A Call to Duty: Young Lawyers Volunteer for Law Day Across Ontario

  • 05 décembre 2018
  • Aly Virani, lawyer at Blaney McMurtry LLP

The Ontario Bar Association (OBA) Young Lawyers Division (YLD) Executive calls upon you to inspire a passion for law in local students by volunteering in the OBA Law Day program. The OBA Law Day website provides a brief background on Law Day's origination in Canada:

Originated by the Canadian Bar Association and first held in Canada in 1983, Law Day is a national event celebrating the signing of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, aimed at educating and informing the public about the role and importance of the law and the justice system. Law Day enhances the public’s understanding of the law, the role of lawyers and judges, and empowers the public at large. The OBA celebrates Law Day annually with three main programs: Elementary School Mock Trials (ESMT), OBA-OJEN Competitive Mock Trials (OOCMT), and Your ChARTer.

This is my second year sitting on the OBA Law Day Committee, and since day one, I have stressed the importance of engaging schools in Toronto’s priority neighbourhoods (among others). In my respectful view, nowhere is Law Day more important than in our low-income neighbourhoods, where, based on a recent University of Toronto study, visible minorities and new Canadians make up 68 per cent of the population and the average individual income is $32,000 a year before tax.

In such communities, the legal profession and the understanding of law can often be seen as daunting, and something that is unattainable for those who look around them and see no one in the profession who has a similar background, contacts or history. I was one of those students, having spent my formative years growing up in East Scarborough.