Human Rights

Video: Cannabis and Housing one year after legalization

October 18th, 2019 by Iler Campbell

A recording of lawyer Michael Hackl’s presentation on cannabis and housing is now online. You can download a copy of the slideshow here. Workshop description below:

It has now been about a year since recreational cannabis was legalized. Some of the questions and concerns raised by housing providers leading up to that change were hard to answer as there was not yet any guidance from courts or tribunals as to how they would deal with such situations. While there are still issues that have not yet been tested before a court or tribunal, we do know more than we did a year ago. This session discusses some of the developments that have taken place since the legalization of cannabis, how some housing providers are dealing with questions, and what the past year of legalized cannabis means for housing providers moving forward.

Bill 21 allows tyranny of the majority to trump minority rights

September 27th, 2019 by Michael Hackl

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Earlier this week, Quebec’s Human Rights Commission released a 327-page report (a 32-page summary can be found here), documenting xenophobic and Islamophobic acts of hate. The commission found that crimes reported and classified as hate crimes have been on the rise across Canada over the past decade, and in Quebec the two most targeted groups in hate crimes reported to the police in 2017 were Muslims and Arabs (and 78 per cent of xenophobic or Islamophobic acts were not even reported to the police). Further, the respondents to the study had experienced an average of three xenophobic or Islamophobic acts, and 35 per cent of the victims said they had changed their lifestyle as a result of encountering acts of hate.

The report’s recommendations include taking steps to address systemic discrimination. Myrlande Pierre, vice‑president of the Quebec Human Rights Commission, stated: “Systemic or structural racism exists. Quebec is not exempt from this phenomenon.”

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Some positive steps, but more work needed to improve Canada’s prisons

August 29th, 2019 by Karly Wilson

This article was first published on rabble.ca 

If the allegations against American billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein were not alarming enough on their own, his story became even darker earlier this month when, on the morning of August 10, he was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York from an apparent suicide. His death dominated the news cycle, causing outcry across the political spectrum over the quality of the security at the prison, the frequency with which guards checked on his safety, and why he was taken off  suicide watch despite having an apparent attempt just weeks earlier. To those who have kept an eye on the American carceral system, however, this was a pretty typical day, just with more news coverage.

The varied and systemic problems with prisons in the U.S. are not new, and they are not improving. In the past year alone, the U.S. prison system has frequently been in the headlines, from investigations into the extreme violence in Alabama state prisons, to the weeks-long power outage this winter in Brooklyn, to the high-profile murder of South Boston mobster James (Whitey) Bulger during a routine transfer. Underfunded, filled-to-bursting from the effects of mandatory minimums in the war on drugs, and guarded by a handful of underpaid workers struggling to stay safe and make ends meet — the violence within U.S. prisons is as horrifying as it is unsurprising.

But what about Canada?

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Free legal workshop | Messy Human Dramas and how to navigate them in your co-op

July 31st, 2019 by Iler Campbell

Messy Human Dramas and how to navigate them in your co-op

You won’t want to miss this evening sponsored by Alterna Savings!

Meet your fellow housing co‑opers September 19th for a light dinner hosted at COCHF member, Shamrock Co‑op.

Then after dinner, Alia Abaya, Director, Community Impact and Member Experience at Alterna will discuss the Alterna Savings CHIP program offer for COCHF coop members, designed to support the continued future financial health of Co-operative Housing Communities.

Celia Chandler, lawyer at Iler Campbell LLP, will then lead you through fifteen common member situations in co‑ops: from accessibility issues to hoarding to smoking to kids to the “unco-operative co-oper” and everything in between!

The evening will conclude with a chance to ask questions of Alia and Celia about their presentations.

Sign up here

Client Profile: Women’s Community Co-operative Inc.

July 23rd, 2019 by Iler Campbell

A photo of Women’s Community Co-operative

Women’s Community Co-operative Inc. is a 46 unit mid-rise building in Hamilton. The co-op houses a diverse group of women, some of whom have lived there since the beginning, choosing to age in place and others who have joined more recently. They come from all walks of life and many corners of the world – in short, they are like every other housing co-op in 2019. Despite difference, they have all chosen co-operative living.

Managed by Niagara Peninsula Homes, Women’s came to our firm a couple of years ago to help resolve some interpersonal issues among its members. Like many of our clients, it seemed to the Women’s board that the co-op world had shifted from one where their by-laws were paramount and they could largely operate in isolation from the bigger world. Now there were obligations imposed on them from the outside that they didn’t understand. At the same time, their members were using language of human rights and harassment that made the board uneasy, afraid to ignore for fear of legal implications, but not sure how to respond. The Women’s Board and the co-op staff were routinely drawn into disputes and away from broader community concerns. Their meetings were filled with lengthy discussions about members’ complaints leaving little time for discussing building related issues, City relations, upcoming federation events, and so-on.

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Law Society elections send a message on diversity and it’s not what you’d hope

June 27th, 2019 by Shelina Ali

This article was first published on rabble.ca

The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) is once again facing a court challenge claiming that it has violated Section 2 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects the right to freedom of conscience, speech and religion. This court challenge follows the LSO’s successful defence of its decision to refuse to accredit the proposed law school at Trinity Western University (TWU) because of a requirement that attendees sign a covenant agreeing not to engage in homosexual activities. The LSO took the position that this prevented equal access to the legal profession in Ontario by excluding individuals who identified as LGBTQ.

The new battle relates to a Statement of Principles that the LSO requires lawyers to provide as of last year. It’s another example of the LSO attempting to enshrine principles of diversity, anti‑oppression and anti‑discrimination in a profession that is known for its lack of inclusiveness and diversity. In this case, the opposition to advancing these values is coming from other lawyers and is proving to be divisive for the governing council of the LSO — the democratically elected body that oversees its governance Read the rest of this entry