Hi everyone,

I am writing you regarding a new CAFE policy initiative. The Community and Legal Aid Services Program (CLASP) at Osgoode Hall Law School has a long standing policy that discriminates against men in cases of domestic violence.

CLASP is a free legal clinic that has the honourable objective of helping people who cannot afford a lawyer with their legal issues. The clinic is composed of student volunteers who provide legal information, advice, and representation to those who qualify for their services.

While CLASP performs valuable work, the agency’s policy on men accused of domestic violence is sexist and arguably contravenes the constitutional guarantee of equality under the law. CLASP refuses to provide legal services to any man who is charged with a violent crime against a female partner in a domestic relationship (including threats). Meanwhile CLASP does provide such support to females charged with the same crime.

We are lobbying  to amend CLASP’s policy concerning domestic violence to allow for all people to receive equal access to justice. Let me be clear. This is not about defending the actions of violent men. This is about the presumption of innocence and equality before the law, rights which have taken centuries to establish and must be defended vigorously.

As part of our efforts to change this policy, we are in search of men who have been denied legal services at CLASP, or any other legal aid clinic, for issues involving domestic violence.

Men who have been affected by this policy are encouraged to submit their stories to policy@equalitycanada.com.

Submissions will allow us to understand how this policy has affected men and will make a significant difference in our fight for equality.

On extension of this same issue, we are also looking for men (who have been affected by this policy) who are comfortable telling their story publicly. For men who feel comfortable doing so, we intend to use such stories to broadcast the effects that domestic violence can have on men and to raise awareness of this issue and its prevalence.

We greatly appreciate all efforts to contribute to our initiatives and thank you in advance for your time and support.


Kevin Spykerman
Policy Advisor,
Canadian Association for Equality