made an outstanding contribution to the implementation of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) of Canada’s call to action #28 by teaching course content involving Indigenous perspectives, topics, and law, as well as Canadian Aboriginal Law. The inaugural awards were given last year.

U of T Law students enrolled in the JD program were eligible to nominate and vote for the recipients of the award. Fernandez was named the full-time faculty recipient; Edwards the adjunct faculty recipient.

Professor Fernandez teaches contracts, legal process, legal history and animal law at the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Her first-year legal process course covers the way in which the TRC grew out of the 2015 Residential School class action case Cloud et al. v. Canada.

Last semester, students in her upper-year legal archaeology course wrote papers on cases such as the 1999 Donald Marshall case and R. v. Barton. Fernandez’s upper-year animal law course includes a section on "Indigenous Perspectives", which explores the ways in which Indigenous Rights (e.g. to hunt and fish) come into conflict with the settler colonialism embedded in (predominately white) animal rights discourse and how to rise to the challenge, in Senator Murray Sinclair’s words, to “be mindful that reconciliation includes our relationship with animals.”

Edwards is a partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP, where he provides legal and strategic advice to First Nations on lands and resource matters, intergovernmental negotiations, and treaty and rights claims. He teaches courses in Aboriginal Law and Policy. He also coaches students in the Kawaskimhon Moot, which is a consensus-based, non-adversarial moot that incorporates Indigenous legal traditions alongside federal, provincial and international law.

"I cannot think of two recipients more deserving of this recognition,” said Lavalee Forbes, a current JD program student and member of the Indigenous Law Students’ Association (ILSA).

“Within their classes, they don't just touch on Indigenous issues; they put them in the foreground. Their courses recognize and confront the interplay between settler colonialism and the legal system in Canada. I congratulate and thank them both.”

Republished at U of T Celebrates