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Laura Tamblyn Watts receives a 2020-2021 Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship


The Law Foundation of Ontario has announced that Laura Tamblyn Watts, an adjunct lecturer at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work, has received a 2020-2021 Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship.

Through her fellowship, Ms Tamblyn Watts will create a free online course to teach Ontarians how to decide to be and how to act as a Power of Attorney (POA) for Property and Personal Care. She will be hosted by FIFSW, where she will work with Associate Professor David Burnes, Associate Dean, Academic.

“With the growth of the older population, there is an urgent need for a clear online resource to educate Ontarians on how to serve as Power of Attorney for Personal Care and/or Property,” says Burnes. “We are absolutely delighted that The Law Foundation of Ontario’s Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship will allow Laura the opportunity to create this important resource.”

The course that Tamblyn Watts will create will be a first of its kind in Canada, and will help close a knowledge gap in existing public legal education and information (PLEI). Existing PLEI capably instructs people on how to create or revoke a POA. Tamblyn Watt’s course will provide specific information on how to carry out the role of an Attorney, and the legal and non-legal implications of doing so. Topics will include: substitute decision-making; mental capacity; elder abuse; working with third parties such as medical and financial professionals; and working with the Public Guardian and Trustee and the court system.

“Acting as a Power of Attorney for a loved one or friend can be an emotionally difficult and even stressful time,” says Tamblyn Watts. “Our objective with this fellowship is to make the process as understandable as possible, to provide practical examples and instruction, and to remove the stress from what can in fact be a rewarding experience.”

Tamblyn Watts is CEO of CanAge, a Canadian seniors’ advocacy organization. She is a nationally and internationally recognized expert on aging issues, with a specialty in law reform, policy, partnerships, and community and media engagement. She has also held senior-level roles at the Canadian Association of Retired Persons and Canadian Centre for Elder Law.

Prasanna Balasundaram, a staff lawyer who supervises the Refugee and Immigration division at Downtown Legal Services, a community legal clinic and a clinical education program operated by the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto, also received a Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship.

“Prasanna and Laura have each proposed such interesting topics that will help Ontarians in practical ways,” said Linda Rothstein, the Foundation’s Board Chair. “Though the fellowships are quite different, each aims to directly empower people with the legal information necessary to lawfully and ethically carry out important roles in our society, namely refugees in their pursuit of transitional justice and people who are acting as a Power of Attorney. We’re eager to see what comes out of the fellowships.”

> Click here to read the full press release from the Law Foundation of Ontario

Follow Laura Tamblyn Watts on twitter: @ltamblynwatts

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