Congratulations to Josie McKinney, recipient of the Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession!

The Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society is pleased to announce that Josie McKinney is the first recipient of the Society’s Award for Mi’kmaq & Indigenous Peoples Excellence in the Legal Profession (AMIE).

This award recognizes outstanding Mi’kmaq and Indigenous lawyers within Nova Scotia who have contributed to their community, their Nation, the legal profession and to the Society. The creation of this award was approved by council during the January 2022 meeting. For more information about this award and the nomination criteria is available on our website.

“I am honoured to be the first recipient of this award. My work is possible because of the Indigenous excellence that came before me and that surrounds me today. Thank you to my family, friends, and the many incredible Indigenous, Black and racialized leaders who have provided support, mentorship and inspiration throughout my career. Thank you to the AMIE Selection Committee for the recognition.”

Congratulations, Josie!

Read more about Josie McKinney

Josie McKinney is Mi’kmaw and Wolastoqey, originally from New Brunswick. She is also an alumna of the Indigenous Black and Mi’kmaq Initiative at the Schulich School of Law. Upon her admission to both the Nova Scotia Bar and the Ontario Bar in 2007, until 2010, Josie worked as a Staff Lawyer for the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic, providing a range of legal services for low income Indigenous people (criminal defence, tenant rights, criminal injuries compensation, and Indian Residential School Settlement claims) and supervised law students enrolled at the Clinic. Josie joined the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service in 2011, where she spent her first 6 years in Yarmouth and Shelburne before moving to Halifax in April 2018. In July 2020, she was appointed Nova Scotia’s first dedicated human trafficking prosecutor.

Josie was elected to Council in 2019 to represent the Halifax District. She has been a member of the Society’s Racial Equity Committee since 2015 and became co-Chair in January 2019. The REC has been instrumental in providing helpful advice and guidance to Council on issues of racial equity, including on the decision to release a public acknowledgement of systemic discrimination and to conduct an external review.

From 2016 to present, Josie has been a member of the PPS Equity and Diversity Committee. She was the primary author of a new PPS policy on Fair Treatment of Indigenous Peoples in the Criminal Justice System and led the training of all NS Crown Attorneys on the policy. She has also led the PPS in developing other initiatives to help address systemic discrimination in the criminal justice system as experienced by Indigenous and Black communities. Josie has provided educational sessions to children in grades P-12 on Mi’kmaq history/culture and residential schools. She has delivered various CLE presentations to lawyers and other professionals on issues of cultural competency, in NS and NB. She has mentored law students and high school students and has supervised articling students