SPINLAW 2011: Canada 2020: The Future of Public Interest Law 

1. Access To Justice

The panel will attempt to illustrate the various ways to fund public interest work. It will bring together individuals who have managed to successfully litigate using different financial models. The panel will consist of Nathalie Des Rosiers, General Counsel at CCLA, Kenn Hale from ACTO and Meryl Zisman Gary, a private practitioner.  2.

Bill C-4 and Aboriginal Identity

This panel will discuss the history of the Canadian Government's legislation of Aboriginal identity and how this has affected the rights of Aboriginal women specifically. The panelists will discuss the Sharon McIvor case and the subsequent introduction of Bill C-3, giving a run-down of the legal pros and cons and political motives and how these affect not only women of First Nations descent, but their offspring as well.  

3. Mental Health in Toronto 2020: Practical Changes in the Mental Health Legal Community

Toronto is unique for the sheer number of people with mental health issues and specific challenges our ethnic communities may face in their interaction with the mental health legal system. This panel will focus on ‘practical’ changes; rather than asking panelists to focus on what is wrong with the current legal climate, this panel will highlight a few innovative ways the system as it stands now could be reformed -- without completely overturning the system -- and share these ideas with participants.

4. Legal Obstacles to Environmental Activism in the Next Decade 

Environmental issues affect us all in numerous ways, yet many obstacles impede the use of legal means to manage or resolve these issues. Panelists will discuss the barriers to addressing environmental harms through claims on behalf of future generations, the use of strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPPs) to dissuade environmental activism, and systemic barriers to accessing information which prevent participation in environmental decision-making.

5. Polygamy and Women’s Rights  

This panel will explore Polygamy and Women’s Rights topic from different angles. Professor Rebecca Cook will address international human rights law. Professor Emon will present the polygamy from Islamic law perspective. Finally, Jordan Palmer will concentrate on multiculturalism in Canada. All three panelists will address Women’s Rights theme and attempt to envisage Canada in 2020.

6. Litigation Strategies and Social Justice

Practitioners who work in various fields will discuss how they built a career around public interest litigation. Learn how front-line litigators strategize cases as well as how policy and intervention operate behind the scenes in order to effect social change.

7. "This ain't Canada right now"? — The Public Works Protection Act and the G20 (presented by The Asper Centre)  

During Toronto's G20 summit, the police invoked the Public Works Protection Act to search and demand identification of people within five metres of the downtown security fence. The problem is, the law never granted the police that power. Since the summit, several inquiries have been struck to deal with questions relating to the law, and other summit-related issues. This panel seeks to address the use of the PWPA during the G20 and the legal ramifications.