Jocelyn Tatebe, President
It is a true privilege to be the President of the Women's Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) for the 2022-2024 term. As the WLAO enters its 104th year, we have lots to celebrate.
On behalf of the WLAO, I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Jacqueline Horvat on becoming the Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario. The WLAO is deeply grateful to the immediate past Treasurer, Teresa Donnelly, for her leadership, support and commitment to fostering relationships between legal organizations in Ontario. It is also a historic moment because this is the first time that the title of Treasurer has been passed from one woman to another.
As noted above, the WLAO recently held its first in-person Awards Gala in over two years. Many of you shared how exciting it was to reconnect with friends and colleagues and to celebrate all of the inspiring award winners. It was an honor to be seated with Chief Justice Strathy and Associate Chief Justice Fairburn of the Court of Appeal, Justice Ramsay of the Superior Court and Professor Mary Jane Mossman, this year’s recipient of the President’s award.
At the Awards Gala, I made three commitments as the incoming President: first, the WLAO will not shy away from addressing challenging issues that affect women lawyers; second, we will use our social media platforms to connect with as many members as possible and to amplify issues that fall within our mandate; and third, we will strengthen our relationships with other equity seeking organizations.
I never imagined that I would be able to fulfill all three commitments in my first communication as President! What a stroke of beginner’s luck!
In light of the recent decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization which overturned Roe v Wade, I feel compelled to use my new platform as the President of the WLAO to address the issue of reproductive rights. While our membership is based in Ontario, the erosion of equality rights by Dobbs is a poignant reminder that we cannot afford to be complacent about the achievements of the strong, dedicated and courageous women who have paved the way for us in this country.
Over the years, the WLAO and LEAF have supported each other's initiatives and partnered for numerous Continuing Professional Development events. We remain firm in our resolve to being an ally by promoting LEAF's work which is at the forefront of these issues in Canada. As you may have seen in our recent social media post, we encourage all those who feel the need to do something tangible to read LEAF’s Reproductive Justice Advocacy and to donate to LEAF’s efforts.
To conclude, I want to sincerely thank the Board of the WLAO for the incredible opportunity to lead this historic organization. It is truly one of my greatest honors.