Category Archives: National

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Apologies are only the start – a reflection on the release of the report by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission

Earlier this month, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada (TRC) released its 400-page executive summary of its final report, Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future. It is an important document that provides details and insights into a shameful part of Canada’s past that has only recently begun to come into the consciousness of Canadians. Jonathan Rudin is the Program Director at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto. In 2001, he helped establish the Gladue (Aboriginal persons) Court at the Old City Hall courts in Toronto.

Canada’s Supreme Court turns down Charter challenge on right to housing

The Supreme Court of Canada has refused the most vulnerable people in our society the opportunity to have their claims that the government is violating their human rights heard in court. Shocking, but true.Tracy Heffernan was co-counsel in Tanudjaja v. Canada and program director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Her centre organized the Right to Housing Coalition of people from many backgrounds and expertise, including people with lived experience of homelessness or of being inadequately housed, community organizations, advocacy groups and academics.

Expanding access to legal aid for Ontarians

We’ve come a long way since my last blog on financial eligibility, posted in March 2014, in which I noted how far Ontario was lagging behind other jurisdictions in recognizing that financial eligibility for legal aid services must be increased. Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.

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Gladue Reports: not just a sentencing report

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Gladue is a significant recognition of the position of Aboriginal offenders in the Canadian criminal justice system. It is well known to those working within the criminal justice system that Aboriginals are overrepresented. Chad Kicknosway is Ojibway and a graduate of law. He is currently a Gladue caseworker with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and has been authoring Gladue reports for the past four years.

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Making prison needle exchange programs work in Canada – Part 2

This is the second of four unique perspectives on prison needle and syringe programs. It explains why such programs are essential, what is happening in Canadian and international prisons and how such a program can work. All were part of a Canadian Harm Reduction Network panel discussion in support of prisoners’ rights and justice at Toronto’s Ryerson University.Dr. Ruth Elmwood Martin is a clinical professor in the University of British Columbia’s School of Population and Public Health, an associate faculty member in its Department of Family Practice, and member of its lead research faculty for its family medicine residency program and inaugural Director of its Collaborating Centre for Prison Health and Education.

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Taking the constitutional right to housing challenge to the Supreme Court of Canada

In our view, this case raises critical issues of access to justice under the Charter. Our next step is to seek leave to appeal at the Supreme Court of Canada. Tracy Heffernan is co-counsel in Tanudjaja v. Canada and program director at the Advocacy Centre for Tenants Ontario. Her centre initiated the Right to Housing Coalition. Coalition members are people from many backgrounds and expertise, including people with lived experience of homelessness or of being inadequately housed, community organizations, advocacy groups and academics.

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Dr. Meb Rashid of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care: How healthcare cuts are failing refugees

Dr. Meb Rashid is a Toronto-based physician who specializes in refugee healthcare. He is a co-founding physician of Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care. Healthcare leadership in Canada has come together to oppose the changes to our refugee healthcare system announced in April 2012 and implemented in June 2012. As physicians, we know that these cuts: […]

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How lawyers resolve family law disputes

This past July I was able to sample the views of 167 lawyers and judges attending the Federation’s National Family Law Program in Whistler, British Columbia through a survey designed and implemented by two prominent academics and the Canadian. John-Paul Boyd is the executive director of the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family.

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John Warren of Dying with Dignity Canada on Carter v. Canada

John Warren is vice-chair of the board of directors of Dying with Dignity Canada.The British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) has been seeking to change the laws in Canada that govern physician-assisted suicide for people who are terminally ill since they initiated the “right to die with dignity” lawsuit (Carter v. Canada), in which we provided evidence, in 2011. This Wednesday, Oct. 15, we’ll join many interveners to present additional evidence to the Supreme Court of Canada. *Editor’s note: interveners include the LAO-funded specialty legal clinic HALCO, the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic (Ontario)