The 2021 Annual Awards are now closed for applications - best of luck to those who applied. The Awards Gala will be held virtually on June 10th 2021.

President's Award

The WLAO President's Award recognizes a woman who has made a substantial contribution to the legal community as an academic, adjudicator, litigator, solicitor, author, or related profession. The recipient must demonstrate a commitment to the promotion of women in the law and be recognized as a leader. Encompassing the ideals of the Women's Law Association, the recipient of the President's Award will be engaged, aware and connected to issues, substantive and personal, facing women in the legal profession today. The Award may also be presented to a firm or organization exemplifying the ideals for which it is given.

The President's Award is normally presented at an annual dinner in Toronto in June but will be held online for 2021 in a similar manner to 2020.

Download Nomination Form (Nomination deadline March 31 2021)

2020: Dr. Signa Daum Shanks 2019: The Honourable Madame Justice Rosalie Silberman Abella 2018: Arleen Huggins 2017: Women`s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) 2016: May Cheng 2015: The Barbra Schlifer Clinic 2014: Elizabeth Grace 2013: Professor Marilyn Pilkington and Judith Huddart 2012: Delia Opekokew 2011: Laurie Pawlitza 2010: Bonnie Tough 2009: Barbara Hendrickson 2008: Kirby Chown 2007: The Honourable Madam Justice Sandra Chapnik 2006: Elizabeth Atcheson 2005: Madam Justice Susanne R. Goodman and Mary Louise Dickson, Q.C. 2004: Beth Symes and Marlys Edwardh 2003: Janet E. Minor 2002: Linda Silver Dranoff and Avvy Yao-Yao Go 2001: Professor Constance Backhouse 1999: Sanda Rodgers, Margaret Ross and Madam Justice Lynn D. Ratushny 1998: Susan Elliott and The Honourable Judge Mary Jane Hatton 1997: Marilou McPhedran and V. Maureen Kempston-Darkes 1996: Madam Justice Louise Arbour, Carole Curtis and Juanita Westmoreland-Traore 1995: Madam Justice Mabel Van Camp and Mary Duncan 1994: Marva Jemmott Q.C. 1993: Mary Eberts 1992: Francis Kitely 1991: The Honourable Bertha Wilson 1990: Margaret Hyndman Q.C. and Jane Pepino 1989: Past Presidents of WLAO including June Bushell, Margaret Fasken Baird Campbell, Madam Justice Tamarin Dunnet, Patricia Drozdoski, Margaret Turvey Haig, Judith Hendy, Mary Lamont, Laura Legge, Fern Levis, Betty Jane Macdonald, Lynda Tanaka, Eileen Mitchell Thomas, Madam Justice Mabel Van Camp, and Margot A. Warren

General Counsel Chapter Award

Nomination deadline: April 30, 2021 The WLAO General Counsel Chapter Award, established in 2015, recognizes a member of the General Counsel Chapter for her leadership role and commitment to the success of women in law. Awarded internally. The 2020 winner of the award was Cheryl Foy, Secretary and General Counsel, Ontario Tech University. The first presentation of this award was to Norie Campbell of the TD Bank Group in June 2015. The 2016 recipient of the award was Dorothy Quann of Xerox Canada. The recipient of the 2017 award was Doris Stamml, Chief General Counsel at Ernst & Young, the 2018 award was presented to Judy Naiberg, the VP, Legal & Business Affairs at Sony Music Entertainment Canada Inc., and the 2019 award was presented to Mary Martin, recently retired from Metrolinx.

The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award

Submissions deadline: Deadline April 30, 2021 The Honourable Sandra Chapnik Women-in-Law Award recognizes female law students who exemplify the drive and determination to achieve a law degree after having spent time in the workforce.
  1. Currently enrolled in an Ontario law school (include transcripts and a CV);
  2. A defined need for financial assistance (to be determined at law school with supporting documentation); and
  3. An essay of no less than 200 words explaining the above, her past experiences and her future goals.
As a guest of honour at the WLAO Annual Awards dinner TBA, the recipient will receive her award and have the opportunity to meet many influential and successful women lawyers, legal educators, and judges from the Toronto area. This award will be administered through the WLAO and Ontario law schools with final selection by a panel consisting of the Honourable Sandra Chapnik and two WLAO board members. Annual Award Amount: $1,000 The 2020 Award Recipient: Sabih Ottawa, University of Windsor Faculty of Law Download Application Form

Avril A. Farlam Advocacy Award

Submissions deadline: This award has been discontinued. Thank you to Avril Farlam for her 5 year support of this award. The Avril A. Farlam Advocacy Award is designed to recognize outstanding participation in the legal clinic program of any one of the Ontario law schools

Aird & Berlis Equality Award

Submissions deadline: April 30, 2021 The Women's Law Association of Ontario and Aird & Berlis LLP Equality Award is designed to recognize a woman law student who has dedicated her time and talents to advancing equality rights. The recipient will receive a monetary award of $1000.00. The recipient of the award will demonstrate the following characteristics (for details see application form):
  • female registered, in good standing, at an Ontario faculty of law and studying for an LL.B, J.D. or LL.M.; and
  • a record of dedication to advancing equality rights (such as, but not limited to religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, mental health, refugee, aboriginal, minority and HIV/AIDS victim's rights).
As a guest of honour at the WLAO Annual Virtual Awards event in June 2021, the recipient will receive her award and have the opportunity to meet many influential and successful women lawyers, legal educators, and judges in a virtual format. The application form is available below, or contact your law school’s Career Services office, contact Women's Law Association of Ontario directly. Download Application form
2020 Maryam Hassan, Bora Laskin Faculty of Law, Lakehead University 2019 Alana Robert, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University Stacia Loft, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University 2018 Heather Donkers, Osgoode Hall Law School Ava Nicole Williams, Western University School of Law 2017 Yadesha Satheaswaran, Osgoode Hall Law School 2016 Stacey MacTaggert, University of Western Ontario Law School 2015 Elisa Mangina, University of Toronto 2014 Iman Amin, University of Ottawa 2013 Samara Sector, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University 2012 Maria Nunez, Queen's Law School 2011 Christine Dankowych, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University 2010 Andree Taylor University of Ottawa 2008 Shaneka Shaw Osgoode Hall Law School 2007 Rosario Cartagena University of Ottawa

Torkin Manes LLP Trailblazer Award

Submissions deadline: May 1 2021

Torkin Manes LLP and WLAO have established the Trailblazer Award to recognize a female law student for her leadership role in business and the law (this could be corporate/commercial, not-for-profit, or entrepreneurial). This award is given to a student that best exemplifies the qualities of effective business leadership, innovatively applied know-how, and potential for growth. The award (with a monetary award of $1,000) will be presented in June 2021.

The recipient of this award will demonstrate the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • female student registered in 2nd or 3rd year and in good standing at an Ontario faculty of law, and studying for a J.D. or LL.M. (the successful candidate will likely be enrolled in a joint J.D./LL.M. and MBA degree program);
  • an acknowledged leader, actively demonstrating the promotion of women in business;
  • exceptional legal expertise and proven business acumen; and
  • demonstrates an entrepreneurial and business focused spirit, with a strong sense of how to put a project or idea into action.

Please return completed application form along with a letter of merit (not to exceed two pages) outlining the candidate’s qualifications for this award. If appropriate, please provide supporting documentation (i.e. letters of recommendation, curriculum vitae).

The 2020 Winner: Beth Burnstein, Queen’s University Faculty of Law

Download Application Form


2019 Nataly Dil, Faculty of Law, Queen’s University 2018 Sarah Firestone, University of Toronto School of Law 2017 Precia Darshan, Queen's University, Faculty of Law 2016 Diana Pegoraro, Osgoode Hall Law School 2015 Alexandra Aliferis, University of Toronto 2014 Denise Brunsdon, University of Western Ontario

Chappell Partners LLP/June Bushell Award Submission deadline: Not being presented in 2021

This award acknowledges a lawyer who, like June Bushell, experienced and overcame adversity in pursuing a career in law and, despite that adversity, is making  a positive contribution through her legal practice. The award is open to female lawyers with 5 or more years of practice.  The recipient will determine to which registered charity a donation of $1000 will be made in her name. The Applicant’s letter to the reviewing panel should set out her circumstances and be accompanied by two letters of support/reference attesting to the challenges facing, or faced by, the Applicant and her contributions her clients, community or the practice of law.

Lerners LLP/WLAO Elizabeth Grace Emerging Leaders Award

This award has been discontinued. Thanks to Lerners LLP for their participation the past several years. The Award recognized women in law who are emerging leaders in their fields in practical, policy and/or academic law-related work, leadership and contributions in areas that advance the understanding of sexual and/or domestic violence and abuse, or otherwise advances the rights and interests of vulnerable persons who have suffered and/or are at risk of suffering such violence and abuse.

McCarthy Tetrault Community Contribution Award

2013 Benita Ann King University of Windsor 2012 Saron Gebresellassi University of Ottawa 2011 Amelia Martin University of Ottawa 2010 Amy Slotek University of Windsor Law 2008 Seema Shah Osgoode Hall Law School 2006 Victoria Creighton Osgoode Hall Law School 2005 Melissa Ghislanzoni University of Western Ontario