SALCO’s staff is comprised of a dedicated group of activists, lawyers, community legal works, 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). As a student at Osgoode Hall Law School Shalini worked at both Parkdale Community Legal Services and C.L.A.S.P. in the worker’s rights division. Shalini was called to the bar in 2000and joined the legal aid clinic system in 2001, serving clients in rural Ontario. Shalini was later hired by Mississauga Community Legal Services to create their immigration law practice before moving on to SALCO. Shalini has been actively involved in several areas of poverty law reform, including lobbying at the municipal, provincial, and federal level for social assistance, housing, immigration, employment, and family violence reform. Shalini has also spearheaded SALCO`s test case work, challenging issues of racial, gender, and religious discrimination at the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal, the 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 was named the South Asian Bar Association’s Female Lawyer of the Year in 2013 and received the Legal Aid Ontario Leader Award in 2014.
Karin Baqi has been a Staff Lawyer at SALCO since 2009. She regularly represents clients in all areas of SALCO’s practice, with a particular interest in immigration law and has appeared before various Tribunals, the Ontario Divisional Court and the Federal Court of Canada. She is a frequent invited speaker on topics of Canadian immigration history and policy, migrant justice and anti-poverty organizing. She has been involved in a number of successful law reform and policy campaigns, both within and outside the Clinic system, including the fight for Access to Services for Undocumented people in the City of Toronto. She completed her law degree with distinction from McGill University and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2008. She offers services to clients in both Bangla and English.
Khadeeja Ahsan has been involved with access to justice work since she was an undergraduate student at the University of Toronto. She is a Staff Lawyer at the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario since 2013, representing low-income people across the GTA in matters involving immigration, income support and public interest matters. She is committed to educating the public on issues of social justice, including equality and access to services specifically in immigrant and marginalized groups of people. Khadeeja is one of the founders of “Outburst! Young Muslim Women Project” coordinated through the Barbara Schlifer Commemorative Clinic; a board member of METRAC since June 2012, where she serves as Secretary and chairs the Communications committee; and a general board member of the Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) since 2014.
Seema Nadarajah holds both a Specialized Honours degree in Psychology and a Master’s of Social Work degree with a focus in child welfare and mental health. She presently works at SALCO in the capacity of a Community Legal Worker/Social Worker, where she engages in poverty law work related to income security and immigration matters. Seema has been asked to speak at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) on her thesis work of the challenges persons with a serious mental illness face in the child welfare system. Moreover, she has been a consultant on a variety of projects, the most recent of which is reviewing the concerns of Toronto Police Service’s lethal use of force and de-escalation techniques in dealing with individuals with mental health issues for the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). Seema brings her positive energy, knowledge of the mental health sector and passion for social justice to the team.
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 it’s inception in 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.
Aruna Boodram has been involved with SALCO since 2013 and has occupied various roles from a being a placement student, board member and now staff. She is a licensed Paralegal and works at SALCO in the capacity of a Community Legal Worker. After completing an Honours Bachelor Degree in Gender Studies with a specialization in Gender and Sexual Diversity from Queen’s University, she continued her education at Seneca College in the Paralegal Studies program, where she graduated with honours. She has been a community organizer for the past 10 years in Toronto and Kingston and has worked with a plethora of communities on various issues. In addition to her legal work, she is an independent consultant and facilitator that specializes in anti-oppression, facilitation training and strategic planning sessions for non-profits and grassroots organizations and is the News Editor for Indigenous Waves Radio Show on CIUT 89.5FM in Toronto.