Canadian Lawyer

June 2021

The most widely read magazine for Canadian lawyers

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Page 10 of 35 9 Pandemic slows down processing of study permits, permanent resident applications Naseem Mithoowani is a lawyer at Mithoowani Wald- man Immigration Law Group and focuses on business immigration, personal immigration and administra- tive law. She is also an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, where she teaches immigration and refugee law. She was recently appointed an adjudicator on the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for a part-time, five-year term. Mithoowani spoke about the immigration practice and her new role. What interested you initially in immigration law, and what has remained compelling? Immigration law allows you to keep learning. So, every file is very different. One day, I'll be learning about drug cartels in Mexico to try and understand a refugee claim- ant's story. And the next day, I might be learning about a new business venture that my client started up and wants a work permit for. The variety of the work is really interesting in the fact that it incorporates more than just the law. There's a lot of factual content that you're learning about, particular- ly as it relates to the situations in other countries. And you have a real and direct impact on people's lives. So, it's rewarding as well as intellectually stimulating. What do you think has been the most signifi- cant challenge regarding COVID in the immigra- tion practice? Right now, I would say the slowdown in processing. I have many clients who have been waiting a very long time for things like approval on study permits, permanent resident applications. In other areas of the world, visa posts have been largely shut down. And so that's created a huge impact on the individual clients, and I think it's going to be a hard thing for the system, as a whole, to deal with; the backlogs that are going to grow. What interested you in pursuing an adjudica- tor's role at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal? This role is an extension of the work that I've done. I'm interested in looking at it from the other side. I've always been an advocate or a lawyer appearing before a tribunal. And in that experience, I've learned a lot about what makes a good decision-maker — how does a good decision-maker conduct a hearing, how does a good decision-maker allow the parties to make their cases fully. I thought that I could use that experience and also gain that new perspective and new skills sit- ting on the other side of a case. Sex work advocates bring Charter challenge for legal reform A coalition of sex worker rights organizations has filed a notice of application, seeking to strike down sex work prohibitions on Charter grounds. The group says it has grown tired of waiting on the federal Liberal government to repeal a piece of Harper-era legislation. The lawsuit challenges six Criminal Code provisions, which the applicants say violate sex workers' Charter rights to security, personal autonomy, life, liberty, free expression, free association and equality. Divorce Act changes 'a boon' for collaborative law practice: lawyers As the pandemic has produced a rise in divorces and family disputes, the recent enactment of Divorce Act amendments will boost collaborative family law and have more clients resolving their issues outside of a courtroom, say family law lawyers. The Divorce Act amendments came into force on March 1. Among the changes is the new s. 7.3, which states that parties to a proceeding under the act now must deal with conflicts through a family dispute resolution process. Windsor introducing new scholarship for Indigenous law students The University of Windsor Faculty of Law has announced a new scholarship for Indigenous law students, starting this fall, in memory of alumnus Fred Bartley, a Crown attorney. He was instrumental in establishing Gladue courts in Toronto. Bartley died last September before his 53rd birthday. A member of the Serpent River First Nation, he spent 20 years at the Toronto Crown attorney's office after graduating from Windsor in 1996. Q&A Naseem Mithoowani Lawyer MITHOOWANI WALDMAN IMMIGRATION LAW GROUP Practice: Immigration and refugee law Teaching Adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School Called to bar Ontario, 2008 Outside of legal practice » Serves on the board of directors of the Urban Alliance on Race Relations » Speaks publicly about issues that affect racialized communities Education » Osgoode Hall Law School » Graduated in 2007 Legal practice » Mithoowani Waldman Immigration Law Group *answers have been shortened

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