Hello somebody! Here’s what I’m up to

I’m legal counsel with the Law Commission of Ontario. I recently concluded a big health law reform project reviewing laws in Ontario that shape palliative care, end-of-life care, and medical assistance in dying. We consulted over 800 people at 73 events and made 56 recommendations. I’m now looking forward to releasing a really exciting report about our concurrent engagement on Indigenous health law, in early 2022.

I am now leading two projects about digital rights. The first aims to develop a made-in-Ontario approach to modernizing consumer rights on digital platforms. The second is starting a “lifecycle analysis” of how artificial intelligence is likely to impact criminal investigations, prosecutions, and trials in Ontario. What kind of legal regulatory and human rights approaches are important in “smart cities” with automated surveillance? Or to guarantee rights in relation to profiling of your online shopping or browsing in the digital marketplace? Or protections from algorithmic bias in policing, applying for a job, or even in reading online news? I’m really excited about this work, and it seems to be attracting interest.

Earlier in 2016 I led Legal Aid Ontario’s efforts to design and launch their first ever province-wide Mental Health Strategy, following a multi-year consultation and development process. The Strategy introduces big picture concepts and concrete improvements to make legal aid work better for people with mental health and addictions issues. A lot of great perspectives went into the multi-year strategy, so check it out.

It’s also a joy and a privilege to teach. In 2020 I concluded nine years teaching mental health law and advocacy at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law. In 2021 I was delighted to join Osgoode Hall Law School to teach mental health law in their Professional Health Law LLM Program, where I was deeply honored to be nominated for the teaching award that year.

Giving talks is also great. Like hosting the LCO’s recent online panel discussion about regulatory and litigation responses to artificial intelligence (December 2021), or at the National Judicial Institute on AI in the Courtroom (May 2020) and the Law Society of Ontario’s Special Lecture Series on AI in the Practice of Law (November 2019). My favorite was back in 2017 when I asked Parliament to do better for criminally accused with mental health needs. Mostly though I was just thrilled to get a mention in the NY Times to advocate for some friends of mine. Woo!

The other big project has been building political consensus about the need to protect innocent people from background check discrimination. We did a lot of work with the police over the last few years, and the Ontario government introduced legislation to make it stick. And it’s now been proposed as a national standard by the Uniform Law Commission of Canada. Good stuff.

Most recently I’ve taken a fancy to board gaming with the fam, enjoying new titles like Karuba and Santorini and Unmatched that are great for kids and adults alike. Looking forward to the summer so I can get back to the park with my kids and enjoy a thermos mimosa in the sunshine.

Thanks for visiting!