Monday, October 28, 2019 - 12:30pm
Jackman Law Building, J130

NOTE: The Indigenous Initiatives Office (IIO) Speaker Series is open to the public. All are welcome and lunch will be served. Please join us.


Since the 2016 decision in First Nations Child and Family Caring Society et al v. A-G Canada 2016 CHRT 2, the landscape of child welfare services for First Nations children has been evolving rapidly.  This discussion will inform learners about what has changed since the landmark Caring Society decision, and what is on the horizon for First Nations child welfare.  Additionally, the speakers will provide perspectives on practicing in this field of law.

Speaker Bios

Maggie Wente

Maggie Wente is a partner at Olthius Kleer Townshend LLP (OKT). She is a member of Serpent River First Nation. Maggie has a broad practice serving First Nations governments, their related entities, businesses and not-for-profit corporations. Maggie advises on Treaty and Aboriginal rights in litigation and negotiation, human rights of Indigenous people and in particular equality for First Nations children and individuals in programs and services, in particular in the child welfare system. Maggie also has a diverse practice in First Nations governance including employment and labour law. Maggie has appeared in courts of appeal and trial-level courts in Ontario, Newfoundland and Labrador, and the Federal Court, as well as before arbitrators and adjudicators in commercial arbitrations, labour arbitrations, and adjudications under the Canada Labour Code.

Maggie graduated from the University of Toronto’s combined LL.B/M.S.W. program and from McGill University (B.A., Philosophy). Maggie is past-President of the Board of Directors at Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto. She was a Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission from 2006 to 2015.  She is listed as Most Frequently Recommended in the area of Indigenous law by Lexpert.

Maggie is a member of the Indigenous Bar Association, the Ontario bar and the Newfoundland and Labrador bar.

Sinéad Charbonneau

Sinéad is a guest and treaty beneficiary on Anishinaabe territories, and was raised on Lekwungen lands. She received her J.D. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 2017.  She is an associate at OKT. Her focus is on promoting and protecting the rights of First Nations children, youth, and families. Her goal is to work alongside First Nations to realize their visions for family and community well-being.