Monday, April 5, 2010

The City of Thunder Bay has recognized two daredevil lawyers from the area with one of its highest honours.

David Shannon and Christopher Watkins were named Citizens of Exceptional Achievement for their human rights work.

Shannon made history last summer when he became the first quadriplegic to reach the North Pole.
The pair, who style themselves Team Independence, placed a wheelchair accessible parking sign at the Pole as part of their campaign to raise awareness for disability issues.

They followed that up in November with a high-altitude skydive from more than 8,000 metres.

Cunningham Swan Carty Little & Bonham LLP has announced the recruitment of Alan Whyte, the former vice chairman of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, to the firm.

Whyte becomes a partner at the Kingston, Ont., firm, joining its labour and employment law group after two years at the tribunal.

Managing partner Tim Wilkin welcomed the extensive mediation experience Whyte gained from his time at the tribunal.

“Alan is a seasoned labour and employment lawyer with over 25 years’ experience,” Wilkin said. “I’m pleased that our clients in both the public and private sectors will now be able to draw upon his broad range of skills.”

It’s a homecoming of sorts for Whyte, who completed his undergraduate studies at Queen’s University in 1976 before receiving a law degree from the same school three years later.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson has made Justice Andromache Karakatsanis the newest appointment to the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Karakatsanis moves up from the Superior Court of Justice, where she has been a judge since November 2002.

She will replace Justice Susan Lang, who left the appeal court in January to become a supernumerary judge.

Since graduating from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1980, Justice Karakatsanis has held a number of senior public service positions in Ontario.

She spent several years at the Liquor Licence Board of Ontario and also served as deputy attorney general of Ontario, a post she held for three years from 1997 to 2000.

National mobility for lawyers made another leap forward with the official signing of the Quebec mobility agreement late last month.

The latest development adds another facet to the 2002 national mobility agreement. It allows members of the Barreau du Québec to practise in Ontario and other common law jurisdictions as Canadian legal advisers.

Lawyers from common law jurisdictions have had the equivalent recognition in Quebec since June 2008.
Law societies across the country have already begun adopting the rules.

“The success of the mobility initiatives shows how all law societies in Canada have worked together in the public interest. In this case, it represents more options for the consumer in accessing the legal system,” said John Campion, president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.

At the official signing ceremony, he said he was already looking ahead to the next step in lawyer mobility by opening up access to members of the Chambre des Notaires du Québec, which regulates the 3,500 notaries in the province.

The Skyservice Cabin Crew Association has retained Koskie Minsky LLP to represent its interests after Skyservice Airlines Inc. went into receivership on March 31.

The charter airline said it was shutting down operations after a petition by lead creditor Thomas Cook was granted.

The association said it had worked with the company to find $10 million in savings, but it wasn’t enough to stop the company’s slide into debt.

Many of the SCCA’s members have been with the airline since it was founded in 1994 and the association expressed the “deep sadness” of its members in a statement.
“For us, this last chapter is a tragedy,” it said. 

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