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


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

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.