For Immediate Release, August 13, 2019

The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA) welcomes the announcement made by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to commit to a one-time legal aid top up of $26.8 million for legal aid in Ontario to maintain
programming cut by the current Ontario Government.

The federal government is also allocating funds to other provinces, namely $1.16 million to British Columbia and $20,000 to Manitoba. This funding is on top of the $49.6 million allocated over three years for immigration and refugee legal aid that was announced by the federal government in this year’s federal budget.

Earlier this summer, SABA President Aaron Bains with board member and Co-Chair of the Advocacy Committee Sunira Chaudhri met with Minister of Justice David Lametti and his staff to discuss issues affecting vulnerable Canadians, including cuts to legal aid in Ontario. Aaron Bains and then Secretary (now Vice-President) Divya Khurana also met with staff at the Justice Department to discuss legal aid issues in Ottawa this past July.

Earlier this year, Ontario’s current conservative government cut Legal Aid Ontario’s budget by 30 per cent ($133 million), which included eliminating all funding for refugee and immigration law services. The one-time contribution by the federal government is to assist in refugee and immigration cases. Prime Minister Trudeau has stated that discussions will continue over the next year in order to maintain the services: “We will engage in reflection and conversations in the coming year about how to ensure long-term sustainability for legal aid for refugees and immigrants.”

 

South Asian Bar Association of Toronto
sabatoronto@gmail.com

ANNOUNCEMENT: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING, NEW BOARD OF DIRECTORS, NEW BOARD EXECUTIVE, AND STUDENT RECOGNITION AWARDS – August 1, 2019

TORONTO, ONTARIO – The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto (SABA Toronto) held their Annual General Meeting on July 31, 2019. During the meeting, new board members and a new executive were also elected. SABA also recognized its Student Recognition Award Winners during this meeting.

 SABA Board of Directors, 2019-2020

 The 2019-2020 Board of Directors in alphabetical order per last name are as follows:

Sona Advani
Aarondeep Bains
Sunira Chaudhri
Ron Choudhury
Monty Dhaliwal
Amandeep Dhillon
Divya Khurana
Melissa Krishna
Sarah Malik
Ashok Menen
Richa Sandill
Janani Shanmuganathan
Jasmine Singh
Annie Tayyab
Ajith Thiyagalingam

 

SABA Toronto would like to thank all the outgoing Board members for their leadership and work.

 SABA Board Executive

 Aarondeep Bains of Aird & Berlis LLP has been re-elected as the President of the South Asian Bar Association of Toronto. “I look forward to working with our strong board and leading SABA Toronto as we work on important advocacy and diversity issues facing racialised licensees during the next year,” said Bains.

Divya Khurana has been elected as Vice-President,  Jasmine Singh appointed as Treasurer, and Sarah Malik elected as Secretary.

 
SABA Student Recognition Award Winners

SABA Toronto would also like to congratulate our Student Recognition Award Winners: Mohena Singh from Osgoode Hall Law School at York University, Uttra Gautam from the University of Ottawa, and Anisha Bhardwaj from the University of Windsor. All award winners were selected due to their outstanding contributions to their schools, SALSA Chapters, local communities, and outstanding academic achievements.


About SABA Toronto

The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto is the GTA’s premier legal organization dedicated to promoting the objectives of South Asian members of the legal profession. Members of SABA Toronto include lawyers that self-identify as South Asian or are of South Asian origin, and lawyers that advocate on issues of relevance to the South Asian community. Our membership is dynamic, ever-expanding and includes lawyers from large and small law firms, sole practitioners, government agencies and departments, nonprofit organizations, and corporations. Members of the judiciary, academics and law students also form an integral part of SABA Toronto.

 South Asian Bar Association of Toronto

sabatoronto@gmail.com

May 28 – LSO Asian-South Asian Heritage Month Event

SABA will be coming together with the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) for our annual Asian and South Asian Heritage Month celebration on May 28, 2019. Join us and a panel of distinguished speakers at the LSO’s Osgoode Hall at 5:30 on this day to discuss the power and drawbacks of social media as a tool for unity.

The evening will start with a panel discussion with the following speakers:

1) Aaron Bains, President of SABA 

2) Paul Jonathan Saguil, AVP at TD

3) Philip Mai, Director of business and communications at the Ryerson University Social Media Lab

It will then be followed by an evening reception at 7PM. Registration is free, but space is limited. Click here to register and for more details. We look forward to seeing you there!

Join SABA at Osgoode’s Internationally Trained Lawyers Day

Join us June 12th at Osgoode’s 2019 Internationallt Trained Lawyers Day. We’ll be speaking on a joint panel with other diversity associations about the “Role of NCA Candidates in Creating a Diverse and Inclusive Profession”.

At Internationally Trained Lawyers Day, you will learn how to incorporate internationally trained talent into your firm’s recruitment efforts and meet candidates with impressive legal backgrounds, diverse experiences and exciting new perspectives to your team.

The “Session for Legal Employers” is eligible for 60 minutes of EDI Professionalism CPD.

Association members get 10% off ticket prices for the day using the promo code ITL-10.

Register at: http://bit.ly/2ZQLoXV

Press release: April 23, 2019 – LAO Cuts

For Immediate Release, April 23, 2019
LAO Cuts
As part of the recently released Provincial budget, the Ontario Government has announced a $133 million decrease in Legal Aid funding. This is a significant cut and amounts to approximately 30% of Legal Aid Ontario’s annual funding. While the government is yet to provide further details of where the cuts will be aimed, the government has confirmed that it will be eliminating its entire funding for immigration and refugee services, which receive approximately $13-$16 million dollars each year.
SABA Toronto strongly opposes these cuts. We are concerned about the disproportionate impact that these cuts will have on low income communities across the province, including South Asians, who rely on this funding to seek access to justice. These cuts could mean a significant reduction in front-line Legal Aid services that play crucial roles in supporting vulnerable communities. It is distressing that these cuts target immigrant and refugee communities which make up some of the most disadvantaged and helpless members of our population. Providing them with no recourse to Legal Aid creates a risk that these members will be unable to access the justice system and obtain even basis level legal services.
SABA Toronto will be closely monitoring the cuts to Legal Aid and will be working to advocate against the disproportionate impact on marginalized and ethnic communities. We call on all of our allies and community partners to do the same and to unite in their commitment to ensure access to justice for all Ontarians regardless of their socioeconomic background.

Press Release: April 5th, 2019

For Immediate Release, April 5, 2019

The Quebec legislature recently tabled Bill 21 – An Act respecting the laicity of the State. If passed, this legislation would prohibit public servants in positions of authority from wearing any kind of religious symbols. This would include police officers, judges, prosecutors and school teachers. The South Asian Bar Association of Toronto is strongly opposed to the enactment of this legislation. Bill 21 was proposed by the Quebec Minister of Immigration, Diversity and Inclusion in the spirit of secularism. However, Bill 21 is far from inclusive as the legislation appears to be specifically targeted at certain communities, including Muslims and Sikhs who wear turbans and head scarves as part of the practice of their respective religions. Even though the legislation applies to all public servants, these two communities will face particular disproportionate effects. Additionally, we are concerned that similar legislation may ultimately influence private sector employment laws and that in the interim Bill 21, will justify discriminatory hiring / employment policies that may be adopted by private sector employers.

The Quebec government has invoked the notwithstanding clause to implement Bill 21 which will allow the legislation to override the religious freedoms and protections guaranteed by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. While the notwithstanding clause is a fundamental aspect of Canadian federalism, it is most concerning when this clause appears to be used to implement a blatant attack on the religious freedoms of many minorities.

At SABA Toronto we respect all religions and everyone’s right to express their religious beliefs. SABA Toronto will continue to defend religious freedom and diversity in our communities and in workplaces across Canada. 

 

Press Release: March 15th, 2019

For Immediate Release, March 15, 2019

At least 49 people were killed and 20 seriously injured in a mass shooting that occurred in New Zealand, in the City of Christchurch today. The attack took place at two local mosques. SABA Toronto condemns this heinous act of terrorism. We pray for those who have been killed in this attack and for those who are undergoing treatment for their injuries. We stand with Muslim communities across the world at this difficult time and with all of those who face violence for their religion, race and diversity.

While this attack occurred far from Canada, it is a reminder that hate and violence continue to be propagated on minority communities. Hate crimes against minorities and especially Muslim communities continue to occur across the world and have increased in Canada over the last four years. Only two years ago we were faced with similar violence in Canada when a gunman attacked worshippers at the Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City, a mosque in the Sainte-Foy neighbourhood of Quebec City.

At SABA Toronto we stand to defend religious freedom and diversity in our communities. We work to protect all who are affected by acts of hatred, violence and discrimination.

Aaron Bains
President SABA Toronto

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