2017 SOAR MEDAL WINNERS
Lawyers Lilian Ma and Avvy Go have won the 2017 SOAR Medal. The annual award from the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators recognizes outstanding contributions to the province’s administrative justice community.
Go, a bencher at the Law Society of Upper Canada, is the clinic director of the Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and has worked in the administrative justice sector in a number of different capacities, from litigant to adjudicator. In 2014, she received the Order of Ontario.
Go says she was taken by surprised when she was told she had won the SOAR medal.
“I will try to live up to the honour by continuing my work to remove barriers in accessing the administrative tribunal for all marginalized communities including racialized and immigrant communities,” Go said in an email. Ma is the executive director of the Canadian Race Relations Foundation and has had an impressive career in administrative justice, having served as chairwoman of the Landlord and Tenant Board.
“In her role as chair and member of several CCAT committees, Dr. Ma brought attention to key areas where the administrative justice system was failing applicants and then led the development of tools to build excellence in these areas,” said Marilyn McNamara, the vice president of the Council of Canadian Administrative Tribunals.
GOVERNMENT RELEASES STATS
Of the 74 new judges appointed across Canada over the last year, just three were indigenous. The information was part of new demographic data the federal government released on judicial applicants and appointees.
The government pledged in Oct. 2016 that it would collect and publish such statistics. In the following year, it received 997 applications total and assessed 441 of those candidates. Just four of the 74 appointed came from the LGBTQ2 community, nine are visible minorities and 15 belong to an “ethnic/cultural group or other.”
LSUC BENCHERS REJECT EXEMPTION
The Law Society of Upper Canada’s governing board rejected a motion that would have given conscientious objectors an exemption to the regulator’s statement of principles requirement.
Bencher Joe Groia put forward the motion, which was defeated by a vote of 38-16. The benchers who voted in favour of the motion were Robert Armstrong, Peter Beach, Christopher Bredt, Seymour Epstein, Joe Groia, Carol Hartman, David Howell, Vern Krishna, Jeffrey Lem, Michael Lerner, Marian Lippa, Virginia MacLean, Harvey Strosberg, Sidney Troister, Jerry Udell and Anne Vespry.
LAW TIMES POLL
Some lawyers say the pending centralization of Toronto’s satellite provincial courts to a new courthouse downtown will make accessing the justice system more difficult. Readers were asked if they agree.
Roughly 79 per cent of respondents said yes, amalgamating all the locations into one downtown courthouse will not help lawyers or their clients.
The remaining 21 per cent said no, centralizing all courthouses will improve efficiency for everyone.