Omatsu FACL Scholarship Applications due July 17, 2015

The Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers (“FACL”) is pleased to accept applications to the Omatsu FACL Scholarship.  The Omatsu FACL Scholarship was established to honour Justice Maryka Omatsu, Canada’s first East Asian woman judge.  Before her appointment to the bench, Justice Omatsu practised law in Toronto for 16 years.  She worked for all levels of government and taught in China, Japan and Toronto.  She was Chair of the Ontario Human Rights Appeals’ Tribunal and a LSUC referee.   During the 1980s, Justice Omatsu was a member of the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ negotiation team and helped win Redress for her community for the WWII violations.  In 1992, her book, Bittersweet Passage:  Redress and the Japanese Canadian Experience, won several prizes and was published in Japan.   In February 1993, Justice Omatsu was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice.  She has presided in Toronto’s criminal courts, co-chaired the National Judge’s Association Equality and Diversity Committee, and co-edited a manual on Section 15 of the Charter.    She retired from the bench in 2012.  Justice Omatsu has received FACL’s Lifetime Achievement Award, Queen Elizabeth’s Golden Jubilee Medal and numerous other awards and honours.  Justice Omatsu is one of FACL’s founders.

Up to two awards in the amount of $1,000 each will be awarded in 2015 to a law student or students based on the following considerations:

  • Leadership & Community Involvement
  • Law Student Vision
  • Academics
  • Financial Need
  • Personal Statement

The successful applicant must also meet all of the following criteria:

  • Self-identifies as of Asian descent (East Asian, Southeast Asian, or South Asian)
  • Has demonstrated some past, current, and/or future involvement in promoting social justice
  • Has appropriate status in Canada (either citizen or permanent resident)
  • Is a student at a law school (pursuing a JD/LLB) in Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, British Columbia, or the Maritimes
  • Is a member of FACL

Please complete the attached 2015 Application Form and submit by email, along with your CV, university and law school transcripts, to no later than July 17, 2015.

Congratulations to the new Benchers at the Law Society of Upper Canada!

As you are probably aware, all five candidates endorsed by FACL were successfully elected in the 2015 Law Society Bencher Election!

  • Julian Falconer
  • Avvy Go
  • Janet E. Minor
  • Sandra Nishikawa
  • Paul Schabas

Results of the bencher election are now posted on the LSUC website.

Of the 34 candidates who had completed the RODA survey, the following were successful in their campaign:

  • Janet Leiper – Toronto Region
  • Janis Criger – Central South Region
  • Avvy Go – Toronto Region
  • Susan Richer – East Region
  • Joanne St Lewis – East Region
  • Malcolm Mercer – Toronto Region
  • Sandra Nishikawa – Toronto Region
  • Paul Schabas – Toronto Region
  • Anne Vespry – East Region
  • Howard Goldblatt – Toronto Region
  • Gina Papageorgiou – Toronto Region
  • Janet Minor** – Toronto Region
  • Christopher Bredt – Toronto Region
  • Julian Falconer – Toronto Region

** Convention indicates that Janet will return as Treasurer, which means Isfahan Merali would move up and be seated as bencher.

Congratulations to all the candidates, but especially Janet, Julian, Avvy, Paul and Sandra!  We look forward to your contributions to our profession and to diversity and equity in the next four years at Convocation!

LGBTQ student groups file submissions in Trinity Western University legal dispute

Out On Bay Street has filed its submissions with the Ontario Divisional Court, where it will be representing the interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) students in Trinity Western University’s (TWU) legal challenge of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s decision not to accredit its proposed law school.

The Law Society’s decision not to accredit TWU’s proposed law school was based on public interest concerns arising from TWU’s Community Covenant Agreement. The Community Covenant Agreement prohibits sexual intimacy outside of heterosexual marriage, which discriminates against LGBTQ students.

Out On Bay Street is joined by the OUTlaws LGBTQ affinity groups from Osgoode Hall Law School (York University), and the law schools at the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, and the University of Windsor. Last year, both Out On Bay Street and the OUTlaws made submissions to the Law Society opposing TWU’s accreditation. The coalition of 5 student organizations was granted leave to intervene in September.

Hearings start on June 1 in Toronto. Out On Bay Street and the OUTlaws are represented by Marlys Edwardh, Vanessa Payne, and Frances Mahon of Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP, and Paul Jonathan Saguil, Chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity section (SOGIC) of the Ontario Bar Association.

Out On Bay Street is a registered non-profit organization that facilitates the professional development of LGBTQ students as they transition from school to career. The organization promotes inclusive, queer-friendly workplaces and professional communities, with a particular focus on law and business.

For more information, please contact:
Douglas Judson
Director, Board of Directors
Out On Bay Street
Phone: 416-628-3146

Factum filed with the Divisional Court:
Click here or see attached for the Factum of the Interveners Out On Bay Street and OUTlaws (May 1, 2015)

Background materials:
Motion Record and Factum for Leave to Intervene (August 2014)
Out On Bay Street and OUTlaws submissions to the Law Society of Upper Canada (March 2014)

May 12, 2015 – Asian and South Asian Heritage Month Event

In recognition of Asian and South Asian Heritage Month, please join the Law Society, the Canadian Association of South Asian Lawyers, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers and the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto for a follow–up panel discussion and reception on May 12, 2015. This event also recognizes the October 2014 release of the Law Society’s Developing Strategies for Change: Addressing Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Consultation Paper.

The panel topic, “The carrot or the stick? How to achieve diversity, Part II — Have we made progress?”, will further the discussion from last year’s event.

Manfred Lam – Deputy CCO, Canadian Personal & Commercial Banking, BMO Financial Group
Wesley R. Ng – Partner, Stikeman Elliott LLP
Andrew Pinto – Partner, Pinto Wray James LLP
Malliha Wilson – Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Legal Services Division, Ministry of the Attorney General

Event details
4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (panel discussion)
6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (networking reception)


This event is free, but space is limited. To register, please click here .

For additional information, please contact: | 416-947-3413 | 1-800-668-7380, ext. 3413

Photographs taken at this public event will be used in Law Society of Upper Canada and partner organization print and online publications.