HRTO's Yola Grant on Balancing Transparency, Privacy & Expediency

  • 06 janvier 2016

We are pleased to announce that Yola Grant, Associate Chair at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, will be speaking on Thursday, February 4th at an upcoming administrative law program for the OBA’s Institute 2016. Before her time at the HRTO, Yola practised human rights, labour and employment law at Grant & Bernhardt for 13 years, and has also held a number of policy and legal positions in the public sector including, OHSA prosecution, counsel at the Pay Equity Tribunal and the Board of Inquiry (Human Rights). She has also served on boards of charities and non-profits to address violence against women, children’s rights, social housing and anti-racism.

Yola has been involved in critical Charter equality cases in the past, where she was lead counsel for an intervenor, Legal Education and Action Fund, in R. v. R.D.S. at the Supreme Court and argued that the reasonable apprehension of bias test should involve a ‘reasonable’ person imbued with equality principles. She was also co-counsel in Lesiuk v. Canada (Federal Court of Appeal, 2002) where she argued that a government change in employment insurance entitlement was contrary to s.15 because of its disproportionate impact on poor women and those disadvantaged by race, aboriginal status, disability and ethnicity. From both her legal successes, and her personal desire to advance fairness, equality and transparency in tribunal environments, Yola champions positive and effective change in often the most volatile and evolving areas of law. 

Yola has also made significant contributions in the development of procedural fairness in the scope of tribunal adjudication, relating to ensuring timely resolutions, maintaining appropriate flexibility to stream cases depending on their complexity, incorporating necessary accommodations to optimize the participation of parties, and addressing individuals’ privacy concerns through anonymization and limiting disclosure of sensitive information in written decisions. Join in to hear Yola’s expert insight in February at the OBA’s Institute 2016.

With such a breadth of knowledge and experience in her respective areas, attendees are sure to benefit from Yola’s exploration of initiatives that tribunals, including her own, are undertaking in an attempt to balance privacy and transparency in the evolving digital age. Openness and transparency are fundamental elements of our legal system, ensuring integrity and accountability on the part of decision makers. However, this open court principle was established at a time when access to reported decisions was more controlled. Many tribunals and quasi-judicial bodies now publish their decisions in full online, raising a myriad of concerns about the unrestricted public disclosure of sensitive personal and commercial information. With a focussed discussion on anonymization and other efforts being made by tribunals to achieve balance, as well as what can be learned from how the courts address such issues, it’s clear that Yola’s contribution is a necessary part of this expert panel.

To hear Yola speak on this important topic, join us on February 4th, in person or online.

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