Category Archives: Social Justice

A Look at the First Ever Legal Aid Lawyers Union in Ontario

The Quebec State Lawyers have been on strike for approximately two weeks as of today, with an unlimited mandate, waiting for their collective agreement to be renewed. A recent TAT decision has deemed certain services “essential,” to which lawyers reacted by saying that they should benefit from special negotiation procedure in light of that new categorization. In this show, we explore a different but related issue of the unionization of Lawyers, in the context of Ontario Legal Aid.

LegalEase’s Alice Mirlesse spoke with Garrett, a criminal defence lawyer, who is currently organizing the first ever Legal Aid Lawyers union.

Episode November 2016–Sail on, Sail on

Welcome to LegalEase, a broadcast about law cast broadly. We are your hosts Alice Mirlesse, Zach Morgenstern, and Emma Noradounkian for this November edition of LegalEase.

Bienvenu(e)s à LegalEase, une émission consacrée au droit qui vise à en rendre le jargon plus accessible tout en évaluant de manière critique ses institutions.

First off, we are joined by a Divest McGill activist, who was arrested at Parliament Hill on October 24th. They were calling for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to halt the construction of the Kinder Morgan Pipeline.

Next, the Quebec State Lawyers have been on strike for approximately two weeks as of today, with an unlimited mandate, waiting for their collective agreement to be renewed. A recent TAT decision has deemed certain services “essential,” to which lawyers reacted by saying that they should benefit from special negotiation procedure in light of that new categorization. In this show, we explore a different but related issue of the unionization of Lawyers, in the context of Ontario Legal Aid. We will speak with Garrett, a criminal defence lawyer who is currently organizing the first ever Legal Aid Lawyers union.

Finally, still on the subject of strikes, fair wages and collective bargaining we interviewed two  representatives from AMUSE – the McGill temporary workers union– which has recently declared a five day strike and are bargaining, amongst other things, for a $15 minimum wage.

Episode November 2015 – Under Siege

Welcome to LegalEase, a broadcast about law cast broadly. We are your hosts, Lillian Boctor and Rachel Davidson, for this November 2015 edition of Legalease. LegalEase is a monthly show put together by a collective of law students and recently graduated law students at McGill that explores the law and its institutions with a critical lens and at the same time makes the jargon of the law more accessible.

 

Coming up in the show today: We hear from David Whit, the founder of the Canfield Watchmen and a community leader in the WeCopwatch movement based in the Ferguson, Missouri neighborhood where police killed Mike Brown. Legalease collective member interviewed him at the recent National Lawyer’s Guild conference in Oakland, California.

We have an in-studio guest from New York City, Richard Semegram, a tenant rights lawyer who will be speaking with us about a proposed U.S. country-wide ban on smoking in public housing and the implication on this ban for low-income housing tenants.

militarization_sjb_english

But first we turn to Luis Solana, in studio with us today. He is an investigative journalist from Guatamela, on a Canadian tour, and the author of the report “Under Siege: Peaceful Resistance to Tahoe Resources and Militarization in Guatemala.” The report details the militarization and violent repression of farming communities in south-east Guatemala peacefully resisting Canadian-US mining company Tahoe Resource’s massive Escobal silver mine.

 

Episode December 2014 – Making Lives Matter

Legalease is a monthly show on Montreal’s CKUT 90.3FM put together by a collective of law students. It is a broadcast about the law, cast broadly, looking at the law with a critical lens and featuring voices of people most affected by the law and those organizing against injustice.

In this month’s Legalease, we interview Meena Jaganath, attorney at the Community Justice Project in Miami, about the legal support happening in Ferguson leading up to and after the non-indictment of Darren Wilson, the police officer who killed Michael Brown; the delegation of CJP, Dream Defenders, Michael Brown’s parents, We Charge Genocide and other groups to the UN Committee Against Torture; about the growing #blacklivesmatter movement; and the role of community lawyering in the movement.

We hear from Claire Abraham, community organizer at Project Genesis in Cote-des-Neiges, Montreal about the organizing that they are doing in collaboration with housing organizations around the ridiculously long 21-month waiting time for tenants to get their complaint about housing conditions heard at the Rental Board. A Mexican student at McGill University tells us about the Montreal Mexican community’s demand to take Mexico off the safe-country list in Canada, in light of the pandemic of violence and impunity in Mexico.

Finally we speak with Legalease Collective member Garrett Zehr about the extradition of Canadian citizen Hassan Diab to France, after a faulty trial and a shocking lack of evidence, and the injustices in Canada’s extradition law and processes. Legalease can be heard of the second Friday of each month on CKUT 90.3FM in Montreal and worldwide at

ckut.ca/c/

Episode – October 2016 – Abortion, MMIW, Land Defenders

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise. This month the program is entitled,  Abortion, MMIW, Land Defenders. Listen to the Episode here.

Professors Shivaun Quinlivan and Susan Cahill shared their lived experiences and insights on the Eighth Amendment of the Irish Constitution. This Amendment equates the right to life of a pregnant woman with that of a foetus and criminalizes abortion in all cases except where continuing a pregnancy would result in death.
You can read Cahill’s story at www.irishtimes.com/life-and-style/…grets-1.2542740

Last week, hundreds walked in honour and solidarity of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (MMIW) at the 11th annual Missing Justice March in Montreal. Hear from Mohawk artist and activist Ellen Gabriel, who cast doubts over the effectiveness of the current national inquiry on MMIW and Stacey Gomez of the Centre for Gender Advocacy, who shared ways to get involved in raising awareness for MMIW.

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And finally, Anishinaabe land defenders Vanessa and Lindsay Gray spoke in Montreal last month. Vanessa is facing a 25-year prison sentence for allegedly sabotaging Enbridge’s Line 9 pipeline. We’ll play parts of their talk, in which they discuss environmental racism, organizing in the Chemical Valley, and the importance of defending land defenders.

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at]ckut.ca or check our podcast library for past programming.

This month’s edition of LegalEase was produced by Alice Mirlesse, Gwendolyn Muir, and Emma Noradounkian.

Great Law Event in Toronto, Canada! LOOKING FORWARD, LOOKING BACK: 40 YEARS OF RESISTANCE

LAW UNION

Join us on Saturday, March 16, 2013, for the Law Union of Ontario’s Annual Conference! 2013 marks the 40th anniversary of the Law Union, and this year’s conference will bring progressive legal and activist communities together to discuss an exciting and challenging series of issues. To register for a day of inspiring and provocative panels, workshops, and discussion click here: REGISTER

The conference will be held at Victoria College, on the University of Toronto campus. The address is 91 Charles Street, with the building just south of Charles. This facility is wheelchair accessible. Follow this link for a map of the exact location of the conference: http://map.utoronto.ca/building/501

Scroll down for the full schedule of panels and speakers.

CPD hours pending.

FRIDAY, MARCH 15TH: ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION AT THE TRANZAC

In honour of the Law Union’s 40th anniversary, join other conference-goers on the evening of Friday, March 15th, for a celebration with live music, drinks, reflections, and awards. This event will be held at the Tranzac, 292 Brunswick Avenue, Toronto, from 7:30 pm onwards. All are welcome!

CONFERENCE PROGRAM: MARCH 16TH
Victoria College

REGISTRATION: 8 AM

PANELS: 9 – 10:30 am

Envisioning the New Law Practice Program
Renatta Austin, Articling Student, City of Toronto
Elena Iosef, Osgoode Hall Legal and Literary Society
Janet Minor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Law Society Bencher

Deconstructing the Doctrine of Discovery
Tannis Nielsen, Artist and Educator

Mental Health and Justice: Three Unique Voices
Sarah Shartal
TBA

Working on the Margins: Perspectives on Migrant Work in Canada
Fay Faraday, Osgoode Hall Law School, Faraday Law
Kelly Botengan, Magkaisa Centre, Phillipine Women’s Centre
Evelyn Encalada, Justice for Migrant Workers

MORNING PLENARY: 10:45 am – 12:15 pm

Panels full of Women: 40 Years Later, Has Anything Changed?
Beth Symes, Symes Street & Millard LLP, Law Society Bencher
Janet Minor, Ministry of the Attorney General, Law Society Bencher
Jessica Wolfe, Legal Aid Ontario
Sharon Walker, Dykeman Dewirst O’Brien, LLP

PANELS: 1:30 – 3:00 pm

Resonance: Police Racial Profiling and Intelligence Gathering
Vickie McPhee, Rights Watch Network
TBA

Decolonizing Relationships: Treaties and Beyond
Diane Kelly, Former Ogichidaakwe (Grand Chief), Treaty #3
Crystal Sinclair, B.S.W., Activist and Organizer, Idle No More Toronto
Lorraine Land, Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Advocacy out of the Courtroom: Skills without Gowns
Asha James, Falconer Charney LLP
Janina Fogels, Human Rights Legal Support Centre
Diana Zlomistic, Toronto Star

Resisting Neoliberal Reductions in Access to Justice
TBA

PANELS: 3:15 – 4:45 pm

Solidarity City Now: Legal and Community Organizing for Immigrant Justice
Rathika Vasavithasan, Parkdale Community Legal Services
Faria Kamal, Health for All
Sarah Mikhaiel, Sanctuary Network
Liza Draman, Caregivers Action Network

The End of the Employee: A Critical Discussion on the Rise of Contract Work, Internships and Underemployment
Claire Seaborn, Canadian Intern Association
Jenny Ahn, CAW, Director for Membership, Mobilization and Political Action
TBA

Aboriginal Youth and Child Welfare
Rina Okimawinew, Attawapiskat First Nation
Billie-Jean McBride, George Brown College
Judith Rae, Olthuis Kleer Townshend

Prison Litigation as Harm Reduction
TBA

AFTERNOON KEYNOTE: 5 – 5:30 pm

Delia Opekokew is a lawyer and a deputy Chief Adjudicator for the Independent Assessment Process. From the Canoe Lake First Nation in Saskatchewan, she was the first First Nations lawyer ever admitted to the bar association in Ontario and in Saskatchewan, as well as the first woman ever to run for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations.

Childcare will be provided – please email us in advance at lawunionofontario@gmail.com with the number and ages of the children who will be attending.

If you would like to donate to the conference, you may do so through
the Jur-Ed Foundation at Canada Helps

Questions? Email us at lawunionofontario@gmail.com, and include “conference” in the subject heading.

Episode 40 (Dec 2012) – Race, Gender, and Social Context

Welcome et bienvenue to LegalEase: a monthly Montreal-based and produced radio show on 90.3 FM CKUT – a broadcast about law, cast broadly. Le collectif LegalEase est un groupe d’étudiants et étudiantes en droit de la communauté montréalaise.This month the program is entitled, “Race, Gender, and Social Context.”

Listen to the Episode Here

Host Garrett Zehr chairs an array of reflections on the subject of discrimination in Canada, specifically looking at race and gender. First, contributor Alyssa Clutterbuck presents a segment on the nature of discrimination. Sonia Lawrence, Professor at Osgoode law school, discusses the subject – “Is all discrimination alike?” Lawrence is the Director at the Institute for Feminist Legal Studies at Osgoode. Twitter – @osgoodeifls. This pithy presentation is worth listening to several times over.

Second, LegalEase remembers R v. RDS at 15 years – a seminal decision on race and and the judicial system. R. v. S. (R.D.), 1997 CanLII 324 (SCC), [1997] 3 SCR 484, In the case, the Supreme Court of Canada ruminates over the decision of Nova Scotia judge Sparks to take judicial notice of the systemic racism within the justice system. A finding of reasonable apprehension of bias against Sparks was overturned at the Supreme Court. Contributor Alyssa Clutterbuck sets up the piece, explaining why the case remains a chilling representation of the manner in which the Canadian legal system discusses race. Next, Legalease contributor Lillian Boctor interviews Dr. Esmeralda Thornhill James Robinson Chair at Dalhousie University and visiting scholar at McGill.

Finally, LegalEase revisits an earlier story presenting a study by Natai Shelson on the gendered experience of law school. You can find part of Shelson’s study at p 4 of the this edition of the Quid Novi, February 2011.

LegalEase on 90.3 FM is a radio program broadcast every second Friday of the month at 11am EST from Montreal, Quebec. Originally founded by the McGill Legal Information Clinic in 1989, LegalEase is now run by a collective of progressive of law students from McGill University. Our weekly radio show deals with legal topics of interest to the community, with the intention of making the law both accessible and engaging. Tune into our show, follow us on Twitter @LegalEaseCkut, email legalease[at]ckut.ca or check our podcast library for past programming.