SALCO’s staff are a dedicated group of activists, lawyers, paralegals, community legal workers, and support staff. They bring tremendous experience from many parts of the South Asian Diaspora and are passionate advocates for the issues that face our low-income South Asian constituency.
Shalini Konanur is the Executive Director and a lawyer at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario (SALCO). Shalini has been SALCO’s ED since it received Legal Aid funding in 2007 and has spearheaded SALCO’s tremendous growth over the past 15 years. Shalini has worked in the legal clinic system since as a law student and since her call to the bar in 2000. She has worked in both rural and urban legal clinics and her focus at SALCO has been in dismantling racism, discrimination, and gender-based violence to improve life-outcomes for the communities that SALCO serves. Shalini is actively involved in several areas of poverty law reform, including lobbying at the municipal, provincial, and federal level for social assistance, housing, immigration, employment, human rights, and gender-based violence reform. Shalini also spearheads SALCO`s test case work, challenging issues of racial, gender, and religious discrimination at the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Federal Court. Shalini’s work focuses on the promotion of access to justice for racialized communities in Canada and on addressing poverty for SALCO’s low-income constituency. Shalini works alongside an incredible group of colleagues who are deeply committed to social justice for South Asians in Canada.
Vanathy Wimaleswarans has been an employee of the Legal Aid sector for over 17 years. A graduate from Ryerson University, Vanathy has always had a passion to work in the administrative sector. She has been working in the capacity of an Office Administrator at SALCO since its inception in 2007-2008. She brings her quick wit, efficiency and amazing organizational skills to SALCO and is the glue that keeps SALCO running smoothly. Her positive attitude and cheerful disposition enable individuals to feel at ease and welcome.
Community Legal Worker/Paralegal
Aruna Boodram (they/she) has been with SALCO since 2013 and is a licensed Paralegal and Community Legal Worker. Born and raised in Scarborough and part of the Caribbean diaspora, she has been a community organizer, educator and facilitator for over 2 decades. She brings her passion and commitment to social justice and advocacy to her work and believes in the power of community and people over profit. Aruna has worked on many projects and trainings for SALCO, including the latest version of the Forced/Non-Consensual Toolkit for Service Providers and the 2SLGBTQ+ South Asian People’s History Project Poster Series. She has also participated as an educator and faculty for trainings and workshops for the Law Society of Ontario, EGALE Canada and Osgoode’s Continuing Education program. Aruna has worked with SALCO clients for the past 9 years on their legal matters on housing, immigration, employment, forced marriage and social assistance. She is grateful for the opportunity to fiercely advocate alongside our clients and community.
jasleen kaur johal
jasleen is a staff lawyer at SALCO. She was called to the bar in 2018. At SALCO, jasleen provides services in all areas of clinic law, including immigration, social assistance, and housing. She provides services in English and Panjabi.
Community Legal Worker/Paralegal
Athursh Vaithilingam is a licensed Paralegal and Community Legal Worker with SALCO. He graduated from both the Paralegal Studies and Law Clerk programs from Centennial College. He has been an active member within the Durham Tamil community as a youth since 2000, and has worked with various grassroots organizations providing progressive leadership in the Tamil community in Canada. He is a member of the Tamil Cultural and Academic Society of Durham and the Tamil Canadian Centre for Civic Action. He has been involved in access to justice and social justice projects, providing a voice for the most vulnerable members of society. He is passionate about the emancipation of Eelam Tamils, working with youth and community building initiatives.
Athursh offers services to clients in both Tamil and English.
Anchal Bhatia (she/her) holds her Juris Doctor from the University of Windsor. From her first law job at the Legal Assistance of Windsor, she discovered her desire to work in the clinic system and the importance of community lawyering. Anchal not only works with SALCO clients on all sorts of legal matters (e.g. housing, immigration, employment, social assistance) but is also involved in drafting submissions for legal reform. Most recently, she submitted a submission on behalf of SALCO to a House of Commons committee reviewing Bill C-5, an act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. She is grateful for the opportunity to advocate alongside our clients and community. She is looking forward to all the ways she can support the betterment of clients and the community.
Anchal offers services in English and Hindi.
Maria joined the SALCO team recently as the clinic’s first social worker. Maria comes to us with a background in psychology, social work, and settlement work. She has expertise in working with clients from different South Asian communities and can provide social work support in multiple South Asian languages. Maria is keenly interested in supporting underserved South Asian communities who often have difficulty finding social work support.