Please note that we do not provide legal services to individuals. If you require legal advice or assistance, please contact your local community legal clinic. You can find out which legal clinic serves your community by visiting the Legal Aid Ontario website or by calling 1-800-668-8258.
Karin Baqi, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5157)
Karin Baqi joined ISAC in 2018. Following her 2008 call to the bar, she worked at a leading immigration and refugee practice prior to joining the legal clinic system. She has represented clients in immigration, income security and other administrative law matters in her work with both the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO) and Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY), and has engaged in test-case and Charter litigation on behalf of organizations fighting for social equality. Understanding the limitations of legal work in undoing oppression, she continues to work with social movements in pursuit of racial, migrant and economic justice through legal and activist support. She enjoys experimenting with new recipes, crafting, and, most recently, tap dancing.
Marie Chen, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5152)
Marie joined ISAC as a Staff Lawyer in 2013. She has extensive experience in constitutional and human rights law and has appeared before various tribunals and levels of Court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She has been involved in advocacy and law reform activities at Canadian and international fora. For almost a decade, Marie worked at the African Canadian Legal Clinic engaging in test case litigation addressing systemic racism. Before joining the ACLC, Marie practiced immigration and refugee law with Jackman and Associates. She has also worked at the Clinic Resource Office (Legal Aid Ontario) and at the Toronto Ombudsman where she was involved in systemic investigations into municipal processes. Marie holds an LLM from the London School of Economics, and likes movies and discovering yummy lunch deals in the PATH.
Jackie Esmonde, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5153)
Jackie was called to the Ontario bar in 2003, following which she practiced public interest law in a range of areas, including civil litigation, criminal law, inquests and inquiries. She joined the Income Security Advocacy Centre in 2011, where she conducts test case and Charter litigation addressing poverty and income security. She teaches in the Osgoode Professional LLM program, and recently completed work as a researcher and writer for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Believing that litigation cannot bring about liberation and equality on its own, Jackie is committed to working for social change through grassroots organizing, including as a trustee for the Groundswell Community Justice Trust Fund. In her spare time, she talks, reads, thinks and breathes Blue Jays baseball.
Arash Ghiassi, Lawyer / Yale Public Interest Fellow
Arash joined ISAC in 2019 on a Yale Public Interest Fellowship. Before starting at ISAC, he completed his Clerkship at the Court of Appeal for Ontario. Arash’s legal experience includes working at several legal clinics and public interest organizations in the US and Canada, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the BC Civil Liberties Association. At ISAC, he works on test case litigation to improve workers’ rights and public benefits. Arash is called to bars of Ontario and New York and is committed to lawyering in support of movements for social change. In his free time, Arash enjoys learning to cook a variety of Persian dishes.
Yola Grant, Executive Director
Yola Grant has practiced human rights, labour and employment law for 30 years. Yola recently served as the adjudicative lead (Associate Chair) at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario where she decided significant age and citizenship discrimination cases. Yola Grant holds an LL.B from Osgoode Hall Law School and a M.Sc. (Physical Chemistry) from the University of Toronto and is a regular speaker on human rights and equality in the workplace. She was trained in poverty law at PCLS and called to the Ontario Bar in 1989.
Apart from work, family celebrations and her interest in travel, films, new music and fabrics occupies her time. For decades, Yola has served on numerous boards of charities and non-profits.
Leandra Louis, Paralegal (ext. 5154)
Leandra is a graduate of the Humber College Court and Tribunal Agent program and, since graduating, began her legal career with ISAC in May 2007. She hails from the beautiful Nature Island of the Caribbean – Dominica, where she earned a degree in English and English Literature. Since joining ISAC, Leandra has gone on to become a Licensed Paralegal and works alongside the legal team providing litigation support in ISAC’s test case and Charter litigation work.
Outside of ISAC, Leandra continues to pursue her love of writing and is a featured fashion writer and media correspondent for a magazine and runs her own fashion blog.
Lorna Martin, Receptionist and Administrative Assistant (ext. 5179)
Lorna joined ISAC and ACTO as the shared Reception Coordinator in September 2012 after six glorious years in Jamaica. Prior to that she was the Event Manager at AMD (previously known as ATI Technologies) for 15 years facilitating all tradeshows, annual general meetings, and product launches globally. She is an avid Blue Jays fan and a volunteer director at Microskills, a Toronto-based non-profit that provides employment services to women, youth, immigrants, and people from racialized communities.
Nabila Qureshi, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5156)
Nabila joined ISAC in 2018 and works on test case litigation relating to employment law and workers’ rights, poverty law, and income security. Prior to joining ISAC, Nabila practised employment and human rights law at a boutique law firm in downtown Toronto. She has acted as counsel before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, including the Divisional Court, and the Supreme Court of Canada. Nabila was called to the Ontario bar in 2016 after completing her articles at a full service Bay Street firm. She graduated from the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, where she worked with the David Asper Centre for Constitutional Rights to advocate for women’s freedom of religion, and with Downtown Legal Services’ Refugee and Immigration division. In her spare time, Nabila enjoys making copious amounts of chai and getting lost in a good adventure novel.
ISAC tel: (416) 597-5820
Toll Free: 1 (866) 245-4072