About the Conference

Refugee law is a field that is constantly changing as the government’s policy priorities shift. These factors greatly influence the extent of the rights enjoyed by asylum seekers and refugees. As people committed to protecting refugee rights, we believe the time is ripe for a national effort to target decision makers and push for progressive refugee law reform.

On October 6 2016, lawyers and law students from across the country will converge in Ottawa to discuss the state of refugee law in Canada and present policy proposals to Members of Parliament and Senators.

Together with other students and lawyers, you can be a part of Canada’s largest advocacy effort to advance a robust progressive agenda for refugee law.

Registration Information

“This is the story of this country” – Justin Trudeau


Registration Deadline: September 26


Participants are expected to make arrangements to cover their own costs. Please contact your Students’ Association or your department for information on conference funding and travel grants. If you are unable to secure funds from your association or your university, please contact us and let us know. We are working hard to make subsidies available on a case-by-case basis.

Program Schedule

This is a full day event – 8 AM to 9 PM

The morning will include welcoming remarks, a panel discussion and advocacy training.

It will be followed by lunch and meetings with MPs and/or their offices in the afternoon between 2 PM and 6 PM

Evening keynote at 7PM (details to be announced).

The panel discussion will allow you to hear from Canada’s foremost refugee lawyers who are involved in public interest advocacy work.

Stay tuned for updates! It will be a long, but rewarding day.

Featured Speakers

You will hear from leading refugee lawyers, academics, advocates, individuals with lived experience and elected officials. More details coming soon.

Alex Neve

Alex Neve is the Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada and has appeared before numerous Canadian parliamentary committees as well as various UN and Inter-American human rights bodies.

Prior to his current role with Amnesty International Canada, he practised immigration and refugee law in Toronto. He was also a member of the Immigration and Refugee Board.

A member of the Order of Canada, he teaches courses in international human rights and refugee studies.

Senator Ratna Omidvar

Appointed to the Senate in April 2016, as an independent Senator from Ontario, Ratna Omidvar is an internationally recognized expert on migration, diversity and inclusion

Senator Omidvar is a director at the Environics Institute, and Samara. She is the Toronto Region Immigrant Employment Council’s Chair Emerita and was formerly the Chair of Lifeline Syria, an organization playing a pivotal leadership role in the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada.

Senator Omidvar is the co-author of Flight and Freedom: Stories of Escape to Canada (2015), the founding Executive Director and currently a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Global Diversity Exchange (GDX), Ted Rogers School of Management, Ryerson University. GDX is a think-and-do tank on diversity, migration and inclusion that connects local experience and ideas with global networks.

Senator Omidvar was appointed to the Order of Ontario in 2005 and became a Member of the Order of Canada in 2011, with both honours recognizing her advocacy work on behalf of immigrants and devotion to reducing inequality in Canada.

Mitch Goldberg

Mitch Goldberg is a lawyer based in Montreal, and is the President of the Canadian Association of Refugee Lawyers. His law practice focuses on immigration and refugee litigation, including refugee claims, family sponsorship appeals, residency obligation appeals, admissibility appeals, as well as family class and humanitarian and compassionate applications.

Mitch Goldberg was at the forefront of the campaign with Canadian Doctors for Refugee Care against the Federal Government’s cuts to refugee healthcare that resulted in a successful Charter challenge.

News & Updates

Follow this section for updates on LobbyCon

Travel & Accommodation

The conference is at the Human Rights Research and Education Centre, 5th Floor of the Law Building (Fauteux) at the University of Ottawa. Meetings with Members of Parliament will be on the Hill.

If you would like to be billeted by another student, please answer “yes” to the “Billet” option when you pay for registration. Please note that we will disclose your contact information to the student that we pair you up with.

Participants are expected to cover costs of accommodation and travel. Please let us know if you are in financial need and are unable to secure funding from your university or student association.

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