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What lies beneath

Editorial Obiter

The term “the tip of the iceberg” is used frequently, but the metaphor is an apt one, especially when it comes to this issue of Law Times.

We live in an era where sharing our personal stories is easier than ever.

And yet, when it comes to potentially pervasive problems or tricky risks, the issue can sometimes lie unresolved or beyond widespread public notice.

In this issue, Law Times reporter Anita Balakrishnan covers how University of Toronto Faculty of Law students and alumni are calling on the school to address its rising tuition costs.

More than 300 people had signed an open letter as of press time — many who discussed the strain their debt load from attending law school had created in their own lives.

Practising lawyer Renatta Austin, for example, says she will not be donating to the University of Toronto’s alumni campaign this year because she is still paying off debts incurred by her own tuition costs.

She says she is “living proof of why people don’t do this work and can’t afford to do this.”

Then there’s a piece by columnist Fathima Cader, which discusses a landmark Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario ruling where a woman received an award of $200,000 after racial and sexual abuse by her landlord and employer. It is the highest general damages award in the tribunal’s history.

Cader calls the case a “rare win,” but she says it has been relatively unremarked upon.

Lastly, there are several of stories focusing on environmental law.

The legal maneuvering over issues such as contaminated sites can be tricky to navigate, and lawyers say they’re being tapped to provide guidance after the Ontario government has repealed the Green Energy Act and is scrapping the cap-and-trade regime.

Until people put words to a problem, sign an open letter or bring a new case on a novel issue, the issue remains unexplored. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.


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