Board Members

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Kruti Patel

Chair

Kruti was called to the Ontario Bar in 2003 and the State Bar of New York in 2006. She worked as a corporate and securities law associate in both Toronto and New York for several years prior to taking time off to stay home with her children.  During that time Kruti has volunteered in various capacities, and upon her recent return to Toronto is looking forward to contributing her time to a community based organization that can utilize her various skills.  Kruti is fluent in Guajarati.

Saleha Haji
Treasurer

Saleha is a Senior Staff Accountant and Manager at Ernst and Young LLP, Assurance, where her role includes financial oversight and management internally and for external clients (ex: auditing).  Saleha herself is a recent immigrant to Canada and has witnessed firsthand the struggles that new South Asian immigrants face in terms of immigration and settlement in Canada.  Saleha joined the SALCO board a few months ago to fill the vacancy of a departed board member.  She is hoping to use her skills and background to support SALCO’s work with low-income communities.  Saleha has also volunteered with the Pakistan Development Fund and Ascend Canada.  Saleha currently serves as the Treasurer of the SALCO board of directors.

Payal Ratanshi

secretary

Payal was raised in a South Asian (Konkani) household, and grew up against a backdrop orthodox, racialized, and patriarchal belief systems.  In her personal and professional experience she has encountered cultural attitudes such as shame, abuse and victim-blaming within the context of family violence in the South Asian community, and has seen an alarming rate of women (in particular) increasingly facing these circumstances, coupled with low income / poverty.  Payal is committed to the mandate of providing access to justice for such marginalized clients.  Payal has a professional background in mental health treatment, including counseling for clients facing addictions and co-morbid mental health impairments.

Mohini Datta-Ray

Board Member

Mohini would be new to the SALCO board. Mohini has a strong commitment to social justice and has worked on the issue of health equity and intersectional access both within and outside the South Asian community for over 10 years. SALCO’s mandate and work is integral to the social justice work in this province. As the ED of an emergency VAW shelter, Mohini is all-too aware of the impact that a lack of legal access and justice can have on women and families impacted by violence (and vice versa). There is an over-representation of women of colour, including South Asian women in the work she does and she is interested in volunteering to provide Board support to such a critical organization.
 

Neil Puddicombe 

Member

Neil had been involved with SALCO for many years and was a previous chair of the SALCO Board. Neil left the board in 2014. Neil is returning to the board bringing significant governance experience as well as historical institutional knowledge about SALCO. Neil is an Associate General Counsel at BMO. Neil is also a first generation immigrant of South Asian descent. His family arrived in Parkdale nearly 40 years ago with no support services to help them deal with the myriad of legal, economic and cultural challenges that coming and living in a new country.  With an interest in ensuring that newcomer South Asians have more support services to settle in Toronto, Neil has involved himself in doing legal aid work, including working at a legal aid clinic.  Neil believes that access to justice is critical for low-income South Asians.

Raajan Aery

Student Member

Raajan is a law student at Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Ontario. He is currently participating in an intensive poverty law placement at Parkdale Community Legal Services (a student legal clinic affiliated with his law school).  Raajan has always had an interest in advancing issues of justice and equality within the South Asian community.  Raajan has previously volunteered his time at SALCO as a summer student.  Raajan has also been an active member of Osgoode’s South Asian Law Student Association and the Worker’s Action Centre.

Mary Chrisanthus

Member

Archana Sridhar
Member

Archana is Assistant Provost in the Office of the Vice-President & Provost at the University of Toronto. She received her Juris Doctor (JD) degree from Harvard Law School and was a Fulbright Scholar in Guatemala City, investigating the legal frameworks of Guatemala’s philanthropic sector. Archana has experience as a university administrator at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, York University and Indiana University. She has practiced tax and non-profit law as an attorney in Boston and worked at the humanitarian organization ReSurge International. She is also a co-founder of The South Asian Philanthropy Project, a charitable organization that fosters philanthropy among South Asians in North America.


Saman Wickramasinghe

Member

Saman has completed his first 2-year term as a SALCO board member, where he provided expertise in test case work and working with low-income clients.  Saman articled with the Criminal Law Group at Sack Goldblatt Mitchell LLP and was called to the bar in 2007. Soon after his call Saman co-founded Gosio and Wickramasinghe LLP and practiced in criminal defence and regulatory offence litigation. In 2011 Saman joined Lockyer Campbell Posner where he continues to practice in criminal defence at both the trial and appellate levels.  Saman brings a great deal of knowledge and experience working with clients in criminal matters and working with clients who access legal aid services.

Mathura Karunanithy
Member

Mathura will be a new addition to the SALCO board. Mathura has a background in public policy and currently works at the Motherisk Commission.  Prior to that she worked in policy and programming at the Ministry of Citizenship, Immigration and International Trade.  Mathura has an interest in gender-based issues / feminism and is hoping to bring her significant skills in project management, project evaluation, advocacy, and education to SALCO.  Her long-term career goal is to increase the effectiveness of programming and policies for women’s empowerment.


Godha Rangaraj
Member

Godha has been a long-time volunteer working with South Asians in the Greater Toronto Area.  She served for many years as a board member at Kannada Sangha Toronto, including taking on the role of Secretary at the board of directors.  Subsequently, she volunteered as a board member with AWIC (an organization whose early work was to support immigrant woman from the South Asian Diaspora).  Godha has an excellent background in governance and service delivery for South Asian clients.  Godha is a retired from over 40 years of work with in medical research with Sick Kids Hospital.  Now that she has a little bit more, she is hoping to expand her volunteer work, and strongly believes in SALCO’s mandate to help low-income clients and to address larger issues of poverty and race.

Anu Bakshi

Member

Anu Bakshi was called to the Ontario Bar in 2002.  She was one of the founders of the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario as a law student.  She has practiced disability law at Carranza LLP for over 1 5 years. Her practice focuses on all types of disability claims including LTD, CPP, ODSP, Human Rights, Accident Benefits and serious personal injury claims.  She has presented legal training to the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, Health Justice Initiative at St. Michaels as well as to various other organizations.