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Chi-Kun Shi

City of Toronto Electoral Region
Chi-Kun Shi

Candidate bio description

I am an immigrant from Hong Kong since 1975. Before entering law, I was an aerospace engineer. For 28 years, I have practised in civil litigation, mostly in sole practice. On the personal side, I am a mother of two children whom have both flown the coop now. My current volunteer work includes pro bono service to a community group ALPHA dedicated to promoting the learning of Asian history in WWII, screening applicants to University of Toronto Faculty of Engineering undergraduate program and appearing as guest commentator on current affairs at OMNI TV Cantonese and Mandarin news programs.

What inspired you to run for bencher this year?

I value the fundamental freedoms that Canadians enjoy and want to take a stand against an attempt to erode such freedoms by the Law Society of Ontario in its requirement for Statement of Principles. I have struggled with my survival instinct to give in and just, so to speak, go with the flow and not make waves. However, after much soul searching, I know that accepting such requirement will be a betrayal of myself and my conscience. Instead, I have made peace with myself that, should this requirement remain, my license to practice may be jeopardized. Running to be a bencher is my proactive way to oppose and eliminate this requirement. I have since also become very interested in examining the budget of the Law Society. That it is comparable to the budget of the City of Oshawa and 5 times that of the governing body for engineers in Ontario needs to be justified and addressed. The other issue of concern to me is the articling system and how well it is serving the students and their future clients.

What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?

With the changes in technology, lawyers must evolve our way of practice in order to continue to serve our clients effectively. The Law Society can take a leading role by opening discussion and study on how to allow these changes in technology to improve access to justice and support lawyers to practice with innovation and economy so that good lawyers and sound legal advice is not the exclusive purview of the elites.

What would be your first priority upon election?

If elected, my first priority will be to seek support to eliminate the mandatory nature of Statement of Principles. At the same time, I would reach out to fellow benchers to organize ourselves for in-depth studies on the budget and the articling program.

What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?

I hope to eliminate the requirement for Statement of Principles, substantially reduce the budget and redesign the articling program to better prepare students to serve Canadians from all walks of life.

What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?

As a civil litigator, I am most impressed by the insufficient access to legal representation that manifests itself in our courts frequently. Many of the front line workers, ie, registrars, filing clerks, try their best to help but it is frustrating to see how inefficient such patchwork efforts are despite their dedication. There needs to be better organized and systemic approach to help Ontarians access our justice system. There also needs to be creativity and openness to finding common sense solutions. We are a society that is proudly governed by the rule of law. The law must therefore be equally accessible to all.

Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?

No. I believe such requirement is forced speech and forced thoughts contrary to the fundamental principles of the democratic society that we live in. In Canada, Canadians and their lawyers are not required to promote any laws or principles, not even those enshrined in our constitution, which our courts characterize as "living tree" capable of growth and adaptation to changing social environment. Instead, we respect and comply with the current laws and their underlying principles. At the same time, we should remain open to discuss, dissent and challenge our legal status quo, so that our society and ourselves can remain dynamic and capable of embracing changes and growth into our future.

Poll Question

What do you see as the top issue that prospective benchers need to address if they are elected?