Chair

Monique Shebbeare, Lawyer, Monique Shebbeare Law Corporation, Vancouver, BC. Monique is a fertility lawyer and wills and estates lawyer in Vancouver. She helps individuals and couples launch their families and make sure they have a plan in place for their loved ones should something happen to them. Monique also has a background in psychology and, along with solid legal foundation, brings a warm and empathic approach to her work with clients.

   

Faculty

Jeannette Aucoin, Associate Lawyer, Clark Wilson LLP, Vancouver, BC. Jeannette is an Associate with the Family Law group of Clark Wilson LLP in Vancouver, BC. She balances empathy and professionalism to ensure her clients are supported and cared for, while identifying the risks and rewards involved in their case. Jeannette has appeared before the British Columbia Supreme Court and British Columbia Court of Appeal on high conflict family matters. She is also passionate about new developments in family law and is one of only a handful of professionals in B.C. with experience in reproductive technology law and compliance with the Assisted Human Reproduction Act.

   

John-Paul E. Boyd, Q.C., John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers, Calgary, AB. John-Paul is a family law arbitrator, family law mediator and parenting coordinator. He is the principal of John-Paul Boyd Arbitration Chambers, providing services throughout all of Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, and counsel to the preeminent Calgary family law firm, Wise Scheible Barkauskas. He is a senior family law lawyer nationally known for his big-picture approach to family justice issues and contributions to public and professional legal education on family law. John-Paul practiced family law in Vancouver for 14 years before joining the Canadian Research Institute for Law and the Family at the University of Calgary, as its executive director in 2013. He returned to practice when the research institute closed in 2018 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2019.

   

Lynda Cassels, Lawyer, Cassels Murray Family & Estates Law, Victoria, BC   Lynda is a family and wills and estates lawyer in Victoria.  Trained in mediation and collaborative law, Lynda enjoys assisting clients with the legal issues that arise during major life transitions, including separation and divorce, planning for marriage or cohabitation, deciding to have children, or dealing with the death or diminishing mental capacity of a loved one.  She has a particular interest in fertility law, adoption, and elder law.  Lynda has presented at continuing legal education seminars on fertility and family law topics and formerly served on the executive the Elder Law and Family Law (Victoria) sections of the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. Branch).

   

barbara findlay, Q.C., Lawyer, Law Office of barbara findlay, Q.C., Vancouver, BC. barbara is a queer feminist lawyer in Vancouver who has been doing agreements for children conceived with assisted human technology for more than twenty years. Beyond her broad range of legal experience, she is actively involved in political work and advocacy around issues of oppression, including sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia and disability. barbara is a member of the Alliance of Women Against Racism Etc., Across Our Differences and the December 9 Coalition. She is also a founding member of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference for the Canadian Bar Association, a member of the equality committees of the Law Society of BC and the National Canadian Bar Association, and an active member of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund. barbara is a regular contributor to several noteworthy legal publications, continuing legal education conferences and documentaries.

   
 

Claire E. Hunter, Q.C., Lawyer, Hunter Litigation Chambers, Vancouver, BC. Claire is an experienced litigator with a broad civil litigation, public and administrative law, and appellate practice. She appears regularly as counsel at both the trial and appellate level, including all levels of court in British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada, and before arbitration tribunals and administrative boards. In 2017 she was named a Lexpert Leading Lawyer Under 40. She is currently ranked as a leading lawyer including by Lexpert, Benchmark Canada, Legal 500 and Best Lawyers in Canada. In 2020 she was selected by Benchmark Litigation as one of the Top 50 Women in Canada and was names as a Gold Winner of the Woman of the Year award in Lexpert’s Canadian Law Awards. Throughout her career, Claire has been a frequent presenter on professional topics and is actively involved in community work including as a provider of pro bono legal services, receiving many prominent awards for her pro-bono service. 

   

Adrienne Smith, Lawyer, Adrienne Smith Law, Vancouver, BC. Adrienne Smith is a transgender human rights activist and drug policy lawyer. They settled a BC Supreme Court case which guaranteed access to opiate replacement therapy for prisoners in BC jails. Adrienne appeared at the BC Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, where they argued about the deleterious effects of mandatory minimum sentences for women, Indigenous people, and drug users. As a trade union activist, they advocate for transgender inclusion in our unions and workplaces. Adrienne volunteers at the Catherine White Holman Wellness Clinic, where they give free legal advice and notarize name change documents for trans people. 

   

Zara Suleman, Lawyer, Suleman Family Law, Vancouver, BC. Zara Suleman is the founder of Suleman Family Law where she practices family law and fertility law. Zara has provided trainings and workshops to nurses, doctors, fertility centres, midwives, lawyers and counsellors on various issues related to Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and Legal Parentage. She is a member of Fertility Law BC. Zara is the Chair of the BC Law Institute Research Project on the Review of Legal Parentage under the Family Law Act (BC). A few presentations she has made are, “Family Conceptions: Family Making under Part 3 of the Family Law Act” (September 2017) (PBLI) and “We Are Family: Family Law Services for Queer and Transgender Couples and Families” (National Family Law Program Conference) (2014). Zara was also a faculty member and co-organizer of the Continuing Legal Education (CLEBC) Course – Baby Making: Fertility Law and Assisted Reproductive Technologies (April 2016). Zara co-authored one of the first comprehensive papers on ART and legal parentage in BC with barbara findlay Q.C., the paper is titled Baby Steps: Assisted Reproductive Technology and the B.C. Family Law Act (January 2013).

   

Jasmeet K. Wahid, Partner, Kahn Zack Ehrlich Lithwick LLP, Richmond, BC. Jasmeet’s family law practice is diverse and interesting, often including complex financial and parenting issues. Her practice also includes unique issues in the areas of adoption, reproductive technology, child protection, and First Nations concerns. Jasmeet appears in all levels of court and has argued many significant cases, including appeals concerning: i) the posthumous use of reproductive material and the statutory interpretation of the consent provisions of the Assisted Human Reproduction Act [L.T. v. D.T. Estate, 2020 BCCA 328]; ii) a child’s consent to gender affirming care, family violence and remedies under the Family Law Act [A.B. v. C.D., 2020 BCCA 11 & A.B. v. C.D., 2019 BCCA 297]; iii) the adoption of a First Nations child and the statutory scheme of the Adoption Act [M.M. v.T.B., 2017 BCCA 296, application for leave to SCC dismissed]; and, iv) the issue of variation of spousal support and whether re-partnering is a material change of circumstances (Morigeau v. Moorey, 2015 BCCA 160).

   

Catherine J. Wong, Lawyer, Saltwater Law, Vancouver, BC. Catherine is a family law lawyer and a certified family law mediator based in downtown Vancouver, B.C. Catherine has a particular interest and focus on fertility law and on working with multi-parent families. Catherine approaches her work with compassion and resourcefulness and enjoys engaging with the diversity of families and folks that her practice allows her to collaborate with and to assist. In addition to presenting on fertility matters, Catherine is asked from time to time to consult on fertility law matters by family law lawyers in the context of cohabitation or separation agreements.

   

Holly Yager, M.Ed., RCC, CCC, Registered Clinical Counsellor, Well Woman Counselling, Vancouver, BC. Holly is a reproductive health & fertility counsellor. Holly’s primary focus is to support individuals and couples who are trying to conceive, either naturally or with the help of a fertility clinic. Holly additionally has extensive experience as a clinical counsellor at BC Women’s Hospital + Health Centre working in the areas of reproductive endocrinology & infertility (REI/IVF); chronic pelvic pain & endometriosis (CPP); recurrent pregnancy loss & early pregnancy loss (RPL/EPAC); and specialized women’s health. Holly is both a BC Registered Clinical Counsellor with BCACC and a Canadian Certified Counsellor with CCPA. Holly regularly facilitates group workshops, presents lectures and workshops, provides clinical supervision and consultation to mental health professionals, and has co-authored journal articles and publications on both fertility and female chronic pelvic pain.