Seema Shafei works primarily in labour and human rights law in the Ottawa office, working in both the federal and provincial sectors. At the forefront of her work, she is dedicated towards addressing power imbalances inherent to the employment relationship.
Prior to her call to the bar, Seema sat on the bargaining committee of her University Local and distinctly remembers when she presented its proposals to the Employer. It was in this moment she realized that the collective bargaining process provided workers with a unique voice that they otherwise would struggle to attain individually. She knew then that she wanted to spend her legal career working to advance the interests of labour unions and workers more broadly.
Seema firmly believes that ensuring a safe environment for members against harassment and discrimination builds collective power. To ensure that members feel protected when engaging in union activities, Seema has advised trade union clients on their internal harassment policies. In addition, she has trained union members on the rights of both complainants and respondents in member-on-member harassment complaints.
Throughout her time as a summer student, an articling student, and now as an associate with the firm, Seema has consistently sought out work that addresses systemic inequities. A part of the firm’s Pay Equity Practice Group, she is focused on eliminating gender-based pay discrimination in the Federal public sector. Seema has also worked on numerous accommodation cases to protect the interests of workers with disabilities.
In law school, she led the Labour Law & Human Rights Association club, worked on the Jail Accountability and Information Line, and joined a tenant association. She is interested in the potential for labour unions and tenant unions to work together towards advancing the interests of the working class as a whole while using both legal and extralegal means. She has written about this for the Windsor Yearbook of Access to Justice. Seema is hopeful for a world in which everyone’s work provides them with a sense of stability, growth, and dignity.