Congratulations to LAO’s Queen’s Diamond Jubilee winners

Friday, February 15, 2013

Three legal aid clinic leaders were recently honoured with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee for their dedication to social justice:

  • Jayne Mallin, Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic
  • Marion Overholt, Executive director of Legal Assistance and Community Legal Aid in Windsor
  • Judith Wahl, Executive director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly

Read on to learn about their accomplishments.

Jayne Mallin

Jayne Mallin
Jayne Mallin, Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, receiving the Queen's Diamond Jubilee from Kirsty Duncan, Member of Parliament for Etobicoke North

Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic

When Member of Parliament Kirsty Duncan awarded Jayne Mallin, Director of Legal Services at Rexdale Community Legal Clinic, the Queen's Diamond Jubilee at a ceremony in the GTA’s Rexdale Community Hub on Thurs., Jan. 24, she couldn’t help but pay Jayne a tribute from her heart.

“Not a day goes by that I don’t refer someone to Jayne’s clinic,” she said.

Jayne is a lawyer who has dedicated her career over the past 13 years to tirelessly advocating for people living in poverty in Guelph, Kitchener and the Greater Toronto Area.

Before moving to her current position, Jayne worked at Legal Aid Ontario and the Legal Clinic Guelph & Wellington County. In Rexdale, she has been instrumental in developing the Rexdale Community Hub – a group of 10 not-for-profit agencies housed in a former schoolhouse – and integrating the work of the Youth Justice Initiative Clinic, legal aid services and the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic with the work of the hub.

In addition, she sits on so many different agency boards she literally can’t remember them all. She guest lectures at Humber Lakeshore College and helps train Toronto Police Services platoons on youth justice.

“I am humbled and honoured by this award,” she says. “I share it with my team, who are as engaged and involved with this community as I am."

“I love this work and I love this community. It has so many strengths! In the face of challenges like poverty, gun violence, gangs and, for its many immigrants, the need to adapt to Canadian society, people here take such pride in their community and are galvanized to work together to really deal with its problems.”

Marion Overholt

Marion Overholt
Marion Overholt, executive director of Legal Assistance of Windsor and Community Legal Aid, with Joe Comartin, Member of Parliament for Windsor Tecumseh.

Executive director of Community Legal Aid and Legal Assistance in Windsor

On Jan. 23, 2013, Marion Overholt, an expert in public benefits law who has practiced in Windsor and Essex County for 30 years, was awarded a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal in a public ceremony at the Windsor Yacht club hosted by Joe Comartin, Member of Parliament for Windsor Tecumseh.

“I was deeply honoured to receive this medal, because it recognizes the importance of the work of our legal clinics to this community,” said Marion.

She knows of what she speaks.

As executive director of Legal Assistance of Windsor and Community Legal Aid, Marion represents clients in public law and trains law students in the practice of poverty law and how to systematically advocate for clients.

Her track record also includes chairing the Provincial Steering Committee on Social Assistance and other social justice coalitions, and sitting on the boards of numerous community agencies, including the Windsor District Labour Council, the Pathway to Potential Income Support Group and the Advocacy Sub-Committee of the Windsor Community Start Up Taskforce.

Most recently, she made the front page of the Windsor Star for supporting Windsor city council’s decision to defer dramatic cuts to Windsor’s housing and homelessness programs. “It’s a very positive move,” she said. “It shows good will on the part of the mayor and council.”

She can hang her Diamond Jubilee award next to her Law Society of Upper Canada Bicentennial Award of Merit, her 29th Charles E. Brooks Labour Community Service Award and her 2007 Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario award for Women Working in Social Activism.

Judith Wahl

Judith Wahl
From left to right: Lenny Abramowicz, executive director of the Association of Community Legal Clinics of Ontario; Alex Henderson, Vice-Chair of ACE board; Tammy Gillard, ACE senior support; Lisa Romano, ACE research lawyer; Judith Wahl, ACE executive director; Jane Meadus, ACE institutional advocate and staff lawyer; the Hon. Alice Wong, M.P., Minister of State (Seniors); Graham Webb, ACE senior litigation lawyer; Maleksultan Kaba, ACE office manager. Missing: Rita Chrolavicius, ACE staff lawyer.

Executive director, Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE), Toronto

The Hon. Alice Wong, Federal Minister for Seniors, presented Judith Wahl with a well-earned Diamond Jubilee medal at a ceremony in Toronto on Jan. 24, 2013. As executive director of the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly (ACE) since its inception in 1984 – five years after she was called to the bar – Judith earned this honour for 33 years of passionate advocacy and legal and political efforts defending the rights of older adults and developing elder law as an area of practice.

Upon accepting the medal, Judith proudly said, “This medal is a recognition of the work done by everyone at the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly, and I thank the Governor General and the Minister of Seniors for this acknowledgement of our work for and on behalf of older Canadians.”

In addition to her role as driving force behind the development of the ACE as Canada’s first and still preeminent legal clinic that focuses on elder law issues, Judith has devoted herself to a multitude of other causes that support the rights of senior citizens. She has been actively involved in bar association activities related to elder law. Her many years of representing elderly clients earned her the expertise to represent ACE in government consultations on policy development and law reform affecting older adults.

She is currently the executive director and is past chair of the Canadian Bar Association's Elder Law Section. She has been the Vice-Chair of the National Initiative for Care of the Elderly, has taught law and aging courses at McMaster University and the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Social Work. She was instrumental in developing training courses for police officers on elder law issues at the Ontario and Toronto Police Colleges.

Her political activities have been legion as well. Judith was on the committee that recommended the passage of the Advocacy Act, Substitute Decisions Act and Health Care Consent Act. She was then appointed by Ontario’s Attorney General to chair the Implementation Committee for these three seminal pieces of legislation. She also assisted the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group in staging two national consultations on elder abuse issues.

On top of all this, Judith has contributed to ACE submissions on many issues, including retirement home regulation, long-term care reform, health consent and advance care planning, elder abuse prevention, home care reform, hospital discharge legal issues and privacy of health information.

She can add this medal to her Ontario Bar Association Award for Distinguished Service in 2008 and Osgoode Hall Law School Gold Key Award for Public Service in 2006.


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