Speaking Truth For Change – Law Union of Ontario Annual Conference 2017

2017 Law Union Conference

Click here for details on the 2017 Law Union Conference, which is being held May 5 and 6, 2017!



2016 Law Union Conference


Advanced registration is closed but you can still register in person at the conference.

Please click here for the LUO Conference 2016 booklet.

Friday, May 13, 2016: 6:30pm (registration); 7:00pm to 8:30pm (panel) and

Saturday, May 14, 2016: 8:30am (registration); 9:00am to 6:00pm (panels)

Northrop Frye Hall, University of Toronto

73 Queen’s Park Crescent East

Map - Northrop Frye Hall

Full Conference Price:

$175 for lawyers/paralegals

$50 for community members

$10 for Friday only

No one turned away for lack of funds

Childcare available (childcare is booked for Saturday; please contact us for more

details, or if you require childcare on Friday too); Scent-free environment; CART

services; Wheelchair accessible venue; CPD

Visit us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/199695690413069/



Friday, May 13, 2016

7:00pm to 8:30pm (registration at 6:30pm)

Cannabis Legalization: Who Wins and Who Loses? (Plenary session)

This panel will discuss options for the regulation of the Cannabis industry, reflecting on the needs of medical patients who require Cannabis as well as its use for recreational and other purposes.  The discussion will address who will profit from the process of legalization, what kinds of activities could stay or become criminalized, what it means for other drugs and harm reduction, and the wider social ramifications of legalization in Canada. Panelists will be asked to reflect on the potential impacts of regulation on stakeholder groups such as medical patients, communities of colour, drug users, people with disabilities, members of marginalized socio-economic communities and those with mental health difference.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

9:00am-10:30am (registration at 8:30am)

The Duty of Counsel to Accommodate Clients With Disabilities

This panel will focus on the intersection of professional conduct and the duty to provide accessible and quality legal services to clients with disabilities. Legal and ethical issues will be examined within the lens of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct, outlining the duties of lawyers and paralegals to accommodate clients who live with cognitive and perceptual impairments. These professional duties will be reviewed in relation to the Courts, Boards and Tribunals work.

[This panel has been accredited by the Law Society for 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Hours]



Islamophobia and the Law

The rise and extent of islamophobia and  anti-muslim prejudice will be examined from both   anti- racism and religious discrimination perspectives.The panel will also address the socio-cultural context in the delivery of legal remedies and services and barriers to equal access to justice which have arisen in a political climate driven by fear and prejudice.

[This panel has been accredited by the Law Society for 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Hours]


Equity in Legal Education: An Intersectional Analysis

This panel will assess the state of equity within legal education, law practice, and the profession in Ontario from an intersectional perspective (i.e. gender, class, race, disability, etc.) and reflect upon what structural barriers impair the educational and labour market prospects from persons coming from equity-seeking and historically marginalized groups. This panel will present concrete ideas, strategies, and practice tips to move equity from theory into action.

[This panel has been accredited by the Law Society for 30 minutes of Professionalism Hours]


Anti-oppression training for legal workers

In this training, participants will be encouraged to draw on their own wealth of knowledge and experience as legal workers to explore and gain deeper understandings how systems of power and oppression shape their day-to-day work in law offices, in legal organizing, and in the legal system at large. Through group-based exercises and discussion, participants will develop and share tools and strategies for addressing some of these issues, ultimately enhancing their capacity to work for justice.

[This panel has been accredited by the Law Society for 45 minutes of Professionalism Hours]





Implications of the TRC and the right to Aboriginal languages

This Panel will address the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) Report, in particular recommendations pertaining to the acknowledgement of Aboriginal language rights. An examination of the call to enact an Aboriginal Languages Act, incorporating the urgency to preserve languages that are a fundamental and valued element of Canadian culture and society, reinforced by legal and binding Treaties, best managed by Aboriginal people and their communities. The role of the legal profession to engage in these initiatives, through the delivery of legal services and supports, will be examined.

[This panel has been accredited by the Law Society for 1 hour and 30 minutes of Professionalism Hours]


Labour Panel



Legal strategies in the fight against immigration detention

This session will highlight the innovative legal strategies which have emerged in solidarity with detainee led resistance to indefinite immigration detention. In Chaudhary v Canada 2015 the Ontario Court of Appeal confirmed that the Ontario Superior Court does have jurisdiction to decide applications of habeas corpus challenging continued immigration detention. Together with a representative from the End Immigration Detention Network, the lawyers at the heart of this case will discuss strategies around prioritizing the voices and autonomy of clients who are marginalized and isolated.



Seeking Environmental Justice and Confronting the Legal System

Panelists will discuss urgent issues of environmental injustice facing Grassy Narrows First Nation, Aamjiwnaang First Nation, and communities impacted by Canadian Mining Corporations in Latin America. Further, panelists will examine interactions with the legal system in instances of environmental injustice, as both a barrier to achieving justice and a potential tool for holding state and corporate actors accountable for environmental and community harm. Next steps required in the fight for environmental justice will also be discussed.


Anti-terrorism and Human rights

This Panel will examine the recent amendments to the Anti-Terrorism Act, Bill C-51. The role of legal counsel will be explored within a thorough examination of the recent changes to the legislation, and how this will affect the practice of law in Canada. Professor Kent Roach will provide insight into these issues with discussion of his latest publication entitled False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism, while other panellists will discuss these issues within the context of Canadian Civil Liberties, practice of criminal law and professional duties to clients.

[This panel has been accredited by the Law Society for 30 minutes of Professionalism Hours]


Solitary confinement: strategies to challenge and resist its practice in detention

The past several years have seen significant and growing concern about solitary confinement and calls to end or at least severely restrict its use. This panel explores the uses, abuses and effects of solitary confinement in detention, with particular attention to vulnerable populations (e.g. youth, women, and persons with mental illness). It also addresses various strategies through which solitary confinement can be challenged and resisted, ranging from individual grievances and complaints, to broad-based grassroots movements, to class actions and regulatory reform. Panelists will draw on their personal experiences in bringing legal challenges, investigating and reporting on detention practices and effects, scholarly research and work with prisoners and detainees.



Advocacy Outside the conference/Courtroom: Possibilities for Radical Lawyering (Plenary session)

How does one effectively advocate against the injustices surrounding us? This session will explore the obligation of lawyers and paralegals, as both professionals and as progressives, to advocate for change outside of the courtroom and to endeavor to do radical lawyering.  After a full day of workshops, this final plenary session aims to bring together the ideas and social problems – and distill feelings into plans for concrete action. It will explore various themes including: the notion of public interest advocacy as an obligation under the LSUC Rules of Professional Conduct; change through mainstream media and through creation of our own media; change within institutions of the legal profession and the crafting of grassroots campaigns; and change through empowerment of the individuals we serve and marginalized communities. The Law Union of Ontario sets as its mantra ‘agitate and litigate’ – this panel sets to explore how we can successfully agitate through non-litigation strategies.

Break-out Groups (4:30-5:15)
Group #1 – Campaigns
• Marcus McCann – Say No to Trinity Western Law Campaign
• Josephine Grey – Keep Neighbourhood Legal Clinics Campaign
• Jenna Meguid – Student Unionizing at Parkdale Community Legal Services

Group #2 – Empowering Communities
• Anthony Morgan – Falconers LLP
• Bryan Taguba – Paralegal and Kapit Bisig Centre
• Fathima Cader – Canadian Association of Muslim Women in Law

Concluding Remarks (5:15-6:30)
• Avvy Go – Metro Toronto Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
• Sibel Ataogul – Association des juristes progressistes in Quebec


Conference After-Party
Saturday, May 14, 2016, 8pm – 2am

At: The Abbey Bar & Grill
989 College St, Toronto, ON M6H 1A6, Canada (View on Google Maps)

Featuring food, drink, live music by The Jewstice League and karaoke!








Join us on Friday, May 8, and Saturday, May 9, 2015, for the Law Union of Ontario’s Annual Conference! The Law Union of Ontario’s Annual Conference brings progressive legal and activist communities together to discuss an exciting and challenging series of pressing issues.




FRIDAY Location: The Friday night event will be held at Friends House from 6:30-8 p.m. The address is 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto. Follow this link for a map of the exact location of the conference: http://www.torontoquakermeeting.org/contact.html

Accessibility: This facility is wheelchair accessible through the parking lot door (east side of the building through from the Bedford entrance) and childcare will be provided.

SATURDAY Location: All plenaries and panels on Saturday will be held at The Ryerson Student Centre from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. The address is 55 Gould Street, Toronto. Follow this link for a map of the exact location of the Saturday conference: http://ryersonstudentcentre.ca/contact/directions

Accessibility: This facility is wheelchair accessible and childcare will be provided. CART (Communication Access Real Time Translation) services will be provided for all plenaries and select panels.


CPD Accreditation: The Law Union Conference has been accredited for 30min Professionalism Content.  The Conference is also eligible for up to 9hr 15min Substantive Content.

Registration Fees: Suggested fees are:

$125 for lawyers/paralegals using the CPD hours

$50 for community members

Pay-what-you-can for all others




Childcare will be provided – please email us in advance at law.union.of.ontario@gmail.com with the number and ages of the children who will be attending.


Questions? Email us at lawunionofontario@gmail.com, and include “Conference” in the subject heading.


Occupy, Protest, Resist: Law Union of Ontario Conference 2012

What: Law Union of Ontario Conference: Occupy, Protest, Resist.

When: February 25, 2012 900AM-530PM (registration starts at 8:30 AM) (Click here for the Conference flyer)
Where: Victoria College* at the University of Toronto, from. (Click “Victoria College” for a Map of the Conference grounds with accessible paths highlighted)

Panels will discuss topics including the omnibus crime bill, the right to strike and back-to-work legislation, insights from the Insite decision, the Occupy movement, the place of politics in the courtroom, criminal justice issues affecting Aboriginal people, advocating for change in policing, the constitutionality of capacity and consent, and extractive industries and Indigenous peoples. Plenary sessions will also be held on the ethics of progressive lawyering (for which we anticipate LSUC professionalism credits will be available), and the legacy of Jack Layton. A networking lunch for students is also planned.

Child care will be available. The space is barrier-free. Should people require ASL interpretation or other forms of accommodation, please RSVP as soon as possible and before February 18 by email to law.union.of.ontario@gmail.com. It is our aim to have the 2012 conference accredited for CPD by the Law Society; if so, full day attendance will equal 6 hours of CPD for all members.

Costs will be $60 for professionals, PWYC for community members, $100 for those using the conference for CPD credit.

*Victoria College is located at 91 Charles St W, University of Toronto, Victoria College, Old Vic Bldg, 2nd floor, S side of Charles St W (just E of University Ave), 1st bldg S of Isabel Bader Theatre, a 30 second walk E from Museum subway station, across the street from the ROM.

Accreditation Information:

This program has been accredited by the Law Society for 1.75 Professionalism Hours
This program has been accredited by the Law Society for 7 New Member CPD Hours
There is also 5.25 substantive hours available to Experienced Members.

For more info or to contact us:



Twitter: @LawUnionOntario
Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/239223109486538/

Law Union of Ontario 2010 Annual General Meeting

Date: Thursday, October 14, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Friend’s Meeting House, 60 Lowther Avenue, Toronto


The Law Union of Ontario’s Annual General Meeting

The meeting is open to members and those interested in joining the Law Union.
The Steering Committee will update you on the projects with which we have been involved throughout the year. We will also look at what is planned for the coming year.

Elections will also be held for the Law Union’s new Steering Committee. If you plan to run for the Steering Committee, please send me a private e-mail, so that we can keep track and numbers (and know if we’ll need a “formal” election.) We encourage you to join the Steering Committee and otherwise get involved with our good causes. We are always in need of more people to work on the many projects.

Food and socializing to follow…details T.B.A.

We hope to see you there!!

Lawyers, law students, paralegals, law professors and other social activists in the legal field may join the Law Union and/or come to the meeting.