Access to Justice was previously an in-person half-day workshop for lawyers, paralegals and support workers working in Legal Aid settings. The following series of webcasts are an adaptation of the original scope to comply with safety and best practices during the COVID-19 pandemic. To keep up to date on our legal programming offerings, sign up for email notifications below.

How do you foster an inclusive workplace and strategically maximize positive outcomes for LGBTQI2S people within legal systems?

Watch curated webcasts with experts from across Canada to share best practices and challenges to serving LGBTQI2S clients. Our guest speakers bring experiences from provincially funded legal aid clinics, tribunals and frontline community organizations. Discussions will cover a variety of topics to identify concepts, barriers and structures that perpetuate the marginalization of LGBTQI2S people. Have a question you would like addressed? Submit it below and we will try to incorporate your query in a future episode.

Be sure to check out our accompanying Inclusive Legal Aid Practice handbook to guide you in serving LGBTQI2S clients.

Episode Schedule

Feb 25: Homophobia & Transphobia in Law and Legal Culture (LSO-Accredited Episode)
Mar 4: Practical Approaches to Client-Centered Trauma-Informed Legal Services (LSO-Accredited Episode)
Mar 11: Common Legal Issues for LGBTQI2S Clients
Mar 18: The Importance of ID for Trans Clients
Mar 25: The Futures of Queer & Trans Law(s)
Apr 1: Perspectives from Quebec on Justice & the Politics of Care for LGBTQI2S People [bilingual]

Who is this for?

  • Legal aid clinic staff including:
    • Lawyers
    • Paralegals
    • Community legal workers
    • Law students
    • Social work students
    • Administrative staff
  • Private bar lawyers who work on legal aid certificates
  • Frontline workers partnering with legal aid clinics

Full Episodes

Episode 6: Perspectives from Quebec on Justice & the Politics of Care for LGBTQI2S People [bilingual]

In our finale Episode 6 of ‘How Legal Professionals can Promote Access to Justice for LGBTQI2S People’, our panelists, Nora Butler Burke, Anaïs Zeledon, and Karine-Myrgianie Jean-François discuss Perspectives from Quebec on Justice and the Politics of Care for LGBTQI2S People.

Episode 5: The Futures of Queer & Trans Law(s)

In Episode 5 of ‘How Legal Professionals can Promote Access to Justice for LGBTQI2S People’, our panelists, Dr. Wesley Crichlow, Tuma Young, and Meenakshi Mannoe, discuss The Futures of Queer & Trans Law(s). Link in YouTube description for more information and resources.

Episode 4: The Importance of I.D. for Trans Clients

In Episode 4 of ‘How Legal Professionals can Promote Access to Justice for LGBTQI2S People’, our panelists from UNB Imprint Trans ID Clinic, Osgoode Hall Law School, and Positive Space Network discuss The Importance of I.D. for Trans Clients. Link in YouTube description for more information and resources.

Episode 3: Common Legal Issues for LGBTQI2S Clients

In Episode 3 of ‘How Legal Professionals can Promote Access to Justice for LGBTQI2S People’, our panelists, Laurelle Harris, Adrienne Smith, and Audrey Huntley discuss Common Legal Issues for LGBTQI2S Clients. Link in YouTube description for more information and resources.

Episode 2: Practical Approaches to Client-Centred Trauma Informed Legal Services

In Episode 2 of ‘How Legal Professionals can Promote Access to Justice for LGBTQI2S People’, our panelists, Myrna McCallum, Aruna Boodram, and Ruby Dhand discuss Practical Approaches to Client-Centred Trauma Informed Legal Services. Link in YouTube description for more information and resources.

Episode 1: Homophobia & Transphobia in Law and Legal Culture

Join us for the premiere of our ‘Access to Justice’ series. This LSO-Accredited Episode 1 invites panelists Hema Krueger Vyas, Florence Ashley, Marc-Alain Mallet, and Amber Chisholm, to discuss Homophobia & Transphobia in Law and Legal Culture. Link in YouTube description for more information and resources.

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Panelist Bios

Episode 6: Perspectives from Quebec on Justice & the Politics of Care for LGBTQI2S People

Karine-Myrgianie Jean-François

With a background in law, Karine-Myrgianie (elle, she/her) has worked in the community sector in feminist and/or youth-oriented organizations for over 10 years. Born in Tiohtià:ke, this Black queer woman supports minoritized communities in their liberation. She is currently the Director of Operations and Projects at the DisAbled Women’s Network of Canada. (DAWN Canada). This eternal optimist believes in the power of communities and knows that we as folks that are always put at the margin have the power to change our world!

Nora Butler Burke

Nora Butler Burke (she/her) is a community educator, advocate and researcher based in Montreal. Her work focuses on building support for criminalized trans people – particularly sex workers and migrants. Nora currently collaborates with the frontline team of ASTT(e)Q, a by-and-for trans community project, to provide accompaniment, education and information around legal and administrative issues facing trans people. Her research has examined the punitive role of Canadian criminal and immigration regimes in migrant trans sex workers lives.

Anaïs Zeledon Montenegro

Anaïs Zeledon Montenegro (she/her) is a community worker at ASTTeQ (Action santé travesti(e)s et transsexuel(le)s du Québec), a project of CACTUS Montréal. ASTTeQ is run by-and-for trans people and provides support and advocacy for trans communities across Montreal, with a focus on supporting sex workers, migrants and low-income trans people. Over the past 20 years, Anaïs has worked and volunteered in several community organizations in the Centre Sud neighbourhood of Montréal. She has an extensive background of work in anti-poverty, disability, sex worker and LGBTQ+ community groups and social movements.

Episode 5: The Futures of Queer & Trans Law(s)

Meenakshi Mannoe

Meenakshi (she/her) is a settler living on the unceded territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples since 2006. This relationship to the host nations and Indigenous people across so-called Canada demands accountability and interrogations of social justice work and praxis.In her role at Pivot, Meenakshi works alongside her interdisciplinary colleagues to envision intersectional solutions to the harms caused by policing and criminalization. She values Pivot’s uncompromising commitment to the expertise and vision of people with lived and living experience. Meenakshi is a graduate of the UBC School of Social Work (MSW, 2019) and Registered Social Worker. She is currently a board member for the Community Radio Education Society, programmer at Vancouver Coop Radio (Stark Raven), and member of the Vancouver Prison Justice Day Committee.

Tuma Young

Tuma Young, QC is an L’nu from Malagawatch First Nation and his band is Eskasoni First Nation. Tuma was born into the Squirrel clan for the Rabbit clan, Tuma is the spouse of Nicolaas Honig and resides in Sydney River where he teaches Mi’kmaq Studies at Cape Breton University. Tuma is the first L’nuwisit (fluent Mi’kmaq speaking) lawyer called to the bar in Nova Scotia (2001) and the incoming President of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society for 2021-22.

Wesley Crichlow

Dr. Wesley Crichlow (Ph.D., University of Toronto, 1998) is a Critical Race Scholar and Professor at Ontario Tech University (2003-present) with over 20 years of community mobilization and development. The following theoretical frameworks informs my scholarship: (a) Critical Race Theory (CRT), which reminds us that racism and Anti-Black Racism (ABR), are permanent; (b) A critical race analysis of ABR employing CRT, to demonstrate why race and racism matters for structural and systemic change; and (c) Intersectionality, a tenet of CRT, to address not just the intersections of race and gender, but the reconstitutive, converging, and multifaceted issues, reminding us that there is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives (Lorde, 1984)

Episode 4: Importance of I.D. for Trans Clients

Sarina Sarraf

Sarina Sarraf (she/they) a member of the Positive Space Network team, Sarina’s (she/they) role encompasses some unique duties with the focus to engage community members and various partner organizations, support youth, and build community capacity. Sarina does this by facilitating and creating accessible resources and connects existing supports in Halton. With this, Sarina attempts to bring new guest speakers, host workshops and plan seminars. Sarina love’s having the opportunity to connect with new folks, share some laughs, and perhaps invite some good eats!

Terry Riche

Terry Riche (he/him) is a 3L student the University of New Brunswick’s Faculty of Law and a Co-Coordinator of the Imprint-PBSC Trans ID Clinic this year. His interests include access to justice in remote communities, legislative reform, and human rights law. Outside of school, his hobbies include hiking and Pokémon Go.

Ash Arsenault

Ash Arsenault (he/him) is a 2L student at UNB Law, and a second-year volunteer at the Trans ID Clinic. As a trans man himself, he is passionate about trans education and activism and giving back to the community from which he has drawn much support and strength. When he is not studying, he is usually running, playing music, or playing tabletop games with his chosen family.

Delaney Stymiest-Losier

Delaney Stymiest-Losier (she/her) is in her third year at UNB Law, but Quispamsis, New Brunswick is her hometown. Our community is stronger when everyone has equal access to justice, and she is excited to have the chance to help in any way possible. Delaney loves rock climbing, podcasts, drawing, and most things nerdy

Frank Nasca

Frank Nasca (they/them) is a queer and transgender law student at Osgoode Hall Law School. They left a previous career in the not-for-profit sector to attend law school, with a vaguely-defined goal of advancing justice for individuals that are marginalized by the law. After a semester and a half of law school, they can confidently say that the issues created by the law are many, but they’re still trying to figure out how to focus their career towards solving these issues. Working with the Positive Space Network and Pro Bono Students Canada has been a great way to use their legal education to support the trans community.

Tara Chandran

Tara Chandran (she/her) is a 2L student at Osgoode Hall Law School focusing her education towards a career in Human Rights law. She has volunteered and worked with a number of social justice and community organizations in Montreal, Thunder Bay and Toronto. She hopes to continue to support social justice through her career and use her legal education to advocate for equal human rights for all.

Episode 3: Common Legal Issues for LGBTQI2S Clients

Laurelle Harris

Laurelle Harris (she/her) has been a practicing lawyer in Winnipeg and throughout Manitoba for 18 years, primarily in the area of family law. Laurelle has undertaken extensive continuing legal education. In addition to her undergraduate and law degrees, Laurelle has been trained in general mediation and also holds a Certificate in Family Mediation from York University, which applies principles of general mediation and further specializes those mediation skills for the family law context. Laurelle has also undertaken graduate studies in Women’s Studies and Black Studies. In addition to her legal practice, Laurelle also works as a sessional instructor at the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Law, teaching Family Law and Gender in the Law.

Audrey Huntley

Audrey Huntley (she/her) is a filmmaker and the co-founder of the Toronto based network No More Silence – the group works to honour MMIWGT2S and support community efforts to end violence, land reclamation and land defence while asserting sovereignty. In her day job, she is the victim rights paralegal at Aboriginal Legal Services. She lives in Toronto with her street rescue dog, Kimei.

Adrienne Smith

Adrienne Smith (they/them) is a transgender human rights activist and social justice lawyer. They recently settled a BC Supreme Court case which guaranteed access to opiate replacement therapy for prisoners in BC jails. Adrienne appeared at the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada where they argued about the deleterious effects of mandatory minimum sentences for women, indigenous people, and drug users. As a trade union activist, they advocate for transgender inclusion in our unions and workplaces. Adrienne volunteers at the Catherine White Holman Wellness Clinic where they give free legal advice, take on human rights cases, and notarize name change documents for trans people.

Episode 2: Practical Approaches to Client-Centred Trauma-Informed Legal Services

Aruna Boodram

Aruna Boodram (she/they) is a licensed Paralegal and Community Legal Worker practicing at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO). She has been with SALCO since 2013 and has worked on multiple projects for the 2SLGBTQ community and survivors of domestic violence and Forced/Non-Consensual Marriage. Aruna has been active in Indigenous sovereignty, Palestine solidarity, Prison justice, Abolition and Anti-Racist movements for the past decade. She is also a community DJ and the Queer autonomous parent of a brilliant 1 year old.

Ruby Dhand

Ruby Dhand (she/her), B.A., M.A., LL.B., LL.M., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law at Thompson Rivers University (TRU). Ruby has worked as a human rights lawyer, specializing in disability law and mental health law. She led the development and establishment of the TRU Community Legal Clinic, the faculty’s first clinical law program. Her major areas of research are mental health law (civil and forensic), human rights law, health law, disability law, access to justice, the impact of race, culture, ethnicity and other intersectional factors upon the law, clinical legal education and community lawyering. At TRU’s Faculty of Law, she teaches Mental Health Law, Health Law, Human Rights Law, Clinical Legal Education and Community Lawyering

Myrna McCallum

Myrna McCallum (she/her) is an Indigenous lawyer and the host of “The Trauma-Informed Lawyer” Podcast. In 2020, the Federal Department of Justice awarded Myrna their first ever Excellence in Legal Practice and Victim Support Award

Episode 1: Homophobia & Transphobia in Law and Legal Culture

Hema Vyas

Hema Krueger Vyas is a Winnipeg-based queer Gujarati educator who is passionate about health education and creating safer spaces for healthier communities. Hema is a director of Red Tent, an organization that provides anti-oppression education, crisis response and physical safer spaces to festivals, venues, and organizations. Over the past decade, she has worked as a health educator throughout Manitoba educating youth on topics of sexual health, substance use, mental health, and anti-oppression. Hema is currently the Human Rights and Sexual Violence Advisor to the University of Winnipeg, she sits on the board of the Women’s Health Clinic as the chair of Equity & Inclusion Accountability, and is a member of Camp Aurora’s BIPOC Advisory Team.

Florence Ashley

Florence Ashley is a transfeminine jurist and bioethicist currently pursuing a doctorate at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Joint Centre for Bioethics. 
They publish widely on trans issues in law and bioethics, with publications in journals such as the University of Toronto Law Journal, Canadian Journal of Law and Society, Journal of Medical Ethics, and American Journal of Medicine. Before their doctorate, Florence served as the first openly transfeminine clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, in the chambers of Justice Sheilah Martin.

Marc-Alain Mallet

Marc-Alain is a seasoned executive with over 30 years of experience managing programs in both the provincial and federal public sectors. “Most of my career has been in communication, education and economic development roles; but they all had one thing in common: relationships.” Marc-Alain is passionate about creating healthy, inclusive and innovative organizations for the betterment of New Brunswick.

Amber Chisholm

Amber Chisholm is a queer lawyer working in Fredericton New Brunswick for Public Legal Education and Information Service of New Brunswick (PLEIS-NB), a provincial non-profit organization that informs New Brunswickers about the law and their legal rights and obligations. She works on various PLEIS-NB projects and also operates their toll-free Family Law Information Line.

Handbook: Inclusive Legal Aid Practice

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