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2023-2025 CLA Call for Board Nominations

Pursuant to the Constitution and By-Laws of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, I am pleased to inform all voting members that an election will be held this fall for the Executive and Directors of our Association for the 2023-2025 term. Individuals can access the By-Laws on the CLA website.

Note – It is important that voting members review their membership profile before submitting a nomination and/or before CLA ballots are issued as some voting is restricted based on the details in your membership profile and to ensure it includes your most current email address (for example, region). For the Women’s Director positions, only eligible voting members that have identified as female in their membership record can vote for these positions. Please review your membership profile to make sure all is current and accurate. Electronic voting Ballots will be issued based on the information listed in membership profiles as of October 11.

  • August 14, 2023 – Call for Nominations Opens
  • October 18, 2023 at 5 p.m. – Nomination deadline
  • October 26, 2023 – Voting Ballots Issued (email)
  • Thursday, November 16, 2023 at 6 p.m. – Voting Closes
  • Friday, November 17, 2023 – Annual General Meeting


EXECUTIVE POSITIONSELIGIBILITYNominations received as of October 18, 2023
PresidentOpen to all full (active) members that have served on the CLA Board for at least one full term within the past six years (since 2013.) Upon election, the President must undertake that he/she/they will withdraw any pending judicial applications and that he/she/they will undertake not to submit an application for judicial appointment during his/her/their term of office.Boris Bytenskyacclaimed
1.     Vice-President #1
2.     Vice-President #2
3.     Vice-President #3
4.     Treasurer
5.     Assistant Treasurer
6.     Secretary
7.     Assistant Secretary
Open to full (active) members. Nominees must be able/willing to serve in any of the seven positions. Assignment of these seven positions will be based on:

The Ballot shall allow seven votes each for the Executive nominees (excluding the President position) which are subject of that year’s elections. Note, the Executive must be composed of:
● Three (3) Executive positions are reserved for individuals that are women1
● The woman with the most votes will automatically become one of the 3 (three) Vice-Presidents
● The individual from outside Toronto with the most votes will automatically become one of the 3 (three) Vice-Presidents.
● Two (2) Executive positions are reserved for individuals located outside of Toronto. One of these two outside Toronto positions must be assigned to a woman.
● Where there is a tie, the percentage of votes received will be used to break the tie.
● In the case less than three individuals that are women and/or less than two individuals from outside Toronto run for the Executive, the Executive can be confirmed based on the nominees received.
Hussein Aly
Michael Davies
Stephanie DiGiuseppe
Jessyca Greenwood

Kaley Hepburn
Michelle Johal
Jill Makepeace

Norman Panzica
Chris Sewrattan
Adam Weisberg
Belleville/NapaneeOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Please email ed@criminallawyers.ca if interested in this regional position.
Durham – Victoria – PeterboroughOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Alan Richteracclaimed
Grey/BruceOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Elizabeth Barefootacclaimed
Haldimand/Norfolk/BrantfordOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Ann Marie Stewartacclaimed
HaltonOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Brendan Neilacclaimed
HamiltonThe local Association appoints the director.Lauren Wilhelmacclaimed
KingstonOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Jordan Tekenos-Levyacclaimed
LondonOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Cassandra DeMeloacclaimed
NiagaraOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Christopher Raimondoacclaimed
Ottawa (2 positions)Open to all full (active) members located in this region.Jolene Hansell
Cassandra Richards
PeelOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Sweta Tejpalacclaimed
Rideau – St. LawrenceThe local Association appoints the director.Robert Barr acclaimed
Sault St. MarieOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Anthony Oraziettiacclaimed
Simcoe/MuskokaOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Emily Dyeracclaimed
SudburyOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Michael Haraschukacclaimed
Thunder Bay – KenoraOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.George Josephacclaimed
Toronto (8 positions)Open to all full (active) members located in this region.Adam Goodman
Gary Grill
Mark Halfyard
Tonya Kent
Maija Martin

Lynda Morgan
Eric Neubauer
Emma Rhodes

Chris Rudnicki
Deniz Sarikaya
Breana Vandebeek
Jordan Weisz
Waterloo – WellingtonOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Sarah Cheshireacclaimed
WindsorOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Lisa Carnelosacclaimed
York RegionOpen to all full (active) members located in this region.Daniella Guidoacclaimed

Indigenous DirectorOpen to all full (active) members that self-identify as Indigenous. The Indigenous directors will serve as the chair of the Indigenous committee as well as be the main CLA Gladue Court Rep.Lysandra Morenoacclaimed
Recent Call DirectorOpen to all full (active) members located in Toronto and called to the bar in 2016 or after.Samiyyah Ganga
Sandra Kimberg
Sara Little
Liam Thompson
Recent Call DirectorOpen to all full (active) members located outside of Toronto and called to the bar in 2016 or after.Dawn Dickinson
Forest Poff-Smith
Women’s DirectorOpen to all full (active) members that identify as female located in Toronto.Laura Metcalfeacclaimed
Women’s DirectorOpen to all full (active) members that identify as female located outside of Toronto.Sam Puchalaacclaimed

Nominations will be for President, Executive, Regional Director, Indigenous Director, Recent Call Director or Women’s Director, and will be in writing and will be signed by any two nominators who are FULL (ACTIVE) members of the Association in good standing and also by the member accepting the nomination.

  • No person may be nominated for more than one position either as a Director or an Officer of the Association.
  • Full time employees of Legal Aid Ontario, or Board Members of Legal Aid Ontario are not permitted to seek candidacy for, nor serve on, the Executive of the Association.


Nominations will open on August 14, 2023, and may be emailed, faxed, mailed or delivered to the Association office. Nominations must be received by 5 p.m., October 18, 2023, at which time nominations will close.


Ballots will be emailed by October 26, 2023. Voting will be conducted online with the final deadline to vote being 6 p.m., November 16, 2023. For members with no email address on file, upon request a voting ballot will be sent via Canada Post. The board will be asked to appoint scrutineers to supervision counting of paper ballots (if any). These completed ballots must be received in the Association office by 6 p.m., November 16, 2023.


Based on member feedback the current CLA Board has put in place protocols to ensure transparency with the election process. The following guidelines are provided:

  • The member’s office mailing address and email address on file with the CLA office, as at this date, dictates the region of the member for nomination and voting purposes.
  • Individuals who join/renew/upgrade AFTER October 25, 2023, will not be eligible to vote in the 2023/2025 Election.
  • Members will receive an electronic voting ballot on or around October 26 (for those with an email address on file with the office). For members with no email address on file, upon request a voting ballot will be sent via Canada Post.
  • Voting tabulation results will remain confidential until announced at the Annual General meeting on November 17.
  • Electronic voting tabulation will be considered final after the voting deadline.
  • The Board appoints two scrutineers who oversee the counting of physical ballots (if any). Final vote counts are reviewed by the scrutineers and signed.
  • Paper ballots (if any) will be held by the CLA office for a period of up to 30 days following the election after which they are destroyed.
  • To foster nomination submissions during the call for nominations process, a list of nominations received will be made by end of day September 26, October 4 and October 11 on the CLA website.
  • Current Directors’ attendance records and voting records are available within the board meeting minutes posted on the CLA website. A summary log of Directors meeting attendance records for the 2021-2023 will be posted on the CLA website by October 11, 2023.
  • Candidates who wish to challenge the vote count can submit a formal request for a recount within 10 days following the annual meeting. Upon receipt the ballots will be re-counted in the presence of the candidates.
  • Post election, calls for the individual vote count will be disclosed, upon request, to the candidate(s) for the position to which they were seeking election, with the warranty that the candidate(s) will keep these results confidential.
  • We do not disclose vote counts for other candidates, nor do we confirm ranking in comparison to other candidates.

LISTSERV: New this year, we will prepare a web page with all the nominees names and candidate statements for review. All members will have access to this page up until the final voting deadline. We believe this will help reduce Listserv messages pertaining to the election. As such, please keep the following top of mind:

  • When it comes to campaigning on the Listserv, please be sure to familiarize yourself with the Listserv code of conduct and Conditions of use found here: https://criminallawyers.ca/members-only/listserv/
  • Members shall not campaign or endorse members for CLA executive/director positions except during periods when members are notified that campaigning is permitted on the Main Listserv. As such, you are permitted to campaign and/or post message related to the Listserv on the Listserv from October 25 to November 2. Not before or after.
    • If campaigning on the Listserv prior to the October 26, please be sure to note ballet information will be released on October 26 to eligible voting members.
  • We ask that you limit the number of campaign messages to a reasonable amount as to not spam or annoy members.
    • We recommend no more than two messages to the Listserv.
    • Please refrain for insulting or disparaging candidates.
    • When responding to Listserv emails, ask yourself if a direct response is needed, or a response to all 1,100 Listserv participants.
  • Remember, not all individuals on the Listserv are eligible to vote. As such, make sure messaging notes only individuals with an Active Senior or Active Junior membership type are eligible to vote.


The CLA Board is a working board. As such Directors will be expected to take on work to advance the interests of the association and its members. Candidates seeking nomination should familiarize themselves with the following position descriptions.

President – The President presides at all meetings of the members of the Association. The President shall make all public statements in regard to the Criminal Lawyers’ Association policy and positions or delegate a member of the Executive to do so. The President frequently attends meetings with key stakeholders and sits on various committees representing the association. The role of President is a significant commitment often exceeding 10 hours per week. As permitted under our By-laws, the President shall receive an honourarium currently valued at $ 43,367.04 per fiscal year in office. The rate is reviewed on a annual basis to coincide with the Association’s budget process.

Vice Presidents – The Vice Presidents assist the President and other Directors in executing the duties of their office. The Vice Presidents will be expected to participate in various CLA Committees and serve as representatives on external committees. 

Treasurer/Assistant Treasurer – These two officers are responsible for supervision of the financial activities and transactions of the association. Working with the Association’s management company they will oversee financial reporting, budgeting and expense approval.

Secretary/Assistant Secretary – These two officers shall oversee the recording of all facts and minutes of all proceedings of the association and are responsible for ensuring activities coincide with By-law provisions.  

Regional Directors – These Directors assume responsibility for the following:

  • Maintaining contact with the local association and ensuring that there are lines of communication between the local association and the CLA governing body
  • Maintaining a presence on local stakeholder committees, such as bench and bar or courthouse committees
  • Maintaining a presence on local domestic violence court committees
  • Reporting to the CLA governing body any issues of concern to local members and reporting any CLA initiatives which may affect local associations or local members
  • Representing the CLA as requested at local events
  • Encouraging and maintaining membership by:
    • Following up with lapsed members and report findings to Executive Director
    • Assisting in coordinating local events for members and encouraging new members to join
    • Assisting applicants in seeking support for their membership
    • Maintaining contact and liaising with local law schools
    • Assisting members who wish to file complaints against judiciary, justices of the peace or crown attorneys by ordering transcripts and forwarding those complaints to the Executive
    • Attending monthly board meetings, either in person or by zoom/telephone.

If questions arise about the election, please contact the CLA office. Please submit your nominations in good time to avoid any difficulties.

Yours very truly,

John Chagnon
Executive Director

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