Refugee Law Office, Legal Aid Ontario
Thanks to the SLS Public Interest Advocacy Summer Fellowship, I had the opportunity to spend my summer working at the Refugee Law Office, a division of Legal Aid Ontario, in Toronto. During my fellowship, I worked directly with clients in preparing refugee claims, humanitarian and compassionate applications, pre-removal risk assessments, and other immigration related submissions.
During my fellowship, I interviewed clients, prepared affidavits, drafted written submissions for the federal court and conducted research on country conditions around the world. I was able to observe proceedings at the Federal Court and the Immigration and Refugee Board. In September, I will be representing a client, with supervision, at their refugee hearing. My fellowship was an excellent opportunity for me to develop my written and oral advocacy skills and gain experience in the field of immigration and refugee law. It allowed me to work directly with skilled advocates committed to fighting for refugees and immigrants in Canada.
I would highly recommend the SLS Public Interest Advocacy Summer Fellowship for anyone interested in social justice work. My summer at the Refugee Law Office was the most rewarding experience of my law school experience so far.
Canadian Civil Liberties Association
The SLS Fellowship gave me the opportunity to spend my 1L summer interning at the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA). The CCLA is a national organization based in Toronto with the mandate of defending civil liberties and constitutional rights. This summer, I worked in the organization’s Policing and Public Safety Program researching bail and pre-trial detention. My research was primarily focused on the vast inequities within Canada’s pre-conviction practices and policies.
Having entered law school with the goal of pursuing a career in human rights, the CCLA provided me with exceptional insight into the field. I am incredibly grateful to the CCLA and the SLS Fellowship for the rewarding, fulfilling, and enriching experience I had this summer. The SLS Fellowship allowed me to delve deeply into civil rights matters, strengthening my passion for social justice and advocacy. I highly recommend the SLS Fellowship to anyone interested in the public interest.
Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action
The SLS Advocacy Fellowship allowed me to work with the Feminist Alliance for International Action (FAFIA), a coalition of over 70 women’s and equality seeking organizations in Canada. FAFIA participates in the United Nations treaty review process by reporting and advocating on gaps in Canada’s compliance with its international women’s rights obligations.
This summer, I contributed to FAFIA’s shadow report submissions to the UN Human Rights Committee (HRC) and Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). I participated in the research, drafting and editing of FAFIA’s general submission on women’s civil and political rights, as well as FAFIA’s joint-submission with the Native Women’s Association of Canada on the murders and disappearances of Aboriginal women and girls in Canada. I also outlined the general CESCR submission on women’s economic, social and cultural rights and conducted research for the women with disabilities section. I was able to travel to Geneva in July to attend the HRC review meetings of Canada. At the UN, I advocated for the inclusion of women’s rights issues in the HRC review meetings and concluding observations of Canada.
The opportunity to work on women’s rights reports, as well as engage in oral advocacy at the UN with international human rights experts, was both challenging and rewarding. I am grateful for the expert mentorship I received at FAFIA and to the SLS Fellowship program for providing me with this opportunity.