Tag Archives: METRAC

Today: METRAC at Osgoode (Tamar Witelson & Joanna Hayes)

METRAC4thFebJoin us today for the second in this IFLS series

Community, connections, commitment: Conversations at Osgoode
Tamar Witelson & Joanna Hayes of METRAC
Tuesday February 4th 1230-230 in Osgoode Hall 2027 (Faculty Lounge)

Legal Director Tamar Witelson & Legal Information Coordinator Joanna Hayes work for one of Toronto’s most dynamic and community engaged agencies. METRAC is a non-profit committed to the rights of women and children to live their lives free of violence and the threat of violence. METRAC also has not one but TWO legal information websites: Ontario Women’s Justice Network (OWJN) www.owjn.org and Family Law Education for Women (FLEW) www.onefamilylaw.ca
Joanna & Tamar will discuss the work METRAC does, how they work together, their career paths, and what working in the not-for-profit sector is like. Poster available here.

From our last session, with Farrah Khan and Deepa Mattoo (click here for more)

I really enjoyed today’s conversation. It was one of the best lunch hour talks I have been to at Osgoode. I appreciated the nuance, sensitivity, and palpable commitment Farrah and Deepa exhibited towards their advocacy and work. (Osgoode 3L)
It’s so rare to hear dialogue that’s both interesting and truly candid. I felt like I got a real glimpse into the work they’re doing, and what is at stake in current feminist legal activism. It also helped me think about what the current needs are in Toronto, and how I could envision responding to them. (Osgoode 1L)

Joanna Hayes is a lawyer and the Legal Information Coordinator for METRAC’s Community Justice Program, where she is responsible for developing and delivering accessible legal information and public legal education for women and youth affected by violence. She has a varied legal background, having worked in many social justice and public interest legal organizations with a focus on immigrant and refugee rights, women’s rights, and increasing access to justice. Before joining METRAC, she articled with the Ministry of the Attorney General, where she assisted counsel at the Ministry of Labour with prosecutions under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Employment Standards Act. Joanna has worked at the Office of the Integrity Commissioner of Ontario providing legal research and policy recommendations on whistleblowing legislation. She has also done legal work in Kenya to increase access to justice for marginalized groups and in South Africa with respect to the rights of women and girls, intimate partner violence and sexual offences.

Tamar Witelson is the Legal Director at METRAC, heading METRAC’s Community Justice Program, which develops and delivers in-person, online and printed legal information and education to community support workers, and to women who have experienced abuse and violence. Tamar develops and delivers training, and has presented at seminars and conferences about human rights and diversity issues. Tamar’s legal background has spanned the public and private spheres, with a focus on equality and human rights law. Before joining METRAC, Tamar was staff lawyer at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), where she launched an equality rights website for legal news and analysis. She has served as Counsel at the Constitutional Law Branch of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General, and as Counsel at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, working on the transition to the Tribunal’s current direct access model. She also had a private practice in union-side labour and human rights law, following her Clerkship at the Supreme Court of Canada. Before becoming a lawyer, Tamar worked for twelve years in television news, political and current affairs.

KhanMattoo21jan

Community, connections, commitment: Conversations at Osgoode

 

This semester we are bringing some of the people who do front line work with gender issues in Toronto to Osgoode.   Join us for these discussions about work, careers, challenges and choices (each with one lawyer and one “non lawyer”) – we will leave plenty of time for your questions.  Tuesday Jan 21 and Tues Feb 4, 1230-230.

Tuesday January 21 1230-230 in 2027

Farrah Khan & Deepa Mattoo

Hear Deepa Mattoo (staff lawyer at South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario) & Farrah Khan (counselor at the Barbra Schlifer Clinic for women who have experienced violence, artist, and educator) talk about their work with women in the GTA’s South Asian communities, advocacy inside and outside the community, research, media strategies, and negotiating complicated spaces between xenophobic racism and community silencing. How did these women find their way to exciting and meaningful careers? What sustains them in their work? Come & find out.

pdf poster here: KhanMattoo21jan

 

KhanMattoo21jan

 

 

Tuesday February 4th 1230-230 in 2027, join IFLS

Tamar Witelson & Joanna Hayes

Legal Director Tamar Witelson & Legal Information Coordinator Joanna Hayes work for one of Toronto’s most dynamic and community engaged agencies. METRAC is a non-profit committed to the rights of women and children to live their lives free of violence and the threat of violence. They will discuss the work METRAC does, how they work together, their career paths, and what working in the not-for-profit sector is like.

PDF poster here:  METRAC4thFeb

 

METRAC4thFeb

 

 

More talkback: METRAC to Wente

I was blissfully unaware of this helpful Margaret Wente column published recently: Rape on Campus: is it an epidemic?

until I saw a response on the METRAC (Metropolitan Action Committee on Public Violence Against Women and Children) blog (Megaphone Diaries) written by Legal Director Tamar Witelson:

METRAC has been conducting our United Nations’ endorsed Safety Audit on Canadian campuses for nearly 25 years, and has identified many reasons why sexual assault is endemic in the campus environment. These include:

      1. there is a high number of women in an identified community, and they are most often targeted for assault;
      2. there is a disproportionately high number of people under the age of 25 in that community and young people, especially young women, are at higher risk of experiencing assault;
      3. a significant number of people make campuses their home and sexual assault happens in “home settings” in high rates;
      4. excessive alcohol and chemical substance use are common features of campus life and that can add to abuse dynamics; and
      5. student life lends itself to study and social activities late at night and campuses often have many unmonitored, deserted, poorly lit areas ill-designed for safety, especially safety for women and other groups at high risk of abuse.

more

I can pretty much guarantee more on the blog on similar topics in the near future, so stay tuned.

Schlifer, METRAC, LEAF Submission to the Parliamentary Committee re Bill C31

 

These changes, considered cumulatively, remove the ability of a significant number of women who come to Canada with their abusers and rely on the abuser’s refugee claim while living under his power and control, to have their risk of persecution assessed at all. The lives of many women will be put at risk and Canada’s reputation as a safe haven of gender equality will be severely undermined.

Read the full submission here:

Submission of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, The Metropolitan Action Committee on Violence Against Women and Children (METRAC), and the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Immigration regarding the Committee’s review of Bill C-31
April 24, 2012

 

Bedford-2

Sex work/workers in Canada after Bedford: watch our Nov.24 event

Along with METRAC/OWJN, the IFLS held a panel discussion on November 24 in order to ask “how we might map out the way that this case shifts the debate and the context of the debate around sex work in Canada”.

The whole session was taped – so if you couldn’t make it, here it is, in streamed video.  If you want to hear from only one of our speakers, you can hear their presentation by scrolling below and clicking on their photo.

Thanks to the generous and talented Manori Ravindran (Journalism/Ryerson) for the photos.  The introduction to the session is here.

click for video

“Public policy has to  do a lot more than just express simple moral preferences.” – Alan Young

click for video

“There has to be a voice given to those most vulnerable.” -Christa Big Canoe


Click for video

“…often times the laws and regulations which can make it much more precarious and sort of de facto push people into working [outdoors]….”

-Emily van der Meulen


Click for video

Questions from the audience.


More information about the presenters:


Christa Big Canoe, B.A., J.D. is a First Nation Anishinabe Kwe feminist lawyer from Georgina Island First Nation in southern Ontario. She received her B.A. from the University of Calgary and graduated from the University of Toronto Law School in 2005. Christa is a recipient of the Dr. Ralph Steinhauer Award presented by the First Nations Student Association and The Native Centre of the University of Calgary, and the Alberta Aboriginal Women’s Esquao Award. She articled and worked with Nahwegahbow, Corbiere, an all First Nations law firm prior to becoming Policy Counsel for Legal Aid Ontario. Christa is passionate about parenthood, First Nations and women’s rights. She is a feminist lawyer with goals of promoting access to justice for Aboriginal women and people.

Emily van der Meulen
is a community-based researcher and Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Center for
Research on Inner City Health at St. Michael’s Hospital.  She holds a supplementary Post-Doctoral Fellowship
with the Comparative Program on Health and Society, Munk School of Global Affairs and is a 2010-2011 Visiting Fellow in the Lillian S. Robinson Scholars Program at the Simone de Beauvoir Institute. She completed her doctoral studies at York University where she conducted an action research project that examined the relationship between Canadian policy and sex workers’ ability to organize for improved labour, health, and human rights under criminalization. She has been involved with Maggie’s: The Toronto Sex Workers Action Project for over four years.
Alan Young is Co-Founder and Director of Osgoode’s Innocence Project, which involves LLB students in the investigation of suspected cases of wrongful conviction and imprisonment. Between 1998 and 2000 he played an integral part in compelling the federal government to take action to recognize the medicinal value of marijuana. He has represented countless numbers of people suffering from AIDS, cancer and multiple sclerosis who had been charged as a result of using marijuana for medicinal purposes. In addition to his work in the area of consensual crime, Professor Young has also provided free legal services to victims of violent crime and to individuals attempting to sue the government for malicious prosecution. He is the author of Justice Defiled: Perverts, Potheads, Serial Killers and Lawyers (Toronto: Key Porter, 2003).