WLAO 2022 (3)

Mentoring Program- 2022 Fall Intake Open

Mentoring program applications are open for the fall intake, September 1 through September 30, 2022.

If you are interested in joining the program, please complete the appropriate form. You MUST be a member of WLAO to become a Mentee.

New for Mentors! Earn your CPD credits by mentoring with WLAO.

Click here for more information.

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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

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:


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:


Pension and Retirement Assets Upon Relationship Breakdown - April 5, 2022

Pension and Retirement Assets Upon Relationship Breakdown (April 5, 2022, 9:00 am – 4:30 pm ET)

WLAO members can use code WLAO-10 to save 10%.

Program Chairs:

Georgina L. Carson, MacDonald & Partners LLP

Anne Slivinskas, Senior Counsel, Legal and Enforcement, Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario

Designed for those who practice in family law or work in pensions, this must-attend program will provide them with the key knowledge and practical strategies needed to tackle the most challenging issues in pension and retirement assets that arise upon separation.

Pension and Retirement Assets Upon Relationship Breakdown


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”).


“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.

A History of Women Judges in Ontario

The Honourable Pamela Thomson is a retired judge and a member of WLAO since about 1963.

Justice Thomson has written a book briefly surveilling women judges from Ontario who have been appointed to the Bench.

A new edition been published on the Osgoode Legal History Society website and  during a seminar on the book she realized women lawyers might find some encouragement from reading about their ancestors.

The book on women judges in Ontario was originally published in 2019 and has been updated. Here is the updated version from September 2021.

A brief history of Ontario women on the bench from the first woman appointed in 1922 to 1990 with appendices to the present day.


Position Available - Strategic Policy Counsel, Policy - Law Society of Ontario



Strategic Policy Counsel provides advice and support for the policy-making function of the Law Society where it tackles issues that require creative, proactive and strategic approaches.  Strategic Policy Counsel takes on some of the toughest policy challenges confronting the Law Society and is required to think big and differently.  Strategic Policy Counsel has in-depth understanding (local, national and international) of developments, emerging issues and trends in the regulation of legal and other professions; of developments and trends in the delivery of legal services by lawyers and paralegals, of practice, ethical and business issues related to the delivery of legal services by lawyers and paralegals, of the challenges in the administration of justice and in promoting access to justice and of equity, diversity and inclusion challenges in the legal professions. Relying on this knowledge, Strategic Policy Counsel thinks creatively to craft options for approaches to policy challenges that strategically align with the Law Society’s priorities, are comprehensive, are practical, are creative, innovative and progressive and ensure that the Law Society, not only keeps pace with developments, but also leads, in regulation.  Strategic Policy Counsel works with working groups and task forces that are established to deal with a discrete issue within a fixed period of time.  Strategic Policy Counsel also works with standing committees of Convocation when they are dealing with more complex issues.





  • An LL.B. / J.D. and a lawyer licensee in good standing with the Law Society*.
  • Strategic Policy Counsel is expected to work collaboratively as well as independently, conducting research of considerable importance to the Law Society and providing creative and proactive guidance and advice on policy to benchers and staff, requiring a minimum of 10 years’ experience working for a professional governing body, government, legal organization or in legal practice or similar professional setting.  A minimum of 5 years (of the 10 years’ experience) must be in a position wherein the incumbent provided strategic policy advice.  Equivalent experience may be considered.
  • The incumbent may be required to travel in Ontario and throughout Canada (and, on occasion, internationally), primarily related to consultations, but also to present at meetings and conferences.
  • Solid understanding of the Law Society Act and its regulations and by-laws, Law Society policies, and the Law Society’s mandate and its policy-making processes, or willingness to learn.
  • Proven ability, on a superior level, to quickly and thoroughly research and analyze complex legal and policy issues.
  • Strong statutory interpretation skills.
  • Proven ability, on a superior level, to work in a wide range of legal areas and fields of policy.
  • Substantial knowledge of public policy, public administration and regulatory policy processes and procedural issues.
  • Comprehensive knowledge and use of research tools including data analysis.
  • Familiarity with consultation and analysis techniques.
  • Proven ability, on a superior level, to prepare concise, well-written reports.
  • Proven ability, on a superior level, to communicate both orally and in writing complex information in audience appropriate language and format.
  • Expressive and persuasive in both spoken and written language facilitating effective decision-making.
  • Computer literacy, including familiarity with word processing and applications, and social media.
  • Sound judgment, tact and sensitivity to functioning as non-partisan staff in a “government” setting.
  • Proven ability to work under pressure.
  • Proven ability to assess challenges from multiple and different perspectives, to think big and differently and to craft creative solutions.

*By submitting your application for employment, you agree to a clearance check of your regulatory history with the Law Society, and to the use of this information in assessing suitability for employment at the Law Society.


Client / Customer Service Delivery


  • Provides support to benchers and staff by assessing problems, situations and challenges, identifying core and consequential issues, analyzing research and other input and, drawing on their assessments, analyses and knowledge, advising on possible solutions, their impacts and risks.
  • Prepares a variety of reports, documents and papers in aid of providing support to benchers and staff as outlined above.
  • Assists in developing and analyzing consultations with stakeholders, legal professionals and the public.
  • Attends at meetings and functions, including external consultations on policy options.
  • Makes presentations to committees, working groups and task forces, including providing “in camera” information and analyses.
  • Conducts a variety of comprehensive legal, policy and other research, consults with internal and operational staff on challenges and opportunities, synthesizes and analyzes data/information gathered from the research and consultations, prepares a variety of reports, documents and papers as a result of the research and consultations and delivers oral briefings on the research and consultations.
  • Acts as secretary to committees, working groups and task forces, drafts and circulates reports for the committees, working groups and task forces, prepares agenda, minutes, and summaries of meetings, and manages time lines to meet reporting requirements.



  • Has strategic and in-depth understanding (local, national and international) of developments, emerging issues and trends in the regulation of the legal and other professions, of developments and trends in the delivery of legal services by lawyers and paralegals, of practice, ethical and business issues related to the delivery of legal services by lawyers and paralegals, of the challenges in the administration of justice and in promoting access to justice and of equity, diversity and inclusion issues in the legal professions.
  • Conducts a variety of comprehensive legal policy and other research; consults with internal and operational staff on challenges and opportunities; analyzes research and other information; undertakes risk analysis and evaluation of policy options and mitigation strategies; assists in the preparation of financial and resource impact analyses; assists in developing and analyzing consultation with stakeholders, legal professionals and the public.
  • Strategic Policy Counsel is required to conduct research in areas where there may be few, if any, precedents, requiring ingenuity and innovation.

Special Projects and Initiatives

  • Drafts submissions, correspondence, presentations, articles, etc., on behalf of benchers and staff.
  • Attends, addresses and participates in meetings, conferences, symposia, etc.
  • May lead and/or support consultation and stakeholder initiatives related to policy development.
  • May undertake a variety of other projects as assigned or required.

Relationship and Alliance Building


  • Acts as a public face of the Law Society to outside parties, locally, nationally and internationally, including other law societies, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, other legal organizations and law schools, and Canadian provincial and federal governments.
  • Prepares and presents submissions on behalf of the Law Society, and other stakeholders as assigned, in order to influence and inform policy, regulations and legislation affecting the legal professions.
  • Develops and maintains a network of key stakeholders and decision makers, communicating the position of the Law Society, and building good will and credible influence among interested parties.

Team Development


  • Works closely with other staff within the Law Society at all levels, to ensure a strategic, comprehensive and consistent approach to policy development within the Law Society.
  • Facilitates the development of a broader team‑based approach throughout the Law Society by ensuring comprehensive and timely dissemination of information, as appropriate, and coordination and collaboration of efforts by staff.


The Law Society of Ontario values and respects diversity.  We are committed to creating an accessible, barrier-free and inclusive workplace in compliance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA). Please make any requirement you may have for accommodation during the recruitment process known when contacted.  If you are unable to apply to this position due to the requirement for an accommodation of any kind, please email us at recruitment@lso.ca or call 416 947-3475.


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.


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.

5:30 pm

2022 Holiday Dinner Party

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Toronto Downtown


Women’s Law Association of Ontario
1 Toronto Street, Suite 900
Toronto, ON M5C 2V6



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