Joanna Birenbaum

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LLB (Toronto), of the Bar of Ontario

Joanna Birenbaum is a social justice lawyer with diverse advocacy experience in constitutional equality rights and theory, statutory human rights, international human rights, Aboriginal and treaty rights, and violence against women. From 2008 to 2012, Ms. Birenbaum was the legal director of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), which role included appearing as counsel for LEAF at the Supreme Court of Canada in equality rights and criminal law appeals, drafting expert submissions to House of Commons standing committees, guest lecturing and media relations

Her practice at Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP specializes in equality and human rights; professional discipline and regulation; employment law; and criminal law, civil litigation, research and policy development relating to domestic violence, sexual assault, women’s rights and access to justice.

Ms. Birenbaum recently appeared as co-counsel for the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic at the Supreme Court of Canada on the privacy and equality rights of sexual assault complainants. On behalf of the YWCA Canada, she developed and taught a national legal information curriculum designed to improve access to justice for Aboriginal women experiencing family violence.

Her recent publications include: Joanna Birenbaum, Kelly Gallagher Mackay, “From Equal Access to Individual Exit:  The Invisibility of Systemic Discrimination in Moore” (2013) 10 JL & Equality 93-112; and Joanna Birenbaum, Isabel Grant, “Taking Threats Seriously:  s.264.1 Threats as a Form of Domestic Violence” (2012) 59 Criminal Law Quarterly 206-236.

Ms. Birenbaum will be working with Osgoode’s Institute for Feminist Legal Studies (IFLS) to develop an experiential program in domestic violence/feminist law reform.