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 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.
Sandra Gonzalez Ponce, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5152)
Sandra joined ISAC in 2020 and works on test case litigation on precarious workers’ rights, income support programmes and income security. Before joining ISAC, Sandra ran a law practice with a social justice and human rights focus, practising in the areas of child protection, refugee and criminal law. As a legal caseworker in the clinic system, Sandra appeared before the Social Benefits Tribunal. Prior to her legal career, Sandra did community development and neighbourhood revitalization work for over ten years. This was done in several low-income communities across Toronto, and in shantytowns in Brazil with UN-Habitat. She holds a law degree from the University of Windsor, a certificate in International Human Rights Law from the University of Oxford, an MSc in International Development Studies and Planning from the University of Guelph, and a BA in Political Science. In her spare time, Sandra enjoys swimming, photography and taking care of her plants.
Anu Bakshi, Staff Lawyer (ext. 5157)
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 she is a part-time adjudicator.
Devorah Kobluk, Senior Policy Analyst (ext. 5151)
Devorah joined ISAC as a Policy Analyst in 2020. Prior to joining ISAC, Devorah worked in the anti-violence community at a rape crisis centre. As a staffer on Parliament Hill, she managed communications and worked on policy related to seniors’ and low-income constituents’ income security and on a review panel on energy and environment policy where she collaborated with several community organizations and Indigenous nations. Devorah holds a BA, Honours in Political Science, International Development and Gender Studies from Carleton University, and an MA in English and Critical Theory from the University of Alberta. She speaks English and French. In her spare time, Devorah enjoys travelling, Gaga dance, classical music, and is always up for a healthy debate on any topic.
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 nearly 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 Ryerson/X University, as well as a Master of Public Policy, Administration, and Law from York University. Claudia has been an avid volunteer for a broad range of civic organizations over the years. She currently sits on the board of a community-based adult literacy organization based in downtown Toronto. Outside of work, she enjoys learning about local histories and spending time in nature.
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.
Zumrad Amirdjanova, Legal and Administrative Assistant (ext. 5154)
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.
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.
ISAC tel: (416) 597-5820
Toll Free: 1 (866) 245-4072