York receives $300K boost for research commercialization

Concept of idea and innovation with paper ball

York University’s Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation (VPRI) and the IP Innovation Clinic have received a second instalment – the first was received in 2023 – of $300,000 from the government of Ontario to advance its commercialization services, particularly for research and innovation related to artificial intelligence, automotive and medical technology.

The funding, announced on April 8 by Jill Dunlop, minister of colleges and universities, is from Intellectual Property Ontario (IPON), a provincial agency that provides IP support for Ontario businesses and researchers.

This marks the second year in a row the initiative has received $300,000 from the government as it works towards increasing patent filings, outreach and consultation.

“IPON’s continued and valued investment in York helps advance the University’s commitment to helping our researchers realize the full potential of their innovative work and amplify their community impact,” said Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “Strengthening commercialization efforts at York and supporting entrepreneurs in the province through education and training create positive change for the people of Ontario and the province.”

The funding will enable the collaborating units to continue to provide a suite of intellectual property and commercialization services to researchers and their partners, with the goal of taking more of the University community’s great ideas from the lab to market. 

“Together with countless law students and our industry partners, we have saved over $2 million in legal fees to resource-scarce innovators seeking to commercialize their IP and grow Canadian companies. We look forward to fostering the success of many more,” said Pina D’Agostino, associate professor at York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the founder of the IP Innovation Clinic. “We are grateful to Minister Dunlop and Intellectual Property Ontario for supporting the IP Innovation Clinic for a second year.”

D’Agostino continued: “Ultimately, this is also a big win for our students who can continue to get access to first-rate experiential learning to make them job-ready while helping those who do not have access to legal resources.”

York was one of 10 universities with an existing program to receive the renewed funding, totalling $1.7 million. IPON also announced a new investment of $2.9 million to help commercialize research at 10 institutions across Canada.

“This funding will help institutions across the province more effectively translate research into commercializable innovations, while ensuring the IP at their foundation is appropriately developed and protected,” said IPON CEO Dan Herman.

“Through the province’s support of IPON, our government is ensuring the social and economic benefits of publicly funded research stay in our province, so that Ontarians and the Ontario economy benefit from these new discoveries and innovations,” said Dunlop.

For the full announcement, visit the IPON website.

Benjamin Berger wins Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Teaching Award

gold and red stars

The 2023-24 Faculty of Graduate Studies’ (FGS) Teaching Award recipient is Osgoode Hall Law School Professor Benjamin Berger, who teaches in the graduate programs in law and socio-legal studies and has been recognized for his unwavering support for students and commitment to his local graduate community.

Benjamin Berger
Benjamin Berger

The Faculty Teaching Award is bestowed annually to a member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies who has displayed sustained excellence, commitment and enthusiasm to the multifaceted work of teaching at the graduate level at York University. The award recognizes teaching and supervisory excellence and considers scholarly, professional and teaching development, along with initiative involving graduate program and curriculum development. The nominator may be any member of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, including regular or adjunct faculty, graduate students or staff.

“Dr. Berger’s record of supervision is notable not simply due to the large number of students successfully supported through to degree completion under his guidance but for the quality and care to which those relationships were cultivated,” said Alice MacLachlan, vice-provost and dean of graduate studies, when she presented the award to Berger at the Faculty Council meeting on April 4. “Former graduate students spoke admirably on the generosity of time Dr. Berger provided to them, and the capacity by which feedback and direction was delivered in an understanding but supportive manner.”

Also in attendance was Lisa Philipps, provost and vice-president academic, who equally praised Berger: “It is so great to see you here today, Benjamin, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all that you have done to support the personal and intellectual growth of your graduate students here at York.”

A researcher in the areas of law and religion, criminal and constitutional law and theory as well as the law of evidence, Berger shares his expertise through lectures, class readings and one-on-one support developing students’ thesis and dissertation projects. His graduate students underscored his ability to carefully design his courses, balancing attentive learning, active discussion and expert guest speakers.

The nomination letters spoke widely of Berger’s commitment to his students. One such example was shared by an international student who began their studies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic: “Prof. Berger took active steps to ease my adjustment into my new life, including putting me in touch with other graduate students that could offer support and advice, checking in regularly to gauge my emotional experience of the transition, and offering resources to support the practical cost of settling into the graduate program.”

Berger’s commitment to his local graduate community was also a key factor. He dedicates his time to support both the research and professional development focuses of Osgoode Hall Law School through academic leadership for master of laws specializations, colloquium organization, and contributions to workshops for students applying to major scholarships and awards.

Throughout his career, Berger has received other teaching accolades, including the Terry J. Wuester Teaching Award twice and the First Year Class Teaching Award, all while at the University of Victoria Law School. Additionally, he received the Osgoode Hall Law School Teaching Award in 2013.

“Graduate supervision and teaching are among the great joys of my career,” said Berger in his award acceptance speech. “This award reflects that joy and the inspiration that I have drawn from two sets of relationships: with my own supervisors, who patiently, caringly shaped my approach to scholarly inquiry; and with my brilliant, sincere and committed students, in whose growth and insights I continually delight.”

For more information, visit the Faculty of Graduate Studies’ Teaching Award website.

OsgoodePD program demystifies financial statements in family law

Hand writing on financial statement document

Financial statements might be the most underrated documents in family law, according to Annie Kenet and Eric Sadvari, co-chairs of the Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp, a new program developed by York University’s Osgoode Professional Development (OsgoodePD) to transform the way family lawyers think about this critical document.

“It’s the backbone of most family law cases,” says Sadvari, a senior associate at Toronto firm Kenet Family Law. “But many practitioners treat it as more of a fill-in-the-blanks exercise than a vital piece of advocacy.”

Annie Kenet
Annie Kenet

Properly utilized, the financial statement can even enhance a lawyer’s relationship with their client, says Kenet, the firm’s founder.

“Financial statements inform every part of my client interaction,” she says. “From understanding my client’s financial needs to determining what type of settlement they can live with, the statement enables me to speak to my client about the practical realities of their current and future financial viability.”  

The origins of the new OsgoodePD Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp can be traced back to the Osgoode Certificate in Family Law Skills and Practice, for which Sadvari and Kenet led a module focused on financial statements and discovered the untapped demand for more information among family law practitioners.

It came as no surprise to Sadvari that so many newly qualified family lawyers feel ill-equipped to deal with financial statements.

Eric Sadvari
Eric Sadvari

“I never took any tax, bankruptcy or estate classes, because I didn’t think I was going to be spending a lot of time on those issues,” he says.

But he was mistaken, soon learning that finances are a major part of the family law system, and they’re not always as straight forward as one might think. Something as simple as determining a person’s income, for example, can become a contentious issue if the person is self-employed or has a number of income sources.

Focusing exclusively on the financial statement, the new boot camp will allow time to tackle the document in depth, detail by detail, with small class sizes enabling for more group interaction. By the end of the program, students should be able to expertly complete each section.

The inaugural edition of this intensive program will take place online over two days of interactive sessions from April 12 to 13, where attendees will hear from a group of senior practitioners, chartered business valuators, and judges about best practices and potential pitfalls to keep in mind when preparing and presenting financial statements.

“Anyone who wants to be a stronger lawyer on financial issues would benefit from attending,” Kenet adds. “A financial statement is not just a form clients have to fill out, it is the primary tool family lawyers have to articulate our clients’ financial position, advocate for their financial entitlements and negotiate a financial resolution.”

To learn more and to register, visit the Financial Statements for Family Lawyers Boot Camp web page.

Federal government awards York researchers over $1.5M

Lightbulb on book

Two dozen projects led by York University researchers have received more than $1.5 million combined from the Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council’s Insight Development Grants, announced March 13 by the federal government.

The grants support the development of short-term research projects of up to two years by emerging and established scholars. The York-led projects span a wide range of research, including a study that will explore the different experiences of refugee workers in Canadian meat-packing towns, an assessment of a physical activity program for children with autism and an investigation into the motivations behind firms engaging in artificial intelligence innovation.

“The federal government’s investment in our social sciences and humanities researchers and their diverse projects supports York University’s continued leadership in these critical fields of study,” said Amir Asif, vice-president research and innovation. “This new funding elevates the scholarly pursuits of our researchers across multiple Faculties, enables the development of new research questions and fosters valuable contributions to York’s vision of creating positive change.”  

The 24 York-led projects were among 577 research initiatives to receive funding.

See the full list of the York recipients below.  

Duygu Biricik Gulseren, School of Human Resources Management, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Inconsistent Leadership: Scale Development and Measurement

Rebecca Bassett-Gunter, School of Kinesiology & Health Science; and Jonathan Weiss, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
BINGOCIZE! Evaluating the Feasibility of a Physical Activity Program for Autistic Children

Preetmohinder Aulakh, policy specialization, Schulich School of Business
Sustainable Agriculture in the Global South: Prospects and Challenges of Smallholders’ Product Diversification and Marketing Channel Coordination

Simone Bohn, Department of Politics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
When Reproductive Self-Determination Remains Restricted: Women’s Strategies of Resistance in Brazil

Bronwyn Bragg and Jennifer Hyndman, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Slaughterhouse geographies: Comparing the integration experiences of refugee workers in Canadian meatpacking towns

Robert Cribbie, Department of Psychology, Faculty of Health
Modern Perspectives on Multiplicity Control

Pouyan Foroughi, finance, Schulich School of Business
Private Equity Sponsors in the Leveraged Loan Market

Hannah Johnston, School of Human Resources Management, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Regulating algorithmic management in standard employment: A comparison of legislative and industrial relations approaches

Ambrus Kecskés, finance, Schulich School of Business; and Anh Nguyen, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Artificial intelligence and innovation: A causal investigation of why firms produce it, how it impacts their workforce, and how firms evolve as a consequence

Chungah Kim and Antony Chum, School of Kinesiology & Health Science, Faculty of Health
Social policy solutions to deaths and diseases of despair in Canada

Chloe Rose Brushwood, Faculty of Education
On our own terms: An oral history and archive of queer femme community and culture in Toronto, 1990-2000

Ibtissem Knouzi, Department of Languages, Literature & Linguistics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Critical Transitions in the Literacy Development of International Multilingual Students in English-medium Universities: A Longitudinal Mixed-Methods Study

Matthew Leisinger, Department of Philosophy, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Cudworth’s conscious self

Guangrui Li and Moren Levesque, operations management and information systems, Schulich School of Business
Curse or Blessing: The welfare effects of algorithmic recommendations

Zhixiang Liang, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The Impact of Institutional Systems on Foreign Direct Investment: A Multilevel Study of Chinese Multinational Enterprises

Ann Marie Murnaghan, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Old poles and new stories: archival knowledges and oral histories of C’idimsggin’is and Kurt Seligmann

Glen Norcliffe, Faculty of Environmental & Urban Change
Velomobility for disability: the design, production and distribution of cycles that assist the mobility of persons with a disability

Ivan Ozai, Osgoode Hall Law School
Realizing global justice through the international tax system

Mathieu Poirier, School of Global Health and School of Kinesiology & Health Science; Steven Hoffman, School of Health Policy & Management, School of Global Health, and Osgoode Hall Law School; and Tina Nanyangwe-Moyo, Faculty of Health
Centring gender in the evaluation of international laws

Andrew Sarta, School of Administrative Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Imagining Augmentation Possibilities and How Organizations Adapt to the Emergence of Artificial Intelligence

Gregory Saxton, accounting, Schulich School of Business
The role of automated bots in the financial and consumer markets

Rianka Singh, Department of Communication & Media Studies, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Platform Feminism

Jean-Thomas Tremblay, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Eco-subtraction: downsizing the environmental humanities

Yishu Zeng, Department of Economics, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
The Design of Information Disclosure Policy in Strategic Interaction

For a complete list of Insight Development Grant recipients, visit the Government of Canada announcement.

Osgoode prof named Woman of the Year by Canadian Italian business community

3d golden star golden with lighting effect on black background. Template luxury premium award design. Vector illustration

By Corey Allen, senior manager, research communications

Pina D’Agostino, an associate professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, has been named Woman of the Year by the Canadian Italian Business & Professional Association of Toronto (CIPBA).

Pina D'Agostino
Pina D’Agostino

“I am incredibly humbled and honoured to be recognized by the very community that I have deep roots in,” said D’Agostino. “My parents were both immigrants from Italy to Canada and, like many others seeking a better future for their families, came without speaking a word of English and with nothing but their dreams for a better future. I dedicate this award to them for all their sacrifices.”

She added: “As a woman, I stand with so many other women who continue to face barriers in their personal and professional lives. I join an impressive group of female recipients of this award and am grateful to CIBPA for shining the spotlight on our many successes.”

Last week, D’Agostino assumed her new role as scientific director of Connected Minds: Neural and Machine Systems for a Healthy, Just Society, the $318.4-million, York-led research program focused on socially responsible technologies, supported in part by the Canada First Research Excellence Fund.

In addition to her role with Connected Minds, D’Agostino is the founder and former director of IP Osgoode and the co-director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Society. Her research explores issues related to artificial intelligence through a legal lens, including data governance and ownership, intellectual property, emerging technologies, and innovation law and policy.

Since 2010, D’Agostino has also been the founder and director of the IP Innovation Clinic based at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she has helped startups across the University and beyond by engaging law students and leading intellectual property lawyers to provide help pro-bono amounting to more than $2 million in otherwise billable fees.

“Her remarkable contributions to law, technology, and education have set her apart as a leader in her field and an inspiration to us all,” said CIBPA President Tony Cocuzzo.

D’Agostino and her work will be honoured at a CIBPA event on March 20.

York hosts conference examining impact of AI on law

Update: New information after publication of this article indicates the March 13 conference will now be held online only.

Leading legal thinkers from York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School and beyond will gather to assess the seismic impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on the law during a special conference on March 13 sponsored by the Osgoode-based Jack & Mae Nathanson Centre on Transnational Human Rights, Crime & Security.

All York community members are welcome to attend the hybrid event, titled Artificial Intelligence and the Law: New Challenges and Possibilities for Fundamental Human Rights and Security, which will take place both online and in person in 014 Helliwell Centre on York’s Keele Campus from noon to 6:15 p.m.

Trevor Farrow
Trevor Farrow

“I am delighted that this incredibly important discussion is being hosted at Osgoode Hall Law School,” said Osgoode Dean Trevor Farrow.

“Academics, lawyers, policymakers and the public are already heavily influenced by and reliant upon AI,” he added. “Osgoode very much sees itself at the centre of these discussions and innovations.”

By bringing together researchers with AI expertise across various fields of practice, conference speakers and attendees can engage with larger questions about law’s role in the regulation of emerging technologies, legal neutrality, ethics and professional responsibility, said Carys Craig, associate dean of research and institutional relations, who will speak on AI and copyright.

Carys Craig
Carys Craig

“I’m very excited about this conference,” she said. “Osgoode is known for its thought leadership and critical, interdisciplinary thinking, which is exactly what is needed as Canada grapples with the rapid acceleration of AI across almost every facet of society.”

The featured speakers will also include Professor Barnali Choudhury, director of the Nathanson Centre.

“Although AI offers numerous opportunities to society, it also poses risks, particularly in relation to human rights and security,” Choudhury noted. “Lawyers should be well versed in these risks to ensure that AI use aligns with legal standards.”

 Barnali Choudhury
Barnali Choudhury

The conference’s comprehensive examination of artificial intelligence will include the growing use of generative AI, which powers tools like ChatGPT, said Professor Valerio De Stefano, a co-organizer of the event and a panellist who will address today’s challenging issues around AI and work. 

“The law will have to react to a lot of the challenges that arise from artificial intelligence in order for society to thrive on the opportunities that AI offers,” he noted.

De Stefano said that almost no area of the law will be left untouched, including criminal, copyright, labour and tax law. Conference speakers will also dig into the implications of AI for legal ethics, practice and education.

Valerio De Stefano
Valerio De Stefano

“It’s extremely important that lawyers, both academics and practitioners, start discussing how to react to all these new things that are coming out of the AI landscape – and this is the opportunity to do that,” he added. “There’s a lot of people at Osgoode that do top-notch, groundbreaking research on law and technology.”

Other speakers will include Professor Jonathon Penney, who will examine whether AI safety standards are really safe, and Professor Allan Hutchinson, who will discuss AI and law’s multiplicity. Rounding out the list of Osgoode experts are Professor Sean Rehaag, PhD student Alexandra Scott and Osgoode PhD alumnus Jake Okechukwu Effoduh, now a law professor at Toronto Metropolitan University.

In the afternoon, De Stefano will chair a roundtable discussion on AI, due process and legal ethics. Panellists will include: Dean Farrow; Professor Patricia McMahon; Professor Richard Haigh; Glenn Stuart, the executive director of professional regulation for the Law Society of Ontario; and Professor Amy Salyzyn of the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law.

Registration is required. For more information about the event, email nathansoncentre@osgoode.yorku.ca and copy vdestefano@osgoode.yorku.ca.

Osgoode student lawyers save family from deportation

Statue of justice

With only 11 hours to spare, two student lawyers from Osgoode Hall Law School’s Community & Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) saved the parents of a York University student from family breakup and deportation to Colombia, where they faced potential danger or even death.

When second-year student Brandon Jeffrey Jang and third-year student Emma Sandri learned on Dec. 18 that the Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) had ordered the parents of a fellow student to be deported on a Colombia-bound plane on Jan. 18, they worked tirelessly over the winter break to prepare about 1,000 pages of legal submissions to stop it – on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

Osgoode students Brandon Jeffrey Jang (left) and Emma Sandri (right).
Osgoode students Brandon Jeffrey Jang (left) and Emma Sandri (right).

The student’s father became a target of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in the early 1990s when he was a candidate for the country’s Liberal Party, actively working to prevent youth from joining the paramilitary organization. After several threats and acts of physical violence, the family fled to the United States. They returned to Colombia seven years later, but remained in danger and fled again, eventually making their way to Canada in 2009. With the Colombian peace process currently faltering and FARC still a viable force, the family believes their safety could still be threatened if they return to their home country.

The couple’s adult son is a student in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science and their daughter is set to graduate from Queen’s University and plans to study medicine. The son and daughter, who already have permanent residency status in Canada, faced being separated from their parents as well as possible academic repercussions if the deportation had gone ahead as scheduled.

The CLASP team’s request to save this family from deportation was initially denied by the CBSA, so they filed two supporting applications with the Federal Court, under the supervision of CLASP review counsel Subodh Bharati. On Jan. 17, just one day before the scheduled deportation, they appeared in person before a Federal Court judge in Toronto to make their case for the family – and they succeeded.

The parents – who have become actively involved in their Toronto community, volunteering during the pandemic, for example, to deliver food to house-bound, immune-compromised residents – expressed their gratitude to the CLASP team in an emotional email.

“Thank you very much for all the effort that you put in our case,” the mother wrote. “I don’t have enough words to express what I feel right now and to say thank you. You are the best lawyers that Toronto has.”

Their joy was shared by Jang and Sandri.

“We were just so happy,” said Jang about hearing news of the successful stay application. “We’ve built a close connection with the family and we’ve all worked extremely hard on this case.”

Jang said the experience has confirmed his desire to pursue a career in immigration law – and this summer he will work for Toronto immigration law firm Green and Spiegel LLP.

Sandri said preparing hundreds of pages of court applications in a month was a tremendous challenge, but learning that the family can stay in Canada as a result of their efforts was a huge relief and incredibly rewarding.

“It was difficult, in terms of wanting to put out our best work in such a limited time span,” she explained, “and we really felt the pressure of the fact that these people’s lives were possibly at stake.”

As they waited for the court decision, she added, “we both couldn’t sleep because we were thinking about what’s going to happen to this family and we were really stressing about that.”

In the wake of the court decision, Bharati said, the parents can now obtain work permits while they wait for the Federal Court to hear judicial reviews of previous decisions that rejected their applications for permanent residency status.

With the students’ time at CLASP nearing an end, Jang and Sandri expressed special appreciation for Bharati’s guidance and trust.

“All of our experiences at the clinic leading up to this case prepared us for the uphill battle we confronted when fighting for this family,” said Jang. “The result was a total team effort on everybody’s part and it was all worth it.”

Osgoode leads in applications for third year running

Osgoode Hall Law School

For the third consecutive year, York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School has attracted more applications for its juris doctor (JD) program than any other law school in Ontario – and, according to school administrators, this is no coincidence.

Recently released statistics from the Ontario Law School Application Service, a division of the Ontario University Application Centre in Guelph, Ont., reveal that Osgoode received 2,867 applications in 2023 for its 2024-25 first-year class of 315 students.

Marcos Ramos Jr.
Marcos Ramos Jr.

“I think one powerful thing that our admissions numbers show is that we are highly desired, highly sought after,” said Marcos Ramos Jr., manager of admissions and student financial services at Osgoode.

“But also,” he added, “when you look at our numbers closely, we have one of the most diverse classes of students within Canada, if not the most.”

That impressive diversity, he said, is a reflection of the law school’s long-standing holistic admissions policy – which takes into account more than just grades or Law School Admission Test scores. When considering potential students, Osgoode’s recruiters look beyond strong academic skills to each applicant’s life story and passions.

“Show me the passion,” said Ramos Jr. “Show me how you want to contribute.”

Osgoode also prioritizes a determined effort by recruiters to create Canada’s most diverse law school because, Ramos. Jr said, law students educated in that environment simply become better lawyers.

“Academics are essential,” he noted, “but what makes an excellent lawyer is your social skills. And we’re bringing to students an understanding of different walks of life – be it class, race, or creed.”

In the process, Osgoode hasn’t just created a highly sought after and diverse law school. It’s helping make the legal field – and the world – a better place.

Osgoode’s Sikh law students create first-of-its-kind national network

Group of Indian friends at the park

Members of the fledgling Osgoode Sikh Students Association (OSSA) – the first group of its kind in Canada – are playing a key role in bringing Sikh law students together. Not just at Osgoode Hall Law School, but across the country.

The rigours and demands of law school can be a challenge under the best of circumstances, but even more so without support. “The feeling of community in law school can make or break a student’s experience,” says Dalraj Singh Gill, co-president of the OSSA, which was launched in the summer of 2022 and aims to improve its members’ law school experience.

Tripat Kaur Sandhu (left) and Dalraj Singh Gill (right), co-presidents of the Osgoode Sikh Students Association, receiving the Osgoode Student Club Award for Community Building.

Third-year Osgoode student and OSSA co-president Tripat Kaur Sandhu and Osgoode graduate Karen Kaur Randhawa, a co-founder of the group, established the group with the hope that the initiative would benefit not only Sikh students at the law school, but the wider Osgoode community, the legal profession at large and Sikh law students across Canada.

Gill – a 2025 candidate in the Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration program at Osgoode and Shulich – said one way the organization is looking to accomplish that is by helping Sikh students to remain rooted in the central principles of the Sikh faith, including the pursuit of justice and standing against oppression – ideals that are also relevant to the practice of law. 

Members also hope OSSA, through events and activities, can help improve understanding of the Sikh community at Osgoode and provide a platform to advocate for Sikh issues and other racialized and minority communities at the school.

“Our goal, among others,” said Gill, “is to tackle systemic barriers which prevent Sikh students and persons of colour from accessing the legal profession.”

Since establishing OSSA, the co-founders have actively reached out to Sikh law students across Canada, encouraging and supporting their efforts to launch chapters at their own universities. And their outreach has proven successful, with many Sikh Students Association (SSA) chapters popping up across the country throughout 2023 – at the University of Ottawa in January, at Toronto Metropolitan University in February, at the University of Windsor in May, at Thompson Rivers University in the summer and at Queens University in the fall. This year, an SSA chapter is being eyed at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Last year, the Osgoode Legal & Literary Society recognized OSSA’s impactful work with its annual Student Club Award for Community Building.

“We are also hoping to get in touch with B.C. law schools,” said Gill, “and then later expand across to law schools in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and at Dalhousie in Nova Scotia.”

Gill added that although the SSA chapters are not affiliated with the Canadian Association of Sikh Lawyers, his group’s goal is to create a Canada-wide network and community that will extend to alumni groups and established legal professionals. A longer-term goal is to eventually host a national conference involving all SSA chapters.

Students launch clothing drive for job seekers in need

Clothing donation

In competitive careers like law, first impressions can be last impressions if prospects don’t present a professional image. But for some law students, having the appropriate clothing for on-campus interviews or other formal occasions is not always a luxury they can afford. That’s why the Osgoode Venture Capital Law Society (OVCLS) is holding its first-ever clothing drive on Jan. 17 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Goodmans LLP Junior Common Room in the Ignat Kaneff Building on York University’s Keele Campus.

“Outside of the financial burden associated with attending law school, interviewing and recruitment periods also bear less obvious but equally burdensome costs associated with the process,” said Osgoode student Emma Kirwin, director of communications for the OVCLS.

“The cost of formal business attire can create an additional financial barrier that often goes unacknowledged,” she added. “Alleviating this burden can help students feel more confident, prepared and less stressed during an already stressful and arduous period.”

Emma Kirwin and Yianni Patiniotis
Emma Kirwin (left) and Yianni Patiniotis (right) of the Osgoode Venture Capital Law Society.

Yianni Patiniotis, a second-year student in Osgoode’s Juris Doctor/Master of Business Administration Program and the co-director of external relations for OVCLS, said the organization hopes the inaugural clothing drive will become an annual event that involves other Osgoode student clubs.

“During recruitment and at other times when we’ve been in corporate business settings, we’ve realized how fortunate we were to not have to stress too much about the business attire that we were required to wear,” said Patiniotis.

“If anything,” he added, “we had options to choose from. But we recognized that not all our peers and colleagues have that luxury.”

OVCLS is seeking donations of lightly used suit jackets, dress pants, dress shirts, belts, ties, dress socks and shoes, including heels or flats for women.

The organizers plan to donate the clothing collected to Dress for Success Toronto and Suits Me Fine at Toronto’s Centre for Addiction & Mental Health. Osgoode students who need business attire will need to access it through those charities.