...and why is he running this site?

After fifteen years as a child care worker, spent in the frontline and in academia, I made a conscious decision to embrace law as a tool for the advancement of human rights.

I come to law from a very different perspective than most people. I know its limits, I understand its challenges, and I can appreciate its potential for results. My work is informed and influenced by my background in the social sciences, which I believe gives me a clear advantage when working in the field of refugee and immigration law.

I first obtained an Honours B.A. at York University, before pursuing a Master’s of Education at OISE-UT. After a couple years working in the field, I returned to pursue a Master’s of Social Work at the University of Toronto. There, I chose the policy stream, which enabled me to conduct two very rewarding placements.

The first was with the Social Reform Unit/Campaign 2000 of Family Service Association of Toronto, working directly with the coordinator of the Unit, Laurel Rothman. My main project there was to research and write a Policy Recommendation to the Parliamentary Committee on Citizenship and Immigration, commenting on the proposed Bill C-11, which became the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. This Commentary focused on the impact of the Bill on children and families.

The second placement was with the Laidlaw Foundation. There, I worked with Christa Freiler, the Coordinator of the Social Inclusion project. My work included editing the Social Inclusion Working Series, a series of essays on social inclusion from different perspectives in Canada, planning the launches of various papers, working on the dissemination of the series, and working on the launch of a web site for the series.

During my Social Work degree, I took a course which allowed to research and write a paper on Australia’s refugee policy as it is being redefined by the Howard government. That paper was subsequently published by Refuge, York University’s journal of the study of refugee issues.

Following my M.S.W., I went straight into my Law degree at Osgoode Hall, at York University. There, I had the opportunity to work for 8 months in the Immigration division at Parkdale Community Legal Services, a community legal clinic in one of Toronto’s neediest communities. After finishing law school, I articled at Green and Spiegel, LLP, Canada’s oldest and largest refugee and immigration law firm. There, I worked on everything from Judicial Reviews to Work Permits, from Skilled Worker applications to Refugee hearings.

In all of my work—both in academia and in my professional career—human rights have always been at the centre of my attention. Whether working with disadvantaged children with behavioural difficulties, with children in the Gaza Strip or with refugee claimants in Parkdale, human rights have always informed my work. I truly believe in the right to leave your country and seek a better life elsewhere. As a corollary, I believe that once a person is in our country for a number of years, they should not be deported. As a matter of fact, barring certain exceptions, I do not believe in deportation, period.

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