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Monday, October 3, 2016


The Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund is intervening in a case that will challenge provisions in the Indian Act.

In Gehl v Attorney General of Canada, Lynn Gehl is challenging a policy that says an applicant for status under the act can be rejected if he or she does not have their father listed on their birth certificate, as he is assumed to be non-Indian.

Critics say this policy discriminates on the basis of sex and marital status.

“Indigenous women are disproportionately targeted for sexual violence and they are disproportionately single parents living in poverty,” said LEAF’s legal director, Kim Stanton.

“An Indigenous mother should not be forced to choose between ensuring her child’s status (and the ensuing benefits) and a heightened risk of physical harm or social conflicts.”

The federal government denied the request by Gehl, who is an Algonquin-Anishinaabe woman, to register for “Indian status” under the act in 1994 because her grandfather was not registered on her mother’s birth certificate. Status provides access to benefits such as tax exemptions.


Legal Aid Ontario is expanding a pilot project to fund proceedings at the Ontario Court of Justice where a second judicial pre-trial has been scheduled.

The pilot will run until March 31, 2018 at 15 locations across Ontario. Lawyers can submit requests to obtain coverage on the Legal Aid Ontario website.

For more information, contact LAO’s lawyer service centre at 1-866-979-9934.


The Law Society of Upper Canada wants laypersons to be involved in all stages of the judicial discipline process.

The idea was one of a number of recommendations the law society has made in response to consultations the federal government is holding about the justice system.

The law society’s recommendations also included that the federal government base its new judicial appointments process on Ontario’s, which is led by an independent committee. The LSUC also asked the government to commit to specific timelines in which judicial vacancies will be filled.


Law Times recently reported that a new LSUC report on the barriers faced by racialized licensees recommends measures such as the LSUC doing an internal diversity assessment and providing equality and inclusion education to Convocation.

Readers were asked if they plan to read the report and support its recommendations.

About 67 per cent said yes, this report is a critical piece of insight on how to address the widespread barriers that racialized licensees face, and the recommendations can lead to important social change.

Another 33 per cent said no, they do not have plans to read the report and that this issue is very complex and needs more than the Law Society’s recommendations implemented to lead to meaningful social change.

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Law Times Poll

Lawyers have expressed concerns that of 38 justices of the peace the province appointed this summer, only 12 have law degrees. Do you think this is an issue?