Congratulations to Avvy Go for her recent appointment to the Federal Court of Canada! Justice Go was a mentor and senior lawyer when we were lawyers in the legal aid clinic system in Ontario. For years, Avvy (now Justice Go) has been a beacon of hope and energy for her clients and causes. She has been a tireless advocate, fighting for her low-income clients who often had no way to pay for her services. We need more advocates with Avvy’s spirit and I hope her voice is heard at the Federal Court.
I do not believe that I have ever publicly applauded the appointment of a justice of a tribunal member. Over the years, I have seen friends, colleagues and former professors appointed to the Bench or to administrative tribunals. Personally, I served on a provincial tribunal from 2013 to 2016 and, as the decision-maker, it is a tough job. If there is anyone up for the task, Justice Go has the dedication and resolve to make sound decisions.
I cannot understate the importance of Avvy being appointed to the Federal Court. She has been pushing for positive change for years. For years, she was a bencher at the Law Society of Ontario – often the only voice for clinics. In 2014, she was appointed to the Order of Ontario and she has been active in too many projects for positive change to name in this space. Off the top of my head, the 2018 Racial Justice Report Card for Ontario highlighted many issues that we continue to deal with. Here is a quote from Avvy:
“Peoples of colour and Indigenous peoples now make up about 1/3 of the Ontario population, and yet we are still being marginalized and treated as fringe groups. We issue this Report Card to remind our political leaders and the mainstream media that our votes count and our issues matter,” said Avvy Go, Clinic Director, Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic and a steering committee member of COP-COC.
As an aside, Justice Go worked with Shalini Konanur on the above report. Another amazing, passionate advocate.
As she correctly noted, Avvy has worked with minorities and folks who have been marginalized. She has been a voice for many clients who could not find anyone to fight for their rights. She has helped bring to light elder issues, helping non-English speakers, immigrants who are the victims of financial scams, and so many others. Avvy’s work did not stop at the clinic. She has been actively involved as a volunteer with many groups and I remember getting updates from her on the work at LSUC during all hours. Hopefully she has found a good work-life balance.
In addition, I would like to congratulate (belatedly) Bernadette Clement on her appointment to the Senate. I did not work with her and I do not believe we met in person but she was also active in the legal aid clinic system in Cornwall at the same time I was working in Toronto. (Avvy actually let me know of this appointment.)
I look forward to appearing before Justice Go at the Federal Court and I also look forward to reading her decisions.