Jamie Cameron (Program Chair)

Professor Jamie Cameron has been a full-time member of the faculty at Osgoode Hall Law School since 1984. She holds law degrees from McGill University and Columbia University, clerked at the Supreme Court of Canada for the Hon. Justice Brian Dickson, and was on the faculty at Cornell Law School before joining Osgoode. Today, Professor Cameron is one of Canada’s senior constitutional scholars, whose research and teaching interests focus on the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, freedom of expression and the press, the Supreme Court of Canada, criminal law, American constitutional law, and judicial biography. She has written extensively in these areas; has been the editor and co-editor of a dozen book collections; and has chaired and co-chaired many conferences and events. She has been a Director of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for more than 20 years (and past vice-president) and has represented the CCLA in cases at the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been on the Board of Editors for the Ontario Reports for more than 25 years and is currently a member of the Advisory Board for the Centre for Free Expression (Ryerson University). Professor Cameron was appointed to the Ontario Review Board in 2013, and in 2018 was appointed to the Nunavut Review Board.

Lorne Sossin

Lorne Sossin served as Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School (2010-2018). Prior to this appointment, he was a Professor with the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto (2002-2010). He is a former Associate Dean of the University of Toronto (2004-2007) and served as the inaugural Director of the Centre for the Legal Profession (2008-2010). Previously (1997-2002), he was a faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School, and the Department of Political Science, at York University. His teaching interests span administrative and constitutional law, the regulation of professions, civil litigation, public policy and the judicial process. Professor Sossin was a law clerk to former Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada, a former Associate in Law at Columbia Law School and a former litigation lawyer with the firm of Borden & Elliot (now Borden Ladner Gervais LLP).

Alexander (Sandy) Simpson

Dr. Simpson is Associate Professor and Head of the Division of Forensic Psychiatry of the Department of Psychiatry, University of Toronto and is Chief of Forensic Psychiatry and Clinician Scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.

He has served in directorial and advisory roles on the International Association of Forensic Mental Health Services, the International Academy of Psychiatry and Law, and the Canadian Academy of Psychiatry and Law and is a member of multiple Committees of the American Academy of Psychiatry and Law. He is a member of the Editorial Board of Criminal Behaviour and Mental Health, the Canadian Journal of Psychiatry and the International Journal of Risk and Recovery. He has over 100 refereed papers, book chapters and monographs.

His academic, teaching and research interests are in the area of the interaction of the law and people with serious mental illness (SMI): how we understand pathways to risk, into criminal justice system and for therapeutic intervention and recovery. He is committed to improved understandings, services, outcomes and jurisprudence for persons with SMI who are criminal justice involved. His clinical and service development activities are currently in correctional mental health including in research and in international networks.

Ronda Bessner

Professor Ronda Bessner has been involved in a wide range of areas of the law, including academia, policy work and public inquiries. Bessner’s areas of teaching have been Criminal Law, Evidence, and Children and the Law.

Ronda received her Bachelor of Civil Law (BCL) and Bachelor of Law (LLB) from McGill Law School and her Masters of Law (LLM) from Harvard Law School. Ronda, together with Susan Lightstone, are the authors of Public Inquiries in Canada: Law and Practice, published in 2017. Ronda is a member of the Consent and Capacity Board.

She is the author of many published articles on child abuse, evidence, criminal law, state intervention in pregnancy, and HIV/AIDS. She has made numerous presentations on these and other subjects at universities, the Canadian Bar Association, the Law Society of Upper Canada, for the Ontario Court of Justice, and at conferences. She has been interviewed on numerous occasions by the media. She was formerly the Assistant Dean (JD) at Osgoode, where she developed and implemented the Academic Success Program.

Mr. Justice Richard D. Schneider

The Honourable Mr. Justice Richard D. Schneider, B.Sc., M.A., Ph.D., LL.B., LL.M., C.Psych. Is a Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice (appointed 2000), Deputy Judge of the Territorial Court of Yukon, and Chair of the Ontario Review Board, and Alternate Chair of the Nunavut Review Board. He was previously a criminal defence lawyer and certified clinical psychologist. Counsel to the Ontario Review Board from 1994 to 2000. Certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in Criminal Litigation. Private practice was generally limited to the representation of mentally disordered accused. Also, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine and Faculty of Law, University of Toronto. Named Honorary President of the Canadian Psychological Association in 2002.  A great deal of his time has been spent presiding at the Mental Health Court in Toronto [www.mentalhealthcourt.ca]. Major research interests are competency and criminal responsibility. Has published extensively in the area of mental disorder and the law. Recent books include: Mental Disorder and the Law: A primer for legal and mental health professionals (2006, with H. Bloom); Mental Health Courts: Decriminalizing the Mentally Ill (2007, with H. Bloom and M. Heerema); Annotated Mental Health Statutes (2007); The Lunatic and the Lords (2009); Law and Mental Disorder: A Comprehensive and Practical Approach (2013, with H. Bloom); Mental Disorder and the Law: A primer for legal and mental health professionals (2nd Ed., 2017, with H. Bloom);  [all published by Irwin Law / www.irwinlaw.com].

Margaret Creal

Marg Creal is the Chair of the Consent and Capacity Board. Marg served as an Assistant Crown Attorney in downtown Toronto for 27 years during which time she acquired significant experience in mental health issues in the criminal law context. She was a Designated Specialist in mental disorder, appeared regularly before the Ontario Review Board, assisted in the development of and was a designated Crown in Toronto’s Mental Health Court for many years, appeared briefly in Drug Treatment Court, and was a member of MAG’s Mental Health and Justice Advisory Committee.  Ms. Creal was co-counsel to the Coroner in the Inquest into the death of Ashley Smith and led the evidence in relation to Ms. Smith’s complex and difficult mental health problems. In 2015 Ms. Creal was appointed full-time Chair of the Consent and Capacity Board.

Ben L. Berger

Professor Benjamin Berger is a Full Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School and served as Associate Dean (Students) from 2015-2018.  He holds an appointment as an Associate Professor (status only) in the Department for the Study of Religion at the University of Toronto and is a member of the faculty of the Graduate Program in Socio-Legal Studies at York University.  Prior to joining Osgoode, Professor Berger was an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Law, and was cross-appointed in the Department of Philosophy, at the University of Victoria, where he began teaching in 2004.  He holds a JSD and LLM from Yale University, where he studied as a Fulbright Scholar, earned his LLB from the University of Victoria, and served as law clerk to the Rt. Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada.

Lucy Costa

Lucy Costa is Deputy Executive Director of The Empowerment Council, an independent service user rights-based organization in Toronto Canada. She works as a community activist and advocate promoting the rights of mental health service users/survivors as well as encouraging critical analysis about service user inclusion in the mental health sector. She has written a number of articles and blogs, and is co-editor of a forthcoming book entitled, Madness, Violence and Power: A Radical Collection due May 2019 through University of Toronto Press as well as a special edition of the Journal of Ethics and Mental Health on the topic of peer labour and service user inclusion due winter 2018.

Mercedes Perez

B.A., University of Toronto; M.A., University of Chicago; LL.B. McGill University.  Called to the Ontario Bar in 2003.  Partner at Perez Bryan Procope LLP with focused expertise in administrative and constitutional law, civil litigation and appeals.

Mercedes has represented clients before a range of administrative tribunals and at all levels of court in Ontario, Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada.  She specializes in mental health/ capacity law, guardianship proceedings, disability rights, police and correctional abuse, elder law and Charter litigation. She has advocated on behalf of clients at hundreds of Ontario Review Board and Consent and Capacity Board hearings and is active in appeals from decisions of these tribunals. She has received numerous amicus curiae appointments from the Ontario Court of Appeal in mental health and capacity appeals.

Mercedes co-instructs the Law and Psychiatry course at Osgoode Hall Law School.  As a member and former Vice-Chair of the Mental Health Legal Committee, she has prepared submissions on proposed provincial and federal legislative reform bills. She has been a frequent speaker on capacity, constitutional and administrative law matters at law conferences and continuing legal education programs.

Brendon Pooran

Brendon is a principal lawyer at PooranLaw Professional Corporation.  He is involved in most areas of the firm’s practice and regularly provides advice in the areas of wills & estates planning, disability law and corporate law for not-for-profit and charitable organizations.  In addition to being a lawyer, Brendon teaches at York University, is the Past-President of Community Living York South and is a founding director of Partners for Planning.  He is also a Senior Lawyer Member on the Ontario Consent and Capacity Board.

Shelley Kierstead

Professor Shelley Kierstead’s research interests lie in the areas of family law, access to justice, and dispute resolution.  She has also conducted research in the conflict of laws area, completing a Master of Laws degree focusing on this topic at the University of Toronto 1993.  Professor Kierstead first taught Legal Research and Writing (LRW) at Osgoode in 1993, and became Director of the LRW program at Osgoode in 2002. In 2005, she completed a doctoral dissertation in the family law area and obtained a Doctor of Jurisprudence degree from Osgoode Hall Law School.  Since 1997, Professor Kierstead has also coordinated a parent education program for separating parents entitled the “Parent Information Program.” This program is an initiative of Osgoode’s Centre for Public Law and Public Policy. Research Interests: Family Law, Legal Process

Maria Tassou

Maria Tassou was appointed Associate Chair of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board in April 2016 after acting as the Chair/Associate Chair of the Board since May 2014. Previously, she held the position of Vice-Chair and member since 2007. Over the years, Maria has led numerous transformation initiatives that improved the operational efficiency of the CICB and contributed to a more responsive and user-friendly system for victims of crime. An example is  the development of a triage case management model for processing claims. By using this model, the timeframe to complete a claim at the CICB was reduced by approximately 68% (11.6 months compared to 36 months) despite a 30% reduction in staff. In addition, Maria developed an online interactive virtual tour of CICB’s hearing site and online videos to help parties understand the CICB’s process and what to expect when they attend a hearing.

Pamila Ahlfeld

Pamila Ahlfeld practiced immigration law until 2004 when she joined the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB) as a Member initially with the Refugee Protection Division and later with the Immigration Appeal Division.  After leaving the IRB, she became an Arbitrator at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO).  She was also a Member of the Social Security Tribunal (SST).  Pamila joined the Social Benefits Tribunal (SBT) as a Vice-Chair in 2015.  She is currently the Acting Associate Chair of the SBT.  Pamila holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master of Laws degree in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Mary Asbil

Mary Asbil has been with the Social Justice Tribunals of Ontario since 2009.  Her work has included dispute resolution of ODSP and Ontario Works appeals under the Social Benefits Tribunal as well as  case management of child, youth and family applications under the Child and Family Services Review Board/Custody Review Board.

Mary is currently the Assistant Registrar for both the case administration unit at SBT and the case management team at CFSRB/CRB.

Jonathan Rudin

Jonathan Rudin received his LL.B. and LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School.  In 1990 he was hired to establish Aboriginal Legal Services and has been with ALS ever since.  Currently he is the Program Director.  Mr. Rudin has appeared before all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada representing ALS in R v. Ipeelee (among other cases).

At ALS he helped establish the Community Council – the first urban Aboriginal justice program in Canada in 1992, and in 2001 helped establish the Gladue (Aboriginal Persons) Court at the Old City Hall Courts in Toronto.

Mr. Rudin has written and spoken widely on issues of Aboriginal justice.  His book, Indigenous People and the Criminal Justice System was released by Emond Publishing earlier this year.

Mr. Rudin also teaches on a part-time basis in the Department of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies at York University.  Last but not least, he plays the mandolin and sings with Gordon’s Acoustic Living Room, a group that plays regularly in Toronto and has a number of videos on YouTube.

Howard Sapers

On January 1, 2017 Howard Sapers was appointed Independent Advisor on Corrections Reform for the province of Ontario. In May 2017, he released his first report titled, Segregation in Ontario, which provided the Ministry of Community and Correctional Services with advice and recommendations on ways to reduce the use of segregation, improve conditions of confinement for those segregated and enhance accountability and transparency in the segregation process.  A second report, Corrections in Ontario: Directions for Reform, was released in October 2017 and called for transformative change in numerous areas of correctional operation.  In total, the two reports contained 125 recommendations.  Based upon Mr. Sapers’ recommendations, a new principle-based correctional law for the province was drafted and has received Royal Assent. Between 2004 and 2016 Howard Sapers was the Correctional Investigator of Canada. Previously, Mr. Sapers has been the Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Alberta, an elected member of the Legislative Assembly of Alberta representing Edmonton Glenora, Director of the National Crime Prevention Centre Investment Fund and Vice Chairperson (Prairie Region) of the Parole Board Canada.  Mr. Sapers is a Past President of the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Forum of Canadian Ombudsman and between 2012 and 2016 was a North American Regional representative to the International Ombudsman Institute. Mr. Sapers represented the community of small federal departments and agencies on the Government of Canada Small Department Audit Committee and was Chairman of the Department of National Defence/Canadian Forces Ombudsman Advisory Committee. Mr. Sapers work as Correctional Investigator was recognized in the cover story of the Fall 2016 edition of Power & Influence magazine. Mr. Sapers is an Adjunct Professor at Simon Fraser University’s School of Criminology, and has been awarded a Honourary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Ottawa.  Mr. Sapers is currently a member of the Ryerson University Department of Criminology Advisory Council, on the Board of Trustees of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and a member of the Legal Aid Ontario Prison Law Advisory Committee.