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.
Melinda Ferlisi, Executive Director (ext. 5155)
Melinda Ferlisi holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Development Studies from the University of Waterloo and a Diploma of Social Work from Renison College. Melinda graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School. She holds a certificate in Not-for-Profit Leadership from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, and a Certificate in Human Resource Management in Public and Not-for-Profit Sectors from the Human Resource Professional Association. As a student, Melinda worked at Parkdale Community Legal Services and learned first-hand the value of providing clinic law services. After articling in a labour firm, she returned to the clinic system, and joined the Community Legal Clinic of York Region where she was a staff lawyer, Team Lead, and more recently, Assistant Executive Director. Melinda is passionate about access to justice and income security. She has advocated for change on behalf of individual clients through case work, and also advocated for systemic change through her work on various intra-clinic committees, as well as in her community. Melinda’s commitment to Social Justice is evident, as she has dedicated her professional career to fighting for policies and procedures that treat marginalized individuals, especially those who are powerless by virtue of their economic status or membership in a particular group, equally and fairly. In her spare time, you can find Melinda at the rink practicing her shot with her ball hockey team. Melinda brings her experience in advocating for people with low income in Ontario to her new role as the Executive Director at ISAC.
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 argued before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Divisional Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, 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.
Anu Bakshi, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5154)
Anu was called to the bar in 2002. For almost 20 years prior to joining ISAC in 2021, Anu devoted her practice to health justice. She advocated for clients with disabilities before various administrative tribunals and multiple levels of court. Anu was one of the founders of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario and served on its Board of Directors. She taught evidence law part-time at Seneca College. She holds a Certificate in Adjudication for Administrative Agencies and was a part-time adjudicator.
Adrian Merdzan, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5152)
Adrian was called to the Ontario bar in 2021. Before joining ISAC in 2022, Adrian clerked for the Chief Justice and the Judges of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In this role he was also assigned to the Divisional Court, facilitating a unique experience that encompassed both trial and appellate legal work. Before clerking, Adrian advocated on behalf of equity-seeking communities while working for a Senator on Parliament Hill and with Neighborhood Legal Services’ Housing Division.
Adrian received his J.D. with an option in Public Law from the University of Ottawa. During law school, Adrian was proud to be elected by his peers as the President of OUTLaw, the University of Ottawa’s 2SLGBTQ+ Law Students Association. Adrian also holds a B.Sc. (Hons.) in Chemistry and Business from the University of Waterloo. In his free time, Adrian enjoys travelling, hiking, and playing volleyball.
Claudia Calabro, Communications Specialist / Organizer (ext. 5157)
Claudia (she/her) joined ISAC in 2021 as a Communications Specialist and Organizer. She has worked in public affairs, governance, and advocacy for over a decade. Prior to joining ISAC, Claudia coordinated communications work and campaigns focused on ending child and family poverty in Ontario, with an emphasis on improving income security for marginalized communities. Claudia’s early professional experiences in communications and public engagement were gained through her work in municipal political offices. She holds bachelor’s degrees in Political Science from the University of Toronto and in Journalism from Toronto Metropolitan University (TMU), as well as a Master of Public Policy, Administration, and Law from York University. Claudia has been an organizer and volunteer for a broad range of grassroots and civic organizations over the years. Outside of work, she enjoys learning about local histories and spending time in nature.
Asif Khan, Research and Policy Analyst (ext. 5151)
Asif is responsible for monitoring and responding to the emerging policy issues and developing ISAC’s advocacy and policy positions related to income security. A passionate, career-long anti-poverty advocate, Asif has a proven track record of developing and delivering successful policy initiatives for driving change for low-income communities with Canadian and international nonprofit organizations.
Prior to joining ISAC, Asif worked as policy analyst with Feed Nova Scotia, leading the organization’s policy advocacy efforts to ensure government policies effectively address food insecurity and income poverty of low-income Nova Scotians. He also has extensive experience in poverty reduction and social safety net related policy advocacy in the international development arena, having led policy advocacy and campaigns of INGOs such as Save the Children and CARE in Bangladesh. Asif holds a Master of Public Policy from McGill University and a Master of Development Studies from University of Dhaka. In his spare time, Asif enjoys reading and writing creative fiction and going on hikes with his wife.
Zumrad Amirdjanova, Legal and Admin Assistant (ext. 5153)
Zumrad joined ISAC in 2021 as a legal and administrative assistant. She is deeply passionate about clinic work and she has extensive experience in poverty law and income security. In her previous roles, she worked as an interpreter at Ontario Works office, as a legal assistant at the Rexdale Community Legal Clinic and the Advocacy Centre for the Elderly where she closely interacted with people from low-income and marginalized backgrounds. Zumrad enjoys learning new languages and helping her clients to overcome language barriers. She fluently speaks Uzbek, Russian, Turkish, Hungarian and intermediate French. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, camping and watching movies.
Judith Norris, Intake Coordinator/Admin Assistant (ext. 5179)
Judith (she/her) joined ISAC as an Intake Coordinator/Administrative Assistant in 2022. She has worked in office administration for over 15 years but in the for-profit sector. When she volunteered at Cota and various alternative schools within the TDSB, she understood her passion lies in the non-profit sector helping others to empower themselves.This passion was realized when she joined the clinic system with NLS and now ISAC. Judith looks forward to assisting ISAC with their advocacy work. In her spare time, she is an avid reader and poet.
Elena Koneva, Office Manager (ext. 5142)
Elena has extensive experience managing associations and non-profit organizations, directing project and operational activities in finance, revenue development, Board and committee relations, event planning and more. Most of her previous work was in the arts and culture sector. Prior to joining ISAC, Elena worked as a Managing Director with Choirs Ontario (provincial association of choral organizations). Outside of work, most of Elena’s time is taken up by her family. Elena is excited to be making the shift to advocacy sector and join the ISAC team.
Office telephone: (416) 597-5820
Toll Free: 1 (866) 245-4072
Media inquiries: email@example.com