Ms. Huggins is a Partner at Koskie Minsky LLP and the head of the firm’s Employment Law Group. She has expertise in employment law, human rights law, with an emphasis on discrimination on the basis of race and anti-Black racism. Ms Huggins also practices general and commercial litigation.
In the employment law area, Arleen acts on behalf of both employers and employees to provide opinions and to litigate all types of employment-and human rights related disputes at various court levels, including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Divisional Court, the Court of Appeal and before various administrative tribunals. She has extensive experience drafting and negotiating complex employment contracts and related documents for employers and employees. She also represents both employer and employees in long term disability claims.
She also has significant expertise in investigating workplace harassment and discrimination allegations and related matters for corporations, institutions and government. In 2018, Arleen was appointed by the Secretary of the Cabinet for the Ontario Public Service to act as the Independent External Reviewer to review complex Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Program cases from an anti-racism perspective and her Report was publicly released in November 23, 2018.
On April 28, 2020, the Minister of Education appointed Ms. Huggins to conduct an investigation of the Peel District School Board (PDSB) to examine the PDSB’s compliance with the Minister’s 27 binding Directions issued on March 13, 2020, aimed at dismantling structures within the PDSB that perpetuate racism, and in particular, anti-Black racism, and on reforming culture. The Minister of Education released the Report on May 19, 2020: Minister of Education Releases Investigator’s Report on the Peel District School Board.
Ms. Huggins has been a speaker for the Ontario Bar Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, Osgoode Hall Law School Professional Development, the Advocates’ Society and others, presenting at a variety of seminars on employment law, human rights, diversity and inclusion, anti-Black racism as well civil matters. She has authored various articles, papers and reports in her areas of expertise.
Ms. Huggins won a 2016 Lexpert Zenith Award: Celebrating Diversity and Inclusion for her work as a long time Board Member and former President of the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers. She was a five year member and Former Chair of the Canadian Bar Association Standing Committee on Equity and a former committee member and Chair of the Ontario Bar Association Equal Opportunity Committee (for which she won an OBA Linda Adlam Manning Award for Volunteerism). Ms. Huggins was named the recipient of the 2018 Women’s Law Association of Ontario (WLAO) President’s Award for her work throughout her career relating to the promotion and advancement of racialized women in the law and a 2020 recipient of the Law Society of Ontario’s prestigious Law Society Medal for her significant contribution to the profession.
Ms. Huggins served on the Doctors Without Borders Human Resources Committee from 2014 to the fall of 2018 and was appointed as a member of the federal Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee (JAC) for the GTA for a two year term ending December 2018.
Caryma is a Toronto-based lawyer whose practice focuses on housing, criminal, and cannabis law. She represents landlords and tenants at the tribunal and court level. She is the executive director of NORML Canada, a national non-profit organization that aims to eliminate all civil and criminal penalties for private cannabis use. She is an instructor at Seneca College, where she developed the course “Cannabis Law and Ethics.”
An educator at heart, Caryma is frequently called upon by the media as a trusted source for their news stories. Her cases and legal commentary have been featured by reputable media outlets including Associated Press, BNN Bloomberg, CBC, Canadian Lawyer, CityNews Toronto, CP24, CTV, Global Toronto, Globe and Mail, Law Times, Toronto Star, and VICE News.
In December 2019, the Canadian Law Blog Awards recognized Caryma in the “Best Innovative Projects” category for demonstrating “creativity and outside-the-box thinking in a notoriously risk-averse profession.” Her award-winning Landlord & Tenant 101 Comic Series is also available in French, Spanish, German, and Russian.
Community engagement is an important part of Caryma’s approach to practicing law. She hosts monthly free legal information sessions to educate people about their rights and responsibilities. She is part of the Board of Advisors at Legal Line, a federal not-for-profit organization providing access to Canadian laws since 1993.
Caryma combines her passion for law, art, and politics by producing comics. She offers incisive commentary about current issues and events. Her collection can be viewed at carymarules.com
Deborah is a Toronto-area paralegal and one of the founding members and directors of the Ontario Association of Black Paralegals (OABP). She was licensed by the Law Society of Ontario in 2016 and opened her practice in 2018. Deborah has worked in several areas of law including Immigration, Small Claims, Social Justice Tribunals (Human Rights, Social Benefits, Criminal Injuries Compensation) and Consumer Protection. She also holds a degree in Professional Writing and Communications Studies from York University.
In 2020, she organized a group of Black legal professionals to create OABP, an association committed to providing improved and increased access to justice to BIPOC Ontarians, helping Black legal professionals navigate systemic discrimination, and educating all legal professionals on the importance of recognizing, denouncing and combating systemic discrimination in the justice system.
Deborah was recommended by LSO and appointed by the Ministry of the Attorney General to the Legal Aid Ontario Board of Directors in 2021 for a two-year term.
Khaldah Salih is a Community Legal Worker at Black Legal Action Centre (BLAC) and holds a MA from UBC in Gender, Race, Sexuality and Social Justice.
She is from Sudan and grew up largely in the Diaspora. She is interested in humanitarian work, specifically in Sudan and in Africa generally, while also emphasizing and debating its ethics and boundaries. Khaldah contributes to studies and literature on oppression in Sudan, noting the lack of diversity in the knowledge that is available and accessible. Her research is focused on NGOs and political activism in Sudan, exploring the ways in which government policy and international donor funding have impacted the political landscape through NGOs.
The Ontario Paralegal Association is hosting its first-ever Black History Month CPD. Join our esteemed panel for an open-forum discussion centered around the LSO’s WORKING TOGETHER FOR CHANGE: STRATEGIES TO ADDRESS ISSUES OF SYSTEMIC RACISM IN THE LEGAL PROFESSIONS, Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group Final Report.
Topics include the value of diversity and inclusion, understanding power and privilege, unconscious bias and cultural homophily, the impact of daily verbal, behavioural, and environmental indignities, special responsibilities of lawyers and paralegals to respect the Human Rights Laws in force in Ontario, how to prevent and address discrimination and harassment, best practices for workplace diversity and inclusion, concepts and themes arising out of the Final Report of the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group and more.
This program has been accredited for 1 hour and 50 minutes of Professionalism Content.