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Asper Centre & IHRP student working group Information and Sign-up session

September 10, 2019 @ 12:30 pm - 2:00 pm

For current JD students at UTLaw only

JD students in all years can volunteer with one of the Asper Centre student working groups, or IHRP student working groups that are led by upper year law students. Working groups draft policy briefs, organize workshops, and conduct research on emerging constitutional/charter rights issues and international human rights topics.

This year, the Asper Centre is pleased to support the following 4 working groups:

I. Right to Equality in Accommodation: Access to adequate, appropriate, and affordable housing is a growing problem for many people in Ontario, especially those from marginalized groups. Low vacancy rates make affordable housing more difficult to find, and also increase the potential for housing discrimination, because landlords can be highly selective. Section 21.1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code states that the right to equal treatment with respect to accommodation does not apply where an accommodation is in a dwelling where the occupants share a kitchen or bathroom with the landlord or their family. This means that Ontarians who would otherwise be protected from discrimination based on code grounds are not.  This working group will be assisting CERA (the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation) by preparing a research memo on the exemption of shared residential accommodation from the human rights code, which will support CERA’s future goal of challenging the constitutionality of S. 21.1 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

II. Sex Workers Rights: The Protection of Communities and Exploited Persons Act, SC 2014, c 25 [PCEPA] was introduced in response to the Supreme Court of Canada’s 2013 decision in Bedford v Canada, where the Court found that three Criminal Code provisions which criminalized components of sex work unjustifiably violated section 7 of the Charter and struck them down. The PCEPA includes new provisions that criminalize the purchase of sexual services in Canada and other related activities such as advertising the sale of sexual services. Sex worker organizations and constitutional experts believe that these new provisions remain unconstitutional because many of the harms identified in Bedford continue to be perpetuated. The continuation of these harms under a new legal context means that a new constitutional analysis is necessary. This working group will develop a comprehensive memo that provides information that could assist in a constitutional challenge of the post-Bedford sex work laws by key sex-worker organizations in Canada.

III. Refugee and Immigration Law: Recently, there have been incidents in which CBSA (Canadian Border Services Agency) officers have randomly conducted street checks in minority-populated Toronto neighbourhoods. In light of the United States ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) raids and immigration camps, these events are extremely concerning. Thus, HALCO (the HIV/AIDS Legal Aid Clinic of Ontario) is looking to collaborate with our longstanding Refugee and Immigration working group to create a plain-language public legal information brochure detailing the powers of a CBSA agent and an individual’s rights when interacting with them. The working group will research and develop the brochure under the supervision of a staff immigration lawyer at HALCO.

IV. Climate Justice: November 18th, 2019 is ‘Student Law Clinic Global Day of Action for Climate Justice.’ The event organizers (GAJE, the Global Alliance for Justice Education) have asked participating student legal clinics to choose a project related to air pollution and complete it by or on November 18th to mark the date. This student working group will prepare an opinion piece on the Ontario government’s potential constitutional obligations with respect to regulating air pollution in Chemical Valley. The OpEd will urge the provincial government to honour its commitment to evaluating the impact of the new regulations in the winter of 2019-2020, and to recognize the role it can and should play in protecting environmental rights.  In the second term, the group will have the opportunity to brainstorm and work together on another climate justice/constitutional law related project.

Learn more at O-week Clubs Fair (September 5th) and at the Information & Sign Up session on Tuesday September 10, 2019 at 12:30 in J250 (Moot Court).

PLEASE NOTE: to be eligible to sign up for one of the above working groups, you must attend the September 10th Information & Sign-up Session.

For more information, please email:


September 10, 2019
12:30 pm - 2:00 pm


J250 Jackman Law Building