Law Needs Feminism Because

workshop sessions

grassroots mouvements

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Grassroots Organizing by Survivors for Survivors

Hosted by Dandelion Initiative, Larissa Donovan

Dandelion Initiative is a grassroots non-profit organization by survivors for survivors. We are a collective of sexual violence survivors working to provide anti-oppressive, trauma informed, feminist peer supports and education. 
In this interactive workshop, hear about how we organize differently from other incorporated non-profits and discuss how to maintain grassroots values in a bureaucratic system. 

Learn about our Safer Spaces Training and how you can use your legal and advocacy skills in policy-making on a small scale to make a big difference. Discuss how to make workplace and organizational policies that are accessible, intersectional, and survivor-informed.

Survivors are not just victims. We are knowledgeable, skilled, resilient, informed, active, engaged and empowered.


larissa donovan

Larissa was once described by her Nan as her mother’s “cross to bear” – a kid full righteous indignation who didn’t know the word feminism until she reached post-secondary school. Feminism and feminist legal studies helped Larissa harness those big feelings into small, grassroots actions that can make a difference one person at a time. Now a law student at Thompson Rivers University in BC, she hopes to use her law degree to advocate for the voices of vulnerable populations to be heard in legislative reform. Larissa is on the Board of Directors for Dandelion Initiative. She is a trained mediator and conflict resolution specialist with a certificate from the Mediation Centre of Southeastern Ontario. Larissa received her undergraduate degree in Gender Studies from Queen’s University and an advance diploma in Human Resources from St. Lawrence College. 

She was born and raised in Ontario but has family roots in Newfoundland, so the East Coast has always felt special to her. Although currently based in Kamloops, Larissa calls Kingston, ON home since spending almost ten years studying, working and volunteering in the Kingston community. 
She is a service industry veteran, having worked in bars and restaurants for twelve years. Three years ago, she began working alongside a sole practitioner as a co-investigator for workplace grievances and legal research assistant. She is passionate about helping to build healthy organizational cultures.


reproductive justice

Hosted by Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund, Natasha Schigas and Tawni Proctor

You may be familiar with LEAF, a national non-profit organization founded in 1985. As the local branch of LEAF, we work to advance gender equality through litigation, law reform, and public education using the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Halifax and throughout Nova Scotia. Reproductive Justice is a discussion based workshop on reproductive health law and policy, and is one of two legal education workshops that LEAF Halifax provides on a regular basis. Through the workshop, participants will identify and understand their legal rights, how those rights are affected, and the role that advocacy plays in developing the law.

Le langage simple et clair : un outil pour l’accès à la justice

Hosted by Association des juristes d'expression française de l'Ontario, Laure Prévost

this workshop will be given in french!

Pour les professionnels de la justice, transmettre l’information de façon claire et simple est un art difficile à maîtriser. Pourtant, plus l’information est transmise clairement, plus le client sera outillé pour comprendre et faire valoir ses droits. Un pas de plus vers l’accès à la justice!

Au cours de cet atelier, les participants apprendront en quoi consiste le langage clair et simple et quels en sont les principes. Six exercices pratiques leur permettront d’appliquer les techniques présentées.

Cet atelier est offert en français. Les participants pourront poser leurs questions dans la langue officielle de leur choix.



Plain language: a useful skill for Access to Justice

Hosted by Association of French Speaking Jurists of Ontario, Laure Prévost

For legal professionals, communicating in plain language is a difficult art to master. And yet, the clearer things are for clients, the better they will understand and be able to seek justice; an important step towards access to justice!

During this workshop, participants will learn what plain language is, the principles of plain language and how to use plain language in every day practice. Six practical exercises will allow participants to implement the presented techniques.

This workshop is offered in French. Questions may be asked in either official language.


laure prévost

Me Laure Prévost s’est jointe à l’équipe de l’AJEFO et de rédaction de en 2018 en tant que rédactrice juridique et chargée de projets.

Diplômée du programme B.C.L./LL.B. de la Faculté de droit de l’Université McGill, elle a fait son stage du Barreau de l’Ontario à la Clinique juridique communautaire de l’Université d’Ottawa, où elle a travaillé dans les domaines du droit de la famille, droit des locataires, droit pénal et en compensation pour les victimes d’actes criminels avec des clients à faible revenu de la communauté d’Ottawa. Elle détient également une maîtrise en éthique appliquée, de l’Université K.U. Leuven, et un Baccalauréat en développement international et études sur les femmes de l’Université McGill. 

En dehors de son travail à l’AJEFO, Me Prévost siège sur le conseil d’administration de la Coalition d’Ottawa contre la violence faite aux femmes, enseigne le yoga et fait de longues randonnées en préparation d’un prochain Chemin de Compostelle.


Me Laure Prévost joined AJEFO and CliquezJustice in 2018 as a legal writer and project lead.

Me Prévost graduated from the Faculty of Law of McGill University in common law and civil law (B.C.L./LL.B.) and completed her articling at the University of Ottawa Community Legal Clinic, where she helped low-income clients from the Ottawa community with issues in family law, tenant law, criminal law and compensation for victims of crimes. She also has a masters in applied ethics, from K.U.Leuven, and a Bachelors in International Development and Women’s Studies from McGill University.

Outside work, Me Prévost sits on the board of the Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women, teaches yoga and enjoys hiking in preparation of her next Camino de Santiago.


Women and Wrongful Convictions

Hosted by Innocence Canada, Stephanie Nowak

The issue of women who have been wrongfully convicted seems to have been researched and discussed comparatively much less than many other wrongful conviction issues. Women defendants may face other issues, such as gender stereotypes, that may factor into their wrongful convictions and exonerations. This presentation will discuss these issues as well as the major causes of wrongful convictions among women and how the media can contribute to the problem of gender bias.

Stephanie Novak

Stéphanie joined Innocence Canada in January 2018 as the Director of Education. Stéphanie’s work is directed towards educating the public, law students, legal professionals, and others involved in the criminal justice system on wrongful convictions in an effort to prevent these miscarriages of justice. She also manages Innocence Canada’s student programs, develops legal education materials, and works with Innocence Projects across the country.

Prior to joining Innocence Canada, Stéphanie was the Bilingual Program Officer at Pro Bono Students Canada. She earned a degree in translation (from French to English) and a minor in Mandarin & Chinese Cultural Studies from Concordia University. She has spent many years working in law, including as a Student Affairs Consultant, and a Recruitment & Diversity Specialist.

A Feminist's Guide to Using Social Media for Advocacy and Activism

Hosted by National Association of Women and the Law, Paula Ethans

Social media is the new public forum - politicians present platforms, people debate ideologies, and hash tags give birth to movements.  Feminists are increasingly using social media to influence public policy.  In this workshop for justice professionals interested in feminist law reform advocacy, you will analyze current movements, discuss opportunities for using social media, examine potential obstacles, and practice effective online advocacy methods.


Paula Ethans

Paula Ethans is an intersectional feminist who uses her legal training, access to privilege, and media experience to organize her communities and advocate for the rights of the marginalized. Her advocacy focuses on gender equality and migration rights. She has been using social media as part of her activist tool box since 2013. Paula writes on her award-winning blog Paula vs Patriarchy, analyzing law, culture and politics through a critical anti-oppression lens. 

Paula has spent extensive time abroad, previously working with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Kuala Lumpur; the Organization for Refuge, Asylum and Migration (ORAM) in Israel and Turkey; and the Canadian Embassy in Washington, DC. She is the Founder of the UOttawa Feminist Collective and the previous co-Chair of the UOttawa chapter of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers (CARL). She currently articles for a national human rights law firm. 


To Report or Heal? Discussing the use of Therapeutic Records in Sexual Assault Proceedings

Hosted by Avalon Sexual Assault Centre, Nora MacIntosh

Therapeutic counselling records are routinely relied upon by defence counsel in sexual assault trials to attempt to undermine the credibility of survivors of sexual violence. The risk of having these highly private documents disclosed in court leaves many survivors facing the choice of either pursuing legal action or seeking counselling following a sexual assault. This workshop will explore the barriers created by the use of therapeutic records in sexual assault trials and will encourage participants to contemplate how they can advocate for the protection of survivors’ privacy interests in these records.

nora macintosh

Nora MacIntosh holds a JD from the Schulich School of Law, where she was the recipient of multiple awards for her contribution and commitment to community development, service, education and law reform. She is currently completing a legal consultation project at the Avalon Sexual Assault Centre where she has been involved with policy development as well as providing legal support to staff. She sits on the Dalhousie Legal Aid Service Board of Trustees where she is a member of the Community Development and Law Reform Committee. She is also a member of the Nova Scotia Rainbow Action Project Board of Directors. In her spare time, she can be found at the yoga studio, in the kitchen or plotting the downfall of the patriarchy.

Discussing Reproductive Justice for Criminalized Women and Transgender Individuals

Hosted by Women’s Wellness Within, Hazel Ling

This workshop will discuss the work of Women’s Wellness Within, a Nova Scotia non-profit organization that works to advance reproductive justice for criminalized women and transgender individuals.  We will discuss key examples of reproductive rights violations against women in detention and remedies using an intersectional feminist lens.


hazel ling

Hazel Ling is one of the founding members of Women’s Wellness Within.  Trained as a social worker, Hazel comes from a social justice and feminist theoretical perspective.  She developed an interest in reproductive justice early in life after learning about Henry Morgentaler’s abortion clinic in Toronto. Hazel was a La Leche League Leader and a doula for over 10 years as well as working as a social worker for the last 30 years in both urban and rural parts of Canada, including Yukon Territory for 12 years. Hazel currently lives and works in the HRM with her family including Betty, the always happy black Lab and Walter, the ever grumpy, but doesn’t know why, English Bulldog.

#TalkJustice: Bringing Community Voices to the Centre of the Justice System

Hosted by Access to Justice & Law Reform Institute of Nova Scotia, Ashley Avery & Jane Willwerth

#TalkJustice is a vehicle to turn up the volume on community voices and perspectives, and to ultimately integrate this knowledge into legal practices and processes. It’s clear that change is needed and that the solutions are sometimes simple and sometimes extremely complex. An important starting place for those of us who work in the justice system is to acknowledge the need for change and to be willing and able to listen to the voices of diverse communities.  Join us for an interactive workshop that will look at the main themes that have emerged from this ongoing initiative and explore collaborative solutions to improving access to justice. 


ashley avery

Ashley is the Access to Justice Coordinator for the Access to Justice and Law Reform Institute of Nova Scotia, located at the Schulich School of Law in Kjipuktuk (Halifax). She is responsible for overseeing  iniatives aimed at improving access to justice for people across the province and coordinates the #TalkJustice project, a unique initiative bringing community voices to the center of justice system reform. She is a research assistant for a partnership project with Mount Saint Vincent University and the Elizabeth Fry Society of Mainland Nova Scotia, studying the causes and consequences of women breaching court orders in the criminal justice system. Ashley has worked with women at a community level providing frontline supports in homeless shelters, halfway houses, provincial and federal prisons as well as in the courts. 

jane willwerth

Jane is the Strategy & Engagement Officer at the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, where she provides research, policy development, program evaluation, and information management support to the Society’s access to justice work. She holds a BA in Human Rights and Political Science from Carelton University and an MLIS from Dalhousie University. She has been involved with #TalkJustice since 2015.