Chair's Report 2010-2011

Posted on Friday, December 30, 2011

As set out in the Gift Agreement which established the Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, in 2005:

The ‘Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession’ is designed to strengthen University of Ottawa teaching, research and administration as they relate to feminist perspectives on law.  It is also designed to maintain and develop links between women in the legal academy and women in the legal profession.

The Chair builds upon the Faculty of Law, Common Law Section’s international reputation as a leader in the field of social justice initiatives by engaging both internal and external communities in feminist legal research, curriculum development, mentoring and a variety of lectures and colloquia.

The holder of the ‘Shirley E. Greenberg Chair for Women and the Legal Profession’ works with an existing group of scholars, all committed to women’s equality through law, to encourage women to enter the profession, to train legal professionals to deliver services to women, to connect women in law school with women in the legal profession, and to further law reform and research impacting on women as clients and women in the profession.

2010-2011 was the fourth and final year of Professor Martha Jackman’s term as Greenberg Chair.  Professor Rosemary Cairns Way will take over the Greenberg Chair on July 1, 2011.

 

Annual Activities of the Shirley E. Greenberg Chair in 2010-2011

Shirley E. Greenberg Lecture Series

The 2010-2011 Greenberg Lecture Series was again a great success, drawing a monthly overflow audience of students, professors, staff and members of the general public, who were treated to a sandwich lunch and a stimulating presentation by members of the law school’s feminist teaching faculty.
 
This year, the Greenberg Lecture Series included the following presentations:

October 6, 2010:  Professeure Nathalie DesRosiers, “Liberté au feminine / How to Feminize Civil Liberties”

October 27, 2010:  Professor Radha Jhappan (Department of Political Science, Carleton University), “Ubiquitous Pornification, Lessons from the Post Structuralist Turn”

November 10, 2010:  Professeure Pascale Fournier, “Calculating Claims: Jewish and Muslim Women Navigating Religion, Economics and Law in Canada /
Des revendications calculées: le spectre distributif du divorce juif et musulman au Canada”

January 19, 2011:  Professor Maneesha Deckha (Faculty of Law, University of Victoria), “Diversifying the Property Debate: Toward a Postcolonial Feminist Approach to the Legal Status of Nonhuman Animals” (joint Greenberg/Environmental law lecture)

February 16, 2011:  Professor Rosemary Cairns Way, “Professional Responsibility: Incorporating Equality” (joint Greenberg/Professionalism lecture)

March 9, 2011:  Professor Elizabeth Sheehy, “Defending Battered Women on Trial: Lessons from Trial Transcripts”

February 23, 2011:  Kerri Froc (Department of Law, Carleton University and Canadian Bar Association), “Section 28:  The Charter’s Vestigial Organ?”

March 23, 2011:  Professeure Suzanne Bouclin, “The Niqab: Intersections of Race, Gender and Nation / Le niqab: interrelations entre race, genre et nation”


Greenberg Public Interest Fellowship for Women and the Law

During the summer of 2010, the Greenberg Chair also sponsored a public interest fellowship position.  Second-year law student Nevena Urosevic spent the summer working as an intern with the Coalition for Gun Control (CGC.)  Ms. Urosevic described her Greenberg Chair public interest fellowship experience as follows:

“As an intern with the Coalition for Gun Control (CGC), under the supervision of Ms. Wendy Cukier, I did a variety of advocacy-centered tasks. It was amazing to see the law in action and the different groups involved on both sides as Bill C-391 passed through the various stages required in order to become law.

The first part of my internship was largely focused around the hearings at the Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security (SECU). Since the CGC served as the umbrella organization in the battle against C-391, we watched SECU meetings and prepared counter-arguments to C-391’s supporters. This work enabled us to better equip and prepare other witnesses against C-391 in presenting their testimonies. I also worked on interpreting and synthesizing the key arguments from opposing parties to be presented on the day of the CGC’s presentation before SECU, in order to lay the groundwork for the CGC’s testimony. I was fortunate enough to go to attend three SECU meetings and see the delivery of Ms. Cukier’s testimony in Ottawa.

Much of my summer work centered around communicating Bill C-391 developments as well as calls to action. I contacted sister organizations and many new groups with potential interest in the cause. These groups were either focused on health, women, children, safety, or violence prevention. I drafted, translated, and edited press releases issued to these groups and the wider public. I also researched university clubs throughout Canada that might have an interest in broader women’s, social, or political issues, and drafted letters and information packages to be sent out to them in hopes of getting them involved. Finally, I liaised with an array of public interest groups across Canada, many of whom had previously been involved in the movement for gun control. As a result, many of these groups got involved by contacting their MPs and becoming advocates within their networks.

These are just a few examples of the many initiatives I was part of throughout the summer with the CGC. Through my experience, I saw a more personal side of the law than the one I had experienced in law school and learned about how much work public interest organizations tirelessly put in to protect the safety and rights of the vulnerable. It was an incredibly rewarding experience made possible by the Greenberg Chair fellowship.”


LEAF Ottawa Persons’ Day Breakfast

On Friday October 15, 2010, LEAF Ottawa held its annual Persons’ Day Breakfast. There were over 150 people in attendance at the event, which was held at the National Arts Centre.  Through the sponsorship of the Greenberg Chair, over 75 tickets were subsidized for students and low-income registrants.

The keynote speaker at the 2010 Breakfast was Dr. Sheema Khan, an author and columnist with  The Globe and Mail. Dr. Khan addressed many issues relating to diversity in the feminist movement, including the wearing of veils in the court room. She also discussed a number of emerging issues, including the issue of polygamy.  Dr. Khan’s speech was well received and appreciated by all in attendance.

The LEAF Ottawa executive thanked the Greenberg Chair for its support throughout the year, noting the importance of the Chair’s contribution to the success of the LEAF breakfast in particular.


Women and the Legal Profession Course

The Greenberg Chair provided funding for release-time to enable Kim Pate, Executive Director of the Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies, to continue teaching the ‘Women and the Legal Profession: Defending Battered Women on Trial’ course (CML 3374D) in the January 2011 term.  The course, designed by Professors Elizabeth Sheehy and Kim Pate, is aimed at preparing future lawyers to defend battered women caught up in the criminal justice system and at developing a package of materials to aid defence lawyers charged with this important task.


First Year Common Law Jane Doe Lecture

On February 4, 2011, the Greenberg Chair sponsored the annual Jane Doe lecture: “The Politics of Rape” at the law school.

A decade ago, the woman know as ‘Jane Doe’ won a landmark legal victory, holding the Toronto Police Service liable for the violation of her constitutional right to equality and for the failure to warn her of the threat of a serial rapist.  Presented by Jane Doe herself, the annual Jane Doe lecture, which focuses on the sex equality related tort and criminal law issues raised in the Jane Doe case, is attended by all first-year law students, as well as by upper-year law and women's studies students.  


Other activities of the Greenberg Chair in 2010-2011

Law Student Research Assistantship

During the summer of 2010, the Greenberg Chair sponsored a student research assistantship, filled by third-year French Common Law Program student Julie Mohanna.

Ms. Mohanna conducted research on a variety of legal issues.  She also assisted the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL) in planning and launching its women and the law student caucus revitalization project.  Among other things, this involved coordinating activities and compiling practical handbooks for law students in order to assist them in setting up their own campus women and law caucuses.  Ms. Mohanna worked with the NAWL project coordinator to prepare information sessions held at law faculties across Canada, and aided in the planning of a leadership summit for law students in the winter of 2011.  Ms. Mohanna continued to assist the Greenberg Chair with various legal research projects, events and other projects throughout the 2010-2011 academic year.

Ms. Mohanna reported on her work as a research assistant for the Greenberg Chair as follows: 

“I found this work extremely enlightening and rewarding.  I was able to further my understanding and involvement in current women’s issues while also developing my legal research skills and writing abilities.  I have been involved in numerous organizations advocating for women’s rights and I feel very privileged to have been able to continue to learn from feminist lawyers and legal scholars throughout this experience.”


Pro Bono Students Canada Launch Event / Lancement du Réseau national d’étudiants pro bono

On September 22, 2011, the Greenberg Chair was a co-sponsor of the Pro Bono Students Canada launch event, held at Fauteux Hall.  Speakers at the event included Nathalie DesRosiers, General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and former Dean of the Civil Law Section at the University of Ottawa; Matthew Cohen, Director of Litigation Projects for Pro Bono Law Ontario; and Janet Lo, Legal Counsel at the Public Interest Advocacy Centre in Ottawa and recent Faculty of Law graduate.


What Causes a Wave? Feminist Voices Weigh In / L’origine d’un movement? Les voix feminists se font entendre

On October 27, 2011, the Greenberg Chair sponsored a panel discussion on the theme: “What Causes a Wave? Feminist Voices Weigh In / L’origine d’un mouvement? Les voix féministes se font entendre,” held to mark the launch of the first volume of the Feminist History Society Series: Feminist Journeys / Voies feministes, edited by Marguerite Andersen.  

Moderated by University of Ottawa Professor and founding member of the Feminist History Society, Constance Backhouse, the panel included presentations by Professor Lucie Lamarche, Gordon F. Henderson Chair in Human Rights at the University of Ottawa; Professor Diana Majury of the Department of Law at Carleton University; University of Ottawa Faculty of Law student Falon Milligan; Professor Rashmi Luther of the School of Social Work at Carleton University; and Kimalee Phillip, Masters Student in Legal Studies and President of the Graduate Students’ Association at Carleton University.


Prostitution and the Law Series

In November 2010, with the University of Ottawa Human Rights Research and Education Centre, the Greenberg Chair co-sponsored a student organized “Prostitution and Law” series.  This three-part event included a discussion of the Bedford v. Canada decision on November 9 in Fauteux Hall; a screening of the documentary films: “The Business of Sex” and “Not for Sale” on November 10 in Fauteux Hall; and a panel discussion held on November 23 in Morisset Hall, featuring Angela Chaisson (JD Candidate 2011) on the topic “Downtown Eastside SWUAV v. Canada and the Pivot Legal Society's report: ‘Beyond Decriminalization’ ” and Professor Colette Parent (Criminology Department, University of Ottawa) on the topic “Le malaise féministe face à la prostitution.”  


Young Women’s Leadership Summit

The Greenberg Chair was one of the sponsors of a young women’s Leadership Summit organized by the National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL), which took place at Fauteux Hall from February 12-14, 2011.  The summit gathered over two dozen undergraduate and law students from across Canada, including four first- and second-year University of Ottawa law students, to an intense two-day skills-building workshop on topics ranging from “Doing Advocacy,” “Research and Writing for Social Change,” and “Working with the Media,” to “Getting Organized,” and “Creating National Networks.”

The Summit opened with a dinner and panel discussion on “Working for Women’s Equality” by Greenberg Chair Martha Jackman, University of Ottawa Professor Suzanne Bouclin and Ottawa-based lawyers Heather Neufeld and Karin Galldin.  Experts in attendance to provide information and support to summit participants included Cindy Blackstock from the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society, former University of Ottawa Professor Sheila McIntyre, Nancy Peckford and Amy Kishek from Equal Voice, Anne Levesque from Champlaw, Shari Graydon from Informed Opinions, Leslie Robertson from Galldinlaw, and feminist lawyers Pamela Cross, Alison Dewar and Julie Shugarman from NAWL.


Screening of the Documentary Film “Constitute!”

On February 14, 2011, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Women’s Constitution Conference held in Ottawa on February 14, 1981, the Greenberg Chair presented a screening of “Constitute!” a documentary film by Susan Bazilli and Robert Rooney.  Produced by the International Women’s Rights Project (IWRP) at the University of Victoria and Rooney Productions, “Constitute!” profiles the dynamic activism by countless Canadian women who gathered together in an ad hoc coalition to ensure that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms would include full and effective equality rights guarantees. Some of the women featured in the documentary include Doris Anderson, Michele Landsberg, Flora MacDonald, Sharon McIvor, Marilou McPhedran, Pauline Jewett and Linda Palmer-Nye, with interviews by Sally Armstrong.  The documentary also profiles more recent women`s global constitutional activism, with segments from South Africa, Rwanda and Afghanistan.

Marilou McPhedran, Principal of the Global College at the University of Winnipeg, founding mother of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), and original Ad Hocker, and Suzan Bazilli, Director of the IWRP and Executive Producer of “Constitute!” spoke at the screening, which was followed by a reception at Desmarais Hall.  Earlier in the day, Ms. McPhedran and Ms. Bazilli also participated in a screening and discussion of the documentary in Professor Jennifer Bond’s first-year constitutional law class.  

On March 8, 2011, to mark International Women’s Day, the Greenberg Chair sponsored an additional screening of “Constitute!” at Fauteux Hall, organized by the University of Ottawa Women and the Law group and open to all students, faculty and staff.


Ottawa Law Review Symposium

On February 24, 2011, the Greenberg Chair sponsored Vancouver-based equality rights scholar, activist and litigator Gwen Brodsky`s participation at the Ottawa Law Review Symposium on “The Past, Present and Future of Section 7 of the Canadian Charter: Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Motor Vehicle Act Reference.”  

Ms. Brodsky has acted as counsel in a number of Charter test cases of particular significance to women, including the Vriend , Gosselin, Gould, and McIvor cases among others.  Her presentation, entitled “Promise and Prospects: Expanding the Scope of Section 7” addressed the challenges of litigating women's liberty rights, including problems in the current case law and approaches to litigation.  Ms. Brodsky was joined on the panel by Kerri Froc from the Canadian Bar Association, who discussed section 7 in light of the equality guarantees contained in sections 15 and 28 of the Charter.


Keynote address, First Annual Graduate Students Conference

On May 19-20, 2011, the Graduate Students in Law Association organized its first graduate student conference on the theme “Space, place, and the law.”  The Greenberg Chair sponsored the conference’s opening keynote address by Professor Sherene Razack, on May 19 in Desmarais Hall, followed by a discussion period and a cocktail reception.  A professor of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, Professor Razack is an internationally renowned scholar and author on the issues of race and gender and their interplay with the law.


Louise Arbour – Enbridge Famous 5 Luncheon

On June 2, 2011, the Greenberg Chair sponsored a Faculty of Law table at the Enbridge Famous 5 Luncheon, held at the National Arts Centre and featuring a speech by Hon. Louise Arbour, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and Supreme Court of Canada Justice.


Speaking Engagements and other activities by the Greenberg Chair in 2010-2011

In her capacity as Greenberg chair, Professor Jackman undertook a number of speaking engagements, including the following:

June 2011    “Positive Obligations on Governments to Address the Under-representation of Women”, Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund and Equal Voice Expert Roundtable on Under-representation of Women in Elected Office, Toronto, Ontario.

June 2011    “Cross-border Care Through a Charter Lens”, Institute of Population Health Symposium on Cross-border Health Care, Ottawa, Ontario.

May 2011    “La responsabilisation du système de santé et la Charte”, Annual Conference on Emerging Issues in Public Law, Public Law Group, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario.

Dec. 2010    “Constitutional and Comparative Law Dimensions of Socio-economic Rights in Canada”, University of Chile Law School Doctoral Seminar, Santiago, Chile.

Oct. 2010    “La pauvreté : droits et recours à l’échèle internationale / Poverty : Rights and Remedies Under International Law”, 3e Sommet sur la pauvreté du Front commun pour la justice sociale du Nouveau-Brunswick, Moncton, New Brunswick.

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