Successful fellowship program applicants to be hosted in Orillia, Toronto
TORONTO, Sept. 6, 2011 /CNW/ - The Law Foundation of Ontario (LFO) has
awarded two new Community Leadership in Justice Fellowships. Both of these collaborative projects will address access to justice
and legal rights on the part of people with disabilities, and will
create important legacies for the post-secondary institutions that will
Fellow Sheila Burns, a noted specialist and advocate in the field of
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), will spend 10 months at
Georgian College Orillia Campus. Her work will focus on helping
prevent people with FASD from becoming involved with the criminal
justice system, and on improving diversion rates and outcomes for those
She will develop two FASD courses, one for delivery at Georgian within
its Human Services and Child Studies Portfolio, and one for delivery
online to police and other justice-related service providers. She will
also develop a FASD post-graduate certificate program at Georgian,
which will be the first in Ontario.
Burns will coordinate roundtables with diverse justice services
stakeholders around the province, culminating in a conference. The
fellowship will also encompass a research project focusing on the
effectiveness of supports within the justice system, drawing on the
experience of individuals with FASD, and establishment of a FASD
Resource Centre at Georgian - positioning it as an educational leader
in this emerging field.
"FASD is the most common developmental disability in Canada and impacts
about 130,000 Ontarians," said Burns. "In the justice context, we need
to shift the focus from incarceration to sustainable support and
services. Specialized training for the officials who are often first
points of contact is an important step forward in making that shift."
Linda Love, vice president academic at Georgian says the fellowship will
represent an exceptional resource. "Sheila's work will be of
considerable benefit to our faculty, students and our communities in
years to come as we develop new programs and build our resource
centre," Love said.
A second fellowship has been awarded to Marian MacGregor, clinic
director for the Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) at
York University's Osgoode Hall Law School. Over the course of seven
months, MacGregor will develop an intensive clinical program in
disability law which will be offered to Osgoode students as early as
This will build on Osgoode's established leadership in clinic-based
legal education, and enhance capacity in this specialized and
under-serviced area of law. The program is expected to involve a dual
placement: one at the ARCH Disability Law Centre, a specialized
community legal clinic in central Toronto, and one at a
non-governmental organization pursuing relevant policy work.
"The impact of disability, often combined with poverty, can create
serious access to justice barriers," said MacGregor, who has practiced
extensively in the area of poverty law. "This new program will produce
lawyers who are better equipped to meet the distinct needs of clients
with disabilities, as well as involving students in the systemic change
that needs to take place."
Osgoode Hall Dean Lorne Sossin says the new clinical program has the
potential to "enrich our students' academic experience, improve access
to justice and enhance Osgoode's reputation as a leader in developing
experiential learning initiatives."
Community Leadership in Justice Fellowships are one of several LFO
granting programs, and two or more have been awarded annually since
2006. They harness the potential of community-academia links to
advance justice-related and educational objectives. Fellows are
typically leading experts and innovators. Joint applications from
public interest groups and prospective host academic institutions are
invited each spring.
The Law Foundation of Ontario helps people to understand the law and use
it to improve their lives. It provides grants for access to justice
initiatives, awards fellowships, and supports the practice of public
interest law and professional excellence.
SOURCE The Law Foundation of Ontario
For further information:
Law Foundation of Ontario
(416) 736-2100 ext. 33149