Posts Tagged ‘Pro Bono column’

Medically assisted death in Canada: Reflections on the process

January 31st, 2019 by Celia Chandler

Celia Chandler with her partner Jack Sikorski in 2018. Photo: Kate O’Connor/Sweetheart Empire

Iler Campbell’s Pro Bono column for rabble.ca (where this article was first published in three parts) is no stranger to the issue of medical assistance in death (MAID). We have contributed to the discussion a number of times in the last four years.

What is new is that I can now provide a firsthand account of a medically assisted death. At 6 p.m. on Monday, November 19, 2018, surrounded by his closest family, my husband, Jack Sikorski, consented to a medically assisted death. Jack’s cancer had progressed and his quality of life was greatly diminished; he was grateful for the choice to prevent further suffering and die on his own terms, as he had lived. And I am profoundly grateful, too.

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Police technology vs. civil liberties — science fiction or current reality?

September 27th, 2018 by Michael Hackl

I enjoy reading science fiction, especially when it considers humanity’s struggle to deal with new technologies. Often these stories present a cautionary tale about how new technologies can be misused to oppress people. This idea of science fiction as cautionary tales was summed up by author Ray Bradbury, who wrote: “The function of science fiction is not only to predict the future, but to prevent it.”

One of my favourite science fiction writers is Philip K. Dick, who wrote a number of these cautionary tales. One of them, “The Minority Report” (which you may know instead as a Tom Cruise movie — the short story is better) presented a future where police did not investigate crimes that had occurred; instead, the “PreCrime” unit stops crimes before they occur, based on predictions from precognitive mutants.

Reality imitates fiction

So imagine my surprise when I came upon an article discussing police use of a computer program called PredPol (short for predictive policing) to identify areas that are more likely to experience crimes and to direct police resources to those areas. Read the rest of this entry

The Law Society is flirting with the idea of doing away with articling. Should it?

July 26th, 2018 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

One hundred thirty-seven — yes, that’s right: 137. And last year, 150!

These are the number of applicants we received for one articling position for the period July 2019 to May 2020. For readers not in law in Ontario, articling is a 10-month work placement under the supervision of a lawyer. Completing articles is a condition to practising law in Ontario.

The competition for securing articles is so intense that the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) has explored alternatives and is flirting with the idea of giving up on articling altogether.

Bad idea. We don’t want to lose an important training ground for progressive lawyers. Our law firm, Iler Campbell LLP, is unusual as a place where young lawyers can gain experience working for non‑profits, charities, co‑ops, social enterprise and the like. We see hiring articling students as an obligation to the legal profession and to the progressive organizations that we serve. Our tagline is “A law firm for those who want to make the world a little bit better.” Articling here and in other like‑minded firms helps build a cadre of advocates for that better world.

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Charities now free to engage in non-partisan political activities

July 20th, 2018 by Brian Iler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

Charities are now free to engage in non-partisan political activities.

That’s the explicit message of the Ontario Superior Court in its decision this week.

What a huge relief to those many charities that suffered through Stephen Harper’s politically motivated Canada Revenue Agency audits!

While Justin Trudeau promised reform, and suspended action on those audits, he has yet to deliver reform.

But the court did.

The application to the court was brought by a small charity, Canada Without Poverty, after Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) threatened to take away its charitable registration, alleging that virtually all of its activities involved political engagement.

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Social finance: Challenges for its legal regulation

June 28th, 2018 by Ted Hyland

This article was first published on rabble.ca.

Last month, the Senate Standing Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology issued a report entitled The Federal Role in a Social Finance Fund. The Committee’s recommendations included the federal government creating and contributing to a national social finance fund. This recommendation, among others from the Committee, aligns with, for example, the social enterprise strategy of the Ontario government.

For all of the optimism percolating through the Senate report and Ontario’s strategy there is the challenge of how to reconcile two dynamics that historically have been opposed: the private interest for profit and the common interest for public benefit. Social finance is about harnessing capital and the forces of the market to solve social problems. It’s about commercializing social, environmental and cultural problems that traditionally were addressed by government as part of an overall goal of wealth redistribution and creation and protection of public goods. Social finance represents a shift: addressing these problems is an opportunity for wealth creation, as well as doing good. Read the rest of this entry

Size as a human right in a #MeToo world

March 5th, 2018 by Celia Chandler

This article was first published on rabble.ca

In May 2017, Quebec court judge Jean-Paul Braun decided on a case in which a 17-year-old young woman was sexually assaulted by a cab driver. Justice Braun said, “you could say she’s a little overweight, but she has a pretty face, huh?” and went on to suggest that perhaps the victim was a “little flattered” by the sexual attention, implying that her size made her unattractive to most men.

We’re living in a time when sexual assault and fat‑shaming are both concepts receiving a lot of attention. While sexual assault has dominated headlines and those headlines appear to be affecting behaviour and in some cases, laws, a larger discussion of fat‑shaming hasn’t quite broken through to the mainstream in the same way.

In Canada, size is still an acceptable basis for discrimination, not protected by human rights legislation. It ought to be. And in certain lights, the two issues are different sides of the same (sexist) coin.

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