Geetha Philipupillai nominated for Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers
Congratulations, Geetha, on your Top 25 nomination
Geetha Philipupillai has been nominated for Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in the Human Rights advocacy category.
Canadian Lawyer sets out the basis for Geetha’s nomination as follows:
Despite her relatively junior year of call, Geetha has already had a profound impact on constitutional rights and the public interest. In the last 18 months alone, Geetha has been counsel on several landmark public interest cases including:
- representing the Canadian Civil Liberties Association at the Supreme Court of Canada in City of Toronto et al. v. Ontario – a Charter challenge to Ontario legislation that halved the number of Toronto wards and councillors on the eve of the 2018 municipal election;
- representing the Canadian Federation of Students at the Court of Appeal for Ontario in a successful court challenge to Ontario’s “Student Choice Initiative” which imposed a mandatory opt-out for democratically-approved student union dues at public universities and colleges;
- representing the Asper Centre in R. v. Morris, the leading case in Ontario regarding the role anti-Black racism, systemic factors, and social context should play in sentencing Black Canadians; and
- representing a coalition of shelter advocates in Sanctuary Ministries of Toronto et. al. v. City of Toronto, a Charter application to ensure physical distancing in Toronto homeless shelters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Geetha has had critical and leading roles in each of these cases, from building strong factual records, to developing legal arguments on her clients’ behalf, to making oral submissions at the Supreme Court. She is also currently counsel to the Black Legal Action Centre in a Charter intervention regarding Parliament’s reforms to Criminal Code provisions on sex work.
In addition to her public interest work, Geetha maintains an active class actions practice where she currently represents:
- Ontario inmates in a class action challenging the rates charged for prison phone calls by the province and Bell Canada;
- Starbucks managers seeking remuneration for unpaid overtime; and,
- Innocent subjects of a DNA sweep by police in a class action about the privacy of DNA profiles, which is the first certified class action at common law in Canada to deal with unlawful search and seizure under s. 8 of the Charter.
As an employment lawyer, Geetha regularly advocates for workers who have been harassed and discriminated against at work. She also coordinates her firm’s participation in the The 519 community centre’s Employment Legal Clinic.