SABA Survey

As you are aware SABA-Toronto is a chapter organization of our umbrella organization SABA-North America. SABA-North America wants to make sure it is doing its very best to serve our membership. This year, it has launched a short annual survey to get feedback from our membership. Your input is valued and we encourage you to respond to the survey by connecting to the following link:

Thanks in advance for your participation!

SABA Statement re Minister MacKay’s Recent Comments on Judicial Diversity

The  South  Asian  Bar  Association  of  Toronto notes with concern certain comments reported by the Toronto Star (in an article entitled “Peter MacKay tries  to explain lack of diversity on federal courts” dated June 18, 2014) as  made  by Minister Peter MacKay with respect to the lack of diversity in federal  courts  and  the  Government of Canada’s attempts to address the issue.

The  South  Asian  Bar  Association  of  Toronto  believes that the federal judiciary  in Canada does not adequately represent the diversity of lawyers and  litigants  that  appear  before  the  courts.  Judicial  diversity  is important  to  ensure  that  litigants  believe  that  the  judicial system adequately  reflects  their  background  and concerns. Mr. McKay’s comments reveal  a  narrow  view  of  diversity – one that focusses on gender issues alone.  Further, Mr. MacKay’s statements cannot be verified or tested given the lack of transparency in the system of judicial appointments.

The  present cultural fabric of Canada, its commitment to multiculturalism, and a need for appreciation of cultural nuances demand that the individuals given  the  responsibility  to  interpret  our  laws  and apply them to our citizens  represent  and reflect the multiculturalism of this country.

The South  Asian  Bar  Association of Toronto urges the Government of Canada to seriously  consider  the issue of diversity in judicial appointments and to take  concrete  steps  to  address the lack of transparency and concomitant lack of diversity therein.


SABA’s Annual General Meeting of its Members has been called for July 16, 2014.

This year, there are three (3) open spots on the Board of Directors. In the event that more than three (3) Members are nominated for Director positions, Members will vote at the AGM, to determine, among other items, the composition of the next Board of Directors for SABA.

Nominations are now being accepted until July 7, 2014. Candidates must submit a Statement of Interest, which will be made available on SABA’s website in order to permit Members to make informed decisions.  For more information on the nomination process, please click here.

An Appeal on behalf of Justine Manjusha Pawagi

Note from SABA Board: Justice Pawagi of the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton has reached out to the South Asian community in the hopes that we will consider getting swabbed for Stem Cell Donations.  Visit for details. There are numerous swabbing events around, and you can find out more information here as well.

This is my plea to members of the South Asian community between the ages of 17 and 35 to register on the stem cell registry. All it takes to register is giving a cheek swab. If you are a match, and you consent, all it takes is making a blood donation. You could save someone’s life. Since it is difficult to think of saving people in the abstract, I would like to put a human face on it and describe my life as one that you could save.

I was born in India and grew up in Toronto. I have spent most of my life working with children. I was a lawyer for the Children’s Aid and then for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, representing children caught in custody disputes. In 2009, I was appointed a Family Court Judge in Brampton. It has been my honour and privilege to preside there for the past five years and I have come to know and love the community there so that Brampton feels as much a home as Toronto. Before starting my legal career I wrote a children’s book called The Girl Who Hated Books. I still do readings at schools and lead discussions with children about writing and editing which I enjoy very much.

I have the most loving and devoted husband and 11-year-old twins, one boy and one girl. They, too, are budding writers and know that it is all about the detail. For instance, they never wish me generic hugs and kisses on Mother’s Day, it is always something specific. This past Mother’s Day which we spend in the cancer ward at Sunnybrook Hospital, my son wrote that, among other things, he loved me because I cuddle him, read to him every morning and every night, take him amazing places and give him neat ideas.

And they have been doing this since they were small. When my daughter was only 6 she wrote a story for me for Mother’s Day that told how I got the twins. It turns out I won them in a loveliness contest. I loved this story because it showed that she felt so secure and loved that there was no doubt in her mind that she and her brother were a prize to be won.

I also have loving parents and an amazing brother. My mother has been such a help to me while I have been in hospital this past month that it made me realize that I am 47 and still need my mother desperately. So I am absolutely determined not to leave my children when they are only 11. You can help me, or someone like me, by joining the registry.

With deepest gratitude,

Manjusha Pawagi

2013 SABA Gala

Pictures of the 2013 SABA Gala are now available.

President’s Message

Dear SABA members, friends, and potential members,

Welcome to the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto, the leading voice for members of the South Asian Bar in Toronto. It is my pleasure, as President of this organization, to introduce you to SABA, welcome you into our family, and encourage you to get involved with and for the South Asian legal community in Toronto and the GTA.

SABA was founded in 2005 by a group of dedicated volunteers who recognized the need for a voice on behalf of the South Asian legal community. Since then, SABA has witnessed prolific growth, received accolades and positioned itself as an influential organization within the legal community. Our strength lies in our numbers, our individual and collective successes, and above all, our ability to serve as a nucleus and forum for South Asian legal professionals.

SABA is involved in various initiatives that respond to the needs of its diverse membership. We offer a platform for networking with legal and other professionals, advocate on behalf of our membership, serve as a resource for job-seekers and NCA candidates, organize continuing legal education workshops and seminars to enhance skills required in the profession, and administer a volunteer-run mentorship program for our members. Notably, SABA has been actively advocating for better representation of minorities and the South Asian community in judicial and quasi-judicial positions. Whether you are a student or lawyer, a new or experienced member of the Bar, SABA welcomes you into its community and at the same time, invites your valuable contribution towards its initiatives.

SABA is proud to be associated with its many sponsors within and outside the legal profession, particularly our patron sponsor, Scotiabank. It is with their support that we have made great strides and continue to do so.

I encourage you to join SABA. As President, it will be my pleasure to welcome you and to involve you. I look forward to meeting you at our next event. In the meantime, please email me at I would love to hear from you.

Warm Regards,

Jayashree Goswami

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