May 3, 2023

Categories: News

Funded by the Women and Gender Equality (WAGE) Canada, the two-day virtual symposium (June 05 & June 06, 2023) is a learning and networking opportunity for lawyers (CPD credit information forthcoming), family law advocates, and support workers dedicated to increasing access to justice for their clients by working collaboratively. 


The symposium will cover multiple topics with some sessions at the same time for specific audience. 

Day 1: June 05, 2023

9:30am: Welcome

9:45am: Land acknowledgement by Bonaventure Fabian

10:00am: For Lawyers: A Lawyer’s Introduction to Advocates and Support Workers in Family Law or

Open to Everyone: Effective Referrals to BC Resources

12:30pm: For Lawyers: Furthering Collaboration with Support Workers, or

For Support Workers and Family Law Advocates: Furthering Collaboration with Lawyers

02:30pm: Open to everyone: Services for indigenous clients or

Culture and language sensitive services or

Services for elders or

Services for 2SLGBTQIA+ clients or

Services for clients – Drug use and mental health challenges or

Services for clients with disabilities. (pick two)

Day 2: June 06, 2023

9:30am: Welcome

9:45am: Land acknowledgement by Norm Leech

10:00am: For Everyone: Solicitor-Client Privilege and Support Workers or

For Support Workers or Family Law Advocates: Become a Commissioner of Oaths (pick one)

12:50pm: For everyone: A preliminary report from the VLC on lessons learned respecting geographic differences in access to justice in British Columbia.


Bonaventure Fabian

Two-spirit elder/uncle Bonaventure Fabian (he/they/them) is  Red River Métis from (Treaty One territory ), living on Squamish. Tsleil-Waututh and Musqueam territories since 1978. Involved in ceremony for nearly 30 years,  20 year Sundancer  and pipe carrier..Bonaventure believes we are all gifts as we are, wherever we fit on the spectrum. Warm, welcoming, creative and playful, they have a gift for connecting with people of all genders.

Norm Leech , Executive Director Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House; Past Executive Director, Vancouver Aboriginal Community Policing Centre (VACPC),

The Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House serves the Renfrew Rupert Area in east Vancouver with a variety of programs providing childcare, youth, families, seniors, and women’s services.

The VACPC serves the 70,000 urban Indigenous people in Vancouver who are over-represented in virtually every negative social health indicator measured. VACPC Programs include MMIWG, overdose prevention, homelessness, youth at risk, education, training, trauma, food security, decolonization, etc. VACPC delivers Indigenous perspectives to Police Academy and Sheriffs Academy at the Justice Institute as well as Indigenous trauma tools training to frontline workers in the DTES.

Norm speaks widely on inter-generational trauma due to colonization. He grew up in East Vancouver, with ancestry in the T’it’q’et community of the St’at’imc nation where he has served as Chief and also Administrator. He draws on his experiences as a recovering alcoholic/ addict, inter-generational survivor, and spiritual explorer to inform his current work. Other roles include; Aboriginal Front Door Society President and Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council Co-Chair, Chair DTES Community Land Trust, among others.

Sarah McCoubrey

Sarah McCoubrey (she/her) is the interim Provincial Director of Indigenous Justice Centres at the BCFNJC. She is leading the development of the IJC operational model and policies for the IJC Rapid Expansion across the province. Sarah is a settler raised on Syilx territory in a family of orchardists and teachers. She got her law degree from UVic and a Master of Education from OISE, U of T.  Sarah’s professional career has focused on access to justice and system transformation, as a non-profit leader, in practice and as founder of an access to justice consultancy, CALIBRATE.

Stephanie Ringham

Ana Vilma

Ana is a Community and Support worker with over 30 years of experience helping women, children, seniors and their families in situations of all stages of domestic violence.

She works at Vancouver and Lower Mainland Multicultural Family Support Services (VLMFSS), is non-profit organization offering free and confidential services to immigrant, visible minority, refugee and women without immigration status and their families who are experiencing family violence.

She has been working at VLMFSS since 1995, offering bi-lingual and bi-cultural counselling to families. She has extensive experience in assisting families’ victims of gender-based violence. She provides emotional support, translations, advocacy, and referrals to other services such as legal, immigration, housing, financial, MCFD, school, health care, and more. She is passionate about empowering women overcome their difficulties and achieve their potential. Ana has been also involved in educational activities at VLMFSS, such as delivering workshops, participating in panel discussions, and advising on television and video projects for the Hispanic community. Ana holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and a Diploma & Certificate in Family Studies and Social Services. She has also completed numerous trainings and workshops that have enhanced her skills and knowledge to provide excellent service in the community.

Marie-Noel Campbell

Called to the Bar in New York State (2011) and in British Columbia (2016), Marie-Noel started her legal career in Canada at a non-profit organization where she launched pro bono programs to represent clients before various tribunals, while also being an active lawyer at their wills clinic. Marie-Noel was later appointed as an adjudicator for the Mental Health Review Board, then opened her law firm focusing primarily on Immigration & Refugee Law and Housing Law. She has been serving older adults in British Columbia along with Seniors First BC’s dedicated team since December 2020. 

Margarita Tellez Espana

Margarita Tellez Espana is the Manager of the Refugee and Specialized Programs at DIVERSEcity Community Resource Society. At DIVERSEcity, she leads a team that delivers holistic language and cultural specific case management to vulnerable refugees including LGBTQ+ refugees. Through her time as a manager and as the previous Program Coordinator, Margarita has seen the unique struggles of LGBTQ+ refugees and their emerging needs. Margarita is excited to be able to share the struggles and strengths of this population.

Stephanie Van Dyke

My name is Stephanie Van Dyke. I live and work on the unceded and traditional territories of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh people. I have been a social worker for 10 years and am currently working at Sheway, a program for pregnant and new families impacted by substance use and other social barriers. I am passionate about supporting families and pregnant people in achieving their goals and walking with them in their journeys.

Margery Pazdor

Margery Pazdor (she/her) began her journey as an advocate and ally by representing former residents of an institution for people with disabilities in a class action lawsuit against the province. After some time working as an employment and labour lawyer, she was gratified to return to working on behalf of people with disabilities as a staff lawyer at the Disability Law Clinic at DABC in 2022.

Salina Dewar

Salina Dewar (she/her) is an advocate and assistant at DABC’s Disability Law Clinic.  She has worked at DABC for more than 7 years and is passionate about the rights and interests of people with disabilities, including those who also identify as members of other equity-seeking populations.  Salina speaks conversational French and loves to sing.  She is a non-practicing member of the BC Bar, and is a person with disabilities.


Operations During COVID-19

Please note that, due to the current health emergency, our office is closed to the public until further notice. Our staff continues to serve our clients remotely, but we are not always on the premises to accept postal or courier deliveries. Please send documents by email where possible, or arrange a time for physical delivery in advance.

Clients and Potential Clients:
[email protected]
Safe Contact Form

General and Administrative Inquiries:
[email protected]
T 604.451.7447
F 604.304.4072

516 Richards Street
Vancouver, BC V6B 3A2

Our office is located on unceded territory of the Skwxwu7mesh (Squamish), Tsleil-Waututh (Burrard), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Nations.

Accessibility & Comfort at Rise

Rise strives to be inclusive and accessible for our clients and visitors. Our entry, reception area, meeting rooms and restroom are fully wheelchair accessible. If you have any requests that would make your visit to Rise easier or more comfortable, please let us know and we will do our very best to accommodate you.

Dogs at Rise

Occasionally our staff may bring their small dogs to work. Dogs stay in their owners’ individual offices except when being walked. If you have severe allergies or other concerns, please let us know 24 hours before attending our office so that we may accommodate you.

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