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Professor Mary Jane Mossman receives 2022 President's Award

Another fabulous Annual Awards Gala! On June 16th WLAO members and guests enjoyed the first "in-person" event since the March 2020 International Women's Day event - a long break from seeing friends and colleagues! The Sassafraz in Yorkville was a beautiful venue to step back out into life beyond Zoom.

Our congratulations to this year's President's Award recipient, Professor Mary Jane Mossman, pictured here with outgoing WLAO President, Jennifer Gold.

And we would like to acknowledge the other amazing women who received awards at the Gala:

Alexa Abiscott, General Counsel and Secretary, ApplyBoard Inc. 2022 General Counsel Award

 

The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-In-Law Award 2022 winner Chiedza Mitchel Mutize, University of Windsor Law

 

2022 Aird & Berlis LLP Equality Award winner Chantelle Hospedales, Osgoode Hall Law School

 

Laurie Pawlitza with 2022 Torkin Manes LLP Trailblazer Award winner Naomi Stuleanu, Osgoode Hall Law School

 

Women’s Law Association of Ontario would like to recognize all who have contributed to and helped support our 2022 Annual Awards Gala
celebration:

Our sincere appreciation to our event sponsor, the LLP (Law Practice Program).

Thank you to the law firms and individuals who generously partnered with WLAO to provide the student and lawyer awards presented, including: Aird & Berlis LLP, the Honourable Sandra Chapnik, Torkin Manes LLP, and the WLAO General Counsel Chapter.

We would like to acknowledge the law firms and organizations that purchased tables for the Gala including Aird & Berlis LLP, Blakes LLP, Hagel Estate Lawyers, Lerners LLP, McCarthy Tétrault LLP, Torkin Manes LLP and Wood Gold LLP.

And to the Law Society of Ontario who provided funding for the closed captioning.

To our committed Board of Directors, members, event coordinating team and volunteers, our heartfelt thanks - without you our events and programs could not take place.

More pictures of this fabulous night are available in our gallery:

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Mary Jane Mossman to receive 2022 President’s Award - June 16, 2022

The Women’s Law Association of Ontario is honoured to announce that Professor Mary Jane Mossman is the recipient of the 2022 President’s Award.  As a professor and trailblazer, she has positively influenced many in the legal profession.  Her research on the first women lawyers in Ontario is important and culminates in her upcoming publication, “Quiet Rebels: A History of Ontario Women Lawyers”.

WLAO invites you to celebrate Professor Mossman at our Annual Awards Gala on Thursday, June 16th, 2022.

We will also be presenting are our General Counsel Award, the Aird & Berlis LLP Equality Award, the Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-In-Law Award, and the Torkin Manes LLP Trailblazer Award - winners of which will be announced very shortly!

And we will take a few moments to acknowledge two of our recent President's Award winners, Dr. Signa Daum Shanks (2020) and Joanna Birenbaum (2021), with whom we were unable to celebrate in person due to the pandemic.

2022 Annual Awards Gala
Thursday, June 16, 2022 (Tickets are limited so please register early)
6:00pm reception; 6:45pm dinner (cash bar)
Sassafraz Restaurant, 100 Cumberland Street, Toronto (Yorkville)

Our event will also be available through streaming but we hope you are able to attend in person.

The WLAO President's Award recognizes a woman, firm or organization who has made a substantial contribution to the legal community and as a recognized leader, demonstrates a commitment to the promotion of women in the law: engaged, aware and connected to issues, substantive and personal, facing women in the legal profession today.

This event will be Closed Captioned.

Purchase a ticket here.

Sponsorship Opportunities are available for this program - show your support! Click here.

We hope you are joining us at our celebration honouring fantastic women and their remarkable accomplishments!

Thank you to our Award Partners:

      

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Law Society announces 2022 award recipients

Congratulations to Lorin MacDonald, a long-time member of the WLAO, on being awarded the Law Society Medal.Each year, the Law Society of Ontario awards the Law Society Medal to selected lawyers who have made a significant contribution to the profession.

The award is given for outstanding service within the profession, whether in the area of practice, in the academic sphere, or in some other professional capacity where the service is in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession. It may be awarded for devotion to professional duties over a long term or for a single outstanding act of service.

Law Society announces 2022 award recipients

March 21, 2022 

TORONTO, ON — Members of Ontario's legal professions will be recognized for their outstanding career achievements and contributions to their communities at the annual Law Society Awards ceremony, which will be held on May 25, 2022.

An in-person ceremony hosted by Treasurer Teresa Donnelly will be attended by the recipients and their invited guests. The webcast will be available for all others to view at: LSO.ca/2022AwardsEvent.

“The Law Society awards recognize excellence” said Law Society Treasurer Teresa Donnelly. “The work, commitment and dedication of this year’s outstanding recipients enhance the public perception of the legal professions, promote the public interest and inspire all of us.”

The awards presented in May will include: The William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award, The Lincoln Alexander Award, The Laura Legge Award, The J. Shirley Denison Award and The Law Society Medal.

The following highlights the achievements of the 2022 recipients:

William J. Simpson Distinguished Paralegal Award
Paula Callaghan Licensed in 2011, Paula Callaghan has demonstrated professionalism and outstanding achievement in her private practice, as well as a devotion to her duties in the field. Ms. Callaghan is the former Chair of the Paralegal Committee of the County of Carleton Law Association (CCLA) and the newly elected Paralegal Trustee to the Board of Directors. She is the 2021 recipient of the CCLA Paralegal Award and has helped to make paralegals valued members of the association.

Lincoln Alexander Award
Lawrence Greenspon Called to the Bar in 1980, Lawrence Greenspon is highly respected in the Ottawa legal community. Described as “a champion of the underdog” — he works tirelessly to advocate for his clients. Despite his busy legal practice, Mr. Greenspon is one of the most well-known philanthropists in Ottawa. He is involved in countless charities and community programs that range from local initiatives to global ones.

Laura Legge Award
Marian Jacko Called to the Bar in 1998, Marian Jacko has made significant contributions to the legal professions by advancing access to justice for children, youth, Indigenous communities, victims of crime, and survivors of human trafficking. As the first Indigenous person appointed as the Children’s Lawyer for Ontario, Ms. Jacko is a trailblazer, leaving important footprints for Indigenous youth and younger lawyers to follow.

J. Shirley Denison Award
Professor François Larocque Called to the Bar in 2002, François Larocque is a lawyer (Power Law) and professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law. As the Research Chair on Language Rights, Professor Larocque undertakes research, testifies and presents reports to provincial and federal parliamentary committees and engages directly with community organizations to develop and improve Canadian jurisprudence and legislation that protect language rights.

Law Society Medal
Beth Beattie Called to the Bar in 1994, Beth Beattie has become an agent of change in the mental health space within the legal professions. She has helped thousands by sharing her lived mental health experience and continues to lead discussions about how to make a cultural change in the legal community when it comes to conversations about mental health. Through her advocacy, Ms. Beattie has made an immeasurable impact by promoting awareness, compassion and inclusion in the legal community and beyond.

Christopher Bredt Called to the Bar in 1984, Christopher Bredt has made exceptional contributions to the legal profession in Ontario through his work with the Law Society, government, legal education, his pro bono and charitable work, and as a practicing lawyer and mentor. He is known as a skilled and fearless advocate, who exemplifies the profession’s values of integrity, collegiality and civility.

Brian Gover Called to the Bar in 1983, Brian Gover is widely recognized as one of Canada’s top advocates. He started his career in public service and moved to private practice in 1994. Mr. Gover is committed to education and mentorship, and has a deep appreciation of how the law works — his healthy curiosity keeps him at the forefront of change.

Lorin MacDonald (She/Her) Called to the Bar in 2010, Lorin MacDonald is a renowned human rights lawyer, disability expert and accessibility inclusion changemaker. Her notable accomplishments include introducing captioning to Western University, various courts and tribunals, and the Law Society of Ontario. A dedicated volunteer, Ms. MacDonald has lent her expertise to the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee for People with Disabilities and the Law Society’s Equity Advisory Group, among many others.

Deepa Mattoo Called to the Bar of Ontario in 2011 and India in 1998, Deepa Mattoo is described as a “feminist lawyer” — a leader in women's issues. She is currently the Executive Director of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, a multi-service agency in Toronto that provides trauma-informed legal, counselling and interpretation services to racialized and marginalized populations of women.

Professor Albert Oosterhoff Called to the Bar in 1966, Professor Albert Oosterhoff (Professor Emeritus, University of Western Ontario) is renowned as a leading legal scholar and author in the area of trusts and estates in Canada. His publication record spans 50 years and his work is regularly cited by the courts, academics, lawyers, students and policy-makers both nationally and internationally.

Stuart Wuttke Called to the Bar of Manitoba in 1996 and Ontario in 2006, Stuart Wuttke is a leader in Indigenous rights and policy reform. He is a fierce yet humble advocate, dedicated to public service. Mr. Wuttke’s expertise and involvement on the national stage in First Nations law has lent itself to the significant progress for First Nations and the advancement of reconciliation in Canada.

The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and to act in a timely, open and efficient manner.

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Media contact: Jennifer Wing, Senior Communications Advisor, External Relations and Communications, jwing@lso.ca. Follow us on LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

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Member, The Honourable Sandra Chapnik, C.M., O.Ont. receives the Order of Canada

Governor General announces 135 appointments to the Order of Canada

December 29, 2021

OTTAWA—Today, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 135 appointments to the Order of Canada. The new appointees include 2 Companions (C.C.), 39 Officers (O.C.), 1 honorary Member and 93 Members (C.M.).

The list of appointees, with short citations, can be found here.

Included is one of our WLAO life members!

The Honourable Sandra Chapnik, C.M., O.Ont.
Toronto, Ontario

For her leadership in the community and in the legal sector, where she has promoted the advancement of women and encouraged best practices in the field.

They will be presented with their insignia at investiture ceremonies to be held on future dates.

The Order of Canada is one of our highest honours. Created in 1967, it honours people whose service shapes our society, whose innovations ignite our imaginations and whose compassion unites our communities.

More than 7 500 people from all sectors of society have been invested into the Order of Canada. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and have taken to heart the motto of the Order: DESIDERANTES MELIOREM PATRIAM (“They desire a better country”).

Quote:

“Canada is defined by the people that make up this great country. These most recent nominees to the Order of Canada are shining examples of the commitment and outstanding contributions Canadians have made to the well-being of communities throughout this land, whether it be social, environmental, scientific, economic, cultural or related to mental and physical health. To all of the nominees, congratulations and thank you.”

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada

Quick Facts

  • Appointments are made by the governor general on the recommendation of the Advisory Council for the Order of Canada. For more information about the Order of Canada program, visit www.gg.ca/en/honours/canadian-honours/order-canada.
  • Appointees to the Order of Canada wear a striking, six-point white enamel insignia that symbolizes Canada’s northern heritage and diversity, because no two snowflakes are alike.
  • Bestowment of Honours by the governor general are the result of nominations submitted by the general public to the Chancellery of Honours, which administers more than 30 different distinctions awarded to worthy Canadians each year, notably the Order of Canada, Decorations for Bravery (which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2022,) Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division), the Polar Medal and the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers.

Every Canadian is invited to learn about these programs and to submit a nomination for an inspiring community leader, a dedicated volunteer or an individual who is bettering their community, region or the country. For more information visit www.gg.ca/en/honours.

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WLAO 100th Anniversary Ontario Heritage Plaque Installation

On February 27, 2020, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the Women's Law Association of Ontario unveiled a provincial plaque to honour and celebrate WLAO's 100 years of advancing, advocating for and empowering women in the legal profession in the Great Hall at Osgoode Hall.  The WLAO was founded in 1919 and has been instrumental in supporting and moving the dial on laws and policy geared toward dismantling discrimination and enhancing equality in the legal profession.

Our efforts to have the plaque installed were thwarted by the Covid-19 pandemic, until early October 2021.  We hope you will drop by the south gardens at Osgoode Hall, 130 University Street, Toronto, to see the WLAO plaque and the Osgoode Hall plaque.

WLAO continues to be dedicated to our mission of empowering women in the legal profession by providing a collective voice and advocating for equality, diversity and change.

The plaque reads:

Women’s Law Association of Ontario

Founded in 1919, the Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) was the first organization to work actively to create a place for women at Osgoode Hall. With membership open to law students, lawyers, and judges, the non-profit organization advances issues relevant to women in law through networking, educational, and social events. Strengthened by the women’s rights movement, the WLAO’s first 100 years marked Canada’s first female lawyer being called to the bar, the election of the first female leader of the provincial bar, and the appointment of Canada’s first female Supreme Court of Canada judge. Its campaigns influenced legislators, policy-makers, lawyers and judges to dismantle discrimination and enhance equality through law. Through advocacy it fought employment and pay equity, criminal justice reform, and an end to gendered violence, racism, disability discrimination, homophobia and transphobia. The WLAO continues to empower women in the legal profession by providing a collective voice, and advocating for equality, diversity and change.

 

Please take a moment to read about our Contest below!

 

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Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court 50th Anniversary Events

Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court 50th Anniversary Events

To celebrate 50 years of service to Canadians, the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court are publishing a book that reflects on the work of the Courts both from a historical perspective and looking forward. 

A formal launch will be held virtually on October 1. It will feature remarks from the Chief Justices of both Courts, an opening address by the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, and a discussion about the book by four of its authors, moderated by Justice Johanne Gauthier. Throughout the months following the book launch, the Courts will present three webinars addressing issues that touch on three main areas of work for the Courts – immigration, national security, and intellectual property.  The webinars will allow experts in those fields to address these topics and encourage questions from participants about the issues raised. Members of the judiciary, the Bar, Academia and the wider public are invited to participate in these events.

Please visit the National Judicial Institute website for further information.

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Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) Program

The Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, Teresa Donnelly,  has written a blog on the Discrimination and Harassment Counsel (DHC) program funded by the Law Society of Ontario.  The DHC program is a very important part of the work of the Law Society on EDI.

English –  https://lso.ca/gazette/blog/discrimination-and-harassment-counsel 

French – https://lso.ca/gazette/blogue/conseil-juridique-en-matiere-de-discrimination-et-de-harcelement

The blog can be found at the links above as well as on the Law Society Gazette.  The blog has been  tweeted about it at @LSOTreasurer.

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2021 Annual Awards Gala Virtual Presentation

On June 10th, 2021 we had a wonderful evening celebrating five amazing and inspirational women at our
2021 Annual Awards Gala.

Please take a break grab a beverage of choice and enjoy the presentation.

President's Award recipient, Joanna Birenbaum;
General Counsel Chapter Award recipient, Hilda Wong;
Aird & Berlis LLP Equality Award recipient, Natalie Zhang;
The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-In-Law Award recipient, Amanda Welton-Hagen; and,
Torkin Manes LLP Trailblazer Award recipient, Madeleine Gottesman.

 

Again, our thanks to our special guests, The Honourable Chief Justice George Strathy, Attorney General Doug Downey, and the Treasurer of the Law Society, Teresa Donnelly, who offered their greetings and shared their wisdom during our presentation.

 

If you would like to contribute, we have a "Pay as you Can" portal below in support of our program.
Sponsored by:

 

 

 

 

The Women’s Law Association of Ontario is proud to announce that the 2021 recipient of the President’s Award is Joanna Birenbaum.

 

Joanna is one of Canada’s leading lawyers in the areas of women’s equality and sexual violence, including civil sexual assault claims, employment law, human rights and workplace investigations, representing complainants in sexual history and records applications in criminal sexual assault proceedings, and defamation law.

 

Current leading cases in which Joanna is counsel include anti-SLAPP applications in Ontario and B.C. to protect survivors of sexual violence from retaliatory lawsuits in defamation and malicious prosecution, and a systemic equality rights Charter claim against the London Police Services Board for discriminatory investigations of sexual assault.

 

Joanna also represented the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the archive established to preserve the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s records, in its efforts to preserve the records and history of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools.
Joanna has lectured and published in the areas of violence against women and women’s equality rights; her most recent publication is a book, co-authored with Professor Karen Busby, Achieving Fairness: A Guide to Campus Sexual Violence Complaints, published by Thomson Reuters (2020).

 

Congratulations, Joanna! We thank you for your service in helping women attain equality and justice.
Please join us at the virtual WLAO Annual Awards Gala to celebrate Joanna Birenbaum and hear her message to the profession.

 

2021 General Counsel Chapter Award Winner - Hilda Wong.

Hilda is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for First National Financial LP and oversees all aspects of First National’s legal affairs including formation of legal policy and strategy, compliance and regulatory matters, board and governance matters, contract negotiation and documentation. She is also First National’s Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Anti Money Laundering Officer.

Prior to joining First National in 2007, Ms. Wong was a partner with the national law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP and an associate with the law firms of Smith, Lyons LLP and Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. Ms. Wong holds a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto and has been in practice since 1993. Ms. Wong also serves as a director on the boards of The Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic and the Women General Counsel Canada Network and is a co-founder of the National GC Network.

Please join us at the virtual WLAO Annual Awards Gala on June 10, 2021 to celebrate Joanna Birenbaum, Hilda Wong, and our student award winners.

Congratulations to our Student Award Winners and thank you to the individuals and firms who have supported these awards:
The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award
Amanda Welton-Hagen
Windsor University
Faculty of Law
The Aird & Berlis LLP
Equality Award
Ningjing (Natalie) Zhang
Queen’s University
Faculty of Law
The Torkin Manes LLP
Trailblazer Award
Madeleine Gottesman
University of Toronto
Faculty of Law

 

Please register to attend our program below.

 

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