Fraser Advocacy: Our Decade in Review

This year Fraser Advocacy will celebrate it’s 20th year. In our holiday card, we put out our 2020 Vision: Peace, Joy & Justice. We’re also looking back on our best decade yet where our work changed lives and law and social policy. We’re pleased to be able to serve many people and organization in a variety before a variety tribunals.  Here are some highlights of the decade of things we can talk about:

2010: Boom! Supreme Court of Canada releases R. v. Conway, 2010 SCC 22 which made Charter relief accessible before administrative tribunals. We brought the original application before the Ontario Review Board.

2011: We act for the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth at an inquest into the death of a mother and three of her young children. We continue the work on behalf of the Child Advocate at an inquest into the death of young person in custody.

Youth Leaving Care Hearings: Children and Youth in care from across the province descend upon the Ontario Legislature (“their house” as the Clerk called it when she welcomed them) to address the issues faced by youth leaving care. We witnessed all of the moving and compelling testimony of the youth.

2013: We act for the Provincial Advocate for Children and Youth at the inquest into the death of Jeffrey Baldwin. Inquest fuels the push for fundamental change in child welfare.

Also: Bill C-54 introduced by the Government of Canada. We argue that the legislature stigmatizes people in the forensic mental health system perpetuating myths and stereotypes. The Bill eventually passes in 2014.

2014: Teaching! Suzan takes on an Instructor Contract Position teaching Mental Health Policy and Health Equity for Faculty of Health Science and the Critical Disability Studies Program at York University - Spring Session 2014

2015: We secure the release of a man under the jurisdiction of the Ontario Review Board on appeal to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

2016:  We act at the Inquest into the death of Katelynn Sampson. The jury makes 173 recommendations and the Government moves to introduce child welfare reform in 2017.

2017: Divisional Court releases decision in a mandamus application we brought to compel the Director of ODSP to follow a direction of the Social Benefits Tribunal and reinstate benefits. Our client wins!

2018: The Mega-Year: We act as counsel at the Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls for a group of 20 families and as co-counsel at the Inquiry into the Safety and Security of Long-Term Care. As those come to a close, we close 2018 by representing the family of Bradley Chapman at the inquest into his death leading to calls for a public health response to the drug poisoning crisis.

And – the Government announces plans to close the Child Advocate’s Office. Suzan responds with an op-ed in the Globe and Mail.

2019: The Honourable Justice Gillese releases her report into Long-Term Care. We set out our hopes for the report in an op-ed in the Toronto Star.

We are added to RefertoHer™ and participate as a mentor at the Advocate’s Society Women in Litigation Symposium.

And - I meet Masai Ujiri - he touches my phone!

2020 brings our 20th anniversary and new challenges for our clients. We have lots of worries about what the cuts to Legal Aid Ontario and elimination of the Child Advocate means for Ontario’s most vulnerable. We’re going to keep working on pursuing our vision!