Nancy Cooper awarded 2022 Sidney B. Linden Award
Published: April 6, 2023
Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is pleased to announce that Nancy Cooper is the 2022 recipient of the Sidney B. Linden Award, which is given each year to exceptional individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to access to justice for low-income Ontarians.
Nancy was pleased when she first heard of her nomination but admitted she did not think it would go much further beyond that.
“There are so many exceptional individuals across the province who work tirelessly for people in very difficult circumstances,” she said. “I was stunned to learn that I was the selected recipient for this year. It is a great honour. Access to justice has always been a deeply felt principle for me. It is what draws me to continue working for legally aided clients year after year, particularly in northern Indigenous communities.”
A well-known advocate
Nancy is well known for the high degree of professionalism in her legal work and dedication to the needs of the Indigenous communities in Timmins and its surrounding communities. Throughout her distinguished career, she has provided legal services in primarily criminal law but also in family law and child protection.
Nancy’s many years of work and dedication to legal aid clients includes accepting certificates, appearing as a per diem duty counsel, and serving on LAO’s Board from 2009 until 2020.
“The decision was unanimous,” said Steve Pengelly, Chair of LAO. “Throughout her career, Nancy has devoted her time and care to representing Indigenous people as well as low-income people in northern Ontario. She has always been a voice and advocate for those who need it the most.”
“Nancy has always stepped up”
Ryan Peck, executive director of the HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario, nominated Ms. Cooper. He reminisced about meeting her in 2017 and being “immediately struck by her incredible smarts, empathy, curiosity, dedication and likability.”
He noted that, for over 30 years, Nancy has combined frontline legal aid work with systemic work aimed at addressing the root causes of her clients’ legal issues.
“Nancy has always stepped up to provide the legal services that people require,” Ryan said. “For many years, on top of her busy day jobs, Nancy still made time to act as Nishnawbe-Aski duty counsel in the remote northern First Nation of Moose Cree.”
Former LAO Chair, John McCamus, agreed. He added, “Simply stated, Nancy Cooper is a wonderful person and superb lawyer who has made an enormous contribution to the welfare of Northern Ontario Indigenous communities through her legal aid work and in many other ways. I cannot imagine a more suitable candidate for the Sidney B. Linden award.”
LAO will honour Ms. Cooper at a ceremony in the spring.
About the award
LAO’s Sidney B. Linden Award recognizes exceptional individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to helping low-income Ontarians in the pursuit of access to justice.