Candidate bio description
I am running for re-election as Bencher for the Central East Region in order to help sustain the momentum of recent advancements at the Law Society, including important developments on issues related to equity, diversity and inclusion within the profession, and Access to Justice. As a bencher and through my past experiences, I have assisted Indigenous communities, women, and diverse ethno-racial, faith-based and LGBTQ communities in Ontario and across the country in promoting Access to Justice and equity and diversity in the legal system. I have also worked towards combating racism and discrimination across Canada. I am proud to have been able to continue this important work in my capacity as Bencher from 2015-2019. I am currently Chair of the Law Society’s Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee. I also serve or have served on a number of other committees, task forces and working groups at the Law Society, including:
• Professional Development & Competence Committee;
• Governance Task Force;
• Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group;
• Chair of Keshen Review Panel;
• FLSC Truth and Reconciliation Advisory Committee;
• The Law Society Awards/LL.D. Advisory Committee;
• Priority Planning Committee;
• Mental Health Working Group; and
• The Strategic Planning Steering Group. As a Bencher, I was a strong proponent for the adoption of both the Statement of Principles and the new CPD requirement focused on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. If re-elected, I will continue to advocate for greater equity, diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, as well as enhanced Access to Justice for all Ontarians. As Managing Partner of a small law firm, I also understand and appreciate the challenges faced by sole and small firm practitioners in Ontario. While local bar associations do their best to provide members with resources, I believe the Law Society can do more to improve the services and supports offered to practitioners in Ontario. Finally, I am committed to further strengthening the programs and resources available to both licensing candidates and lawyers. This includes, but is not limited to, greater access to quality, affordable CPD programs as well as improved mentorship opportunities for licensing candidates and new lawyers.
What inspired you to run for bencher this year?
I have more work to do to assist in improving our law society. Specifically, I am a LSO representative on the Federation of Law Societies on the Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) Working Group. This work is vital to responding to the TRC Calls to Action that apply to lawyers and law students in Canada.
What do you believe is the biggest issue facing the legal profession?
I still think the biggest is access to justice. We need to work on making law school and legal services more affordable to regular Ontario people.
What would be your first priority upon election?
I am happy to work the benchers and new benchers on our strategic planning for the next four years. We will have sessions very soon after the election.
What do you hope to achieve over the next four years as a member of Convocation?
I hope to continue to make changes in access to justice, discipline process and equity, inclusion and diversity. I work well as a team player and leader, so I will continue to advocate for improvements at our LSO.
What's the most pressing concern for the profession in your region of the province?
It is access to justice.
Do you support the requirement to create and abide by a statement of principles?
Yes, I was on the Challenges Faced by Lawyers Working Group and Co-Chair and then Chair of the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee for approving and implementing the report and recommendations. I fully support the statement of principles. I continue to support this work both within the LSO and in the Indigenous community.