Canada’s law students lend a hand to Yukon Human Rights Commission

September 2, 2016

Law students from across Canada will soon be donating their time doing Yukon-specific research, thanks to a partnership with the Yukon Human Rights Commission (YHRC).


The commission is teaming up with ProBono Students Canada (PBSC), an organization that gives law students experience in the field.


“We are actually going to be partnering with seven different law schools across the country and will have teams at each of those law schools working on different research projects,” said Jessica Thompson, YHRC’s director of human rights.


The research will range from subjects like analyzing Yukon’s rental housing law to legal issues relating to workplace harassment, and exploring legislative reform around gender identity rights.


Thompson says this kind of detailed, Yukon-specific research is part of the YHRC’s mandate, but the commission has limited capacity.


“We wish we had resources to do more research but we just don’t,” she said.


“We don’t have, in our budget, enough money to meet the necessary research that needs to be done here in Yukon. So we have looked to be creative and try to find these partnerships.”


The partnership with PBSC started last year with a single pilot research project but is now being expanded.

“We are very excited about this partnership expanding,” said Daniel Simonian, a program manager with PBSC. “The resources are limited in the North… there are no law schools in the North, and law schools are important because they become a hub.”


Simonian says the partnership is a win-win situation, with the students getting real world experience and the YHRC getting more people doing research.


He says it’s also a win for Yukoners because the research will be available to the public in an easily accessible format.


“To be able to offer plain language information to people in the community is extremely valuable and is on strategy in addressing the access to justice crisis,” he said.


The research is expected to be released by next summer.

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