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Francesca Fernandes 905.526.9800 ext 5936
Nicole is a feminist social justice lawyer and Associate in our human rights group. She brings over 20 years of experience working as a front-line counsellor and advocate for women, children and gender-diverse individuals who have experienced violence, trauma and abuse. She believes that justice and equity are non-negotiable and always worth fighting for and she pursues these goals with empathy and compassion for her clients.
Nicole articled at the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), a national legal organization promoting gender equality rights through law. There, she refined her legal writing skills and knowledge of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and was involved in many gender equality cases and law reform initiatives including the landmark Supreme Court case of Fraser v Canada, which advanced and refined substantive equality rights in Canada.
Nicole has provided advocacy and support within the criminal justice and family legal systems, working at the Victim Witness Assistance Program and the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic, supporting survivors of gender-based violence. In the UK, she worked as a researcher, trainer and advocate in a hospital program for pregnant women experiencing violence, assessing risk, developing concrete safety plans and advocating for services.
Nicole interned for the Secretary General of Amnesty International and taught critical thinking and research skills to Chinese high school students in Shanghai. For several years, she managed the Advocacy and Human Trafficking Programs at Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre in Toronto, regularly speaking at conferences and to media on the issues facing youth who are trafficked in Ontario.
Nicole holds a law degree from King’s College London, UK, and a Masters in Human Rights Law from the University of London, UK. She is a board member for Parkdale Community Legal Services and she is a member-at-large on the Ontario Bar Association Constitutional, Civil Liberties and Human Rights Executive as well as the OBA Professional Development Committee. While not working to promote social justice, you can find Nicole with her partner and two wonderful children, dancing and cooking up a storm.
Areas of Law
Gender Based Violence
Sexual Assault and Harassment
Organizations and Activities
Hamilton Law Association
Ontario Bar Association
Parkdale Community Legal Services - Board Member
Ontario Bar Association - Constitutional Civil Liberties and Human Rights Executive, Member-at-Large
Ontario Bar Association - Professional Development Committee
Legal Matters: Trans and gender-nonconforming persons’ rights to use public washrooms
Nov 21, 2022
Everyone has the right to define their own gender identity. Gender identity is each person’s internal experience of gender. It’s how someone feels as a man, woman, both, neither or anywhere along the gender spectrum. A person’s gender identity could be the same or different from the sex they were assigned at birth.
Legal Matters: What is Human Rights Law?
Oct 03, 2022
Human rights law protects the right to equality. There are provincial and federal human rights laws that apply in different situations, which have different processes for complaints, however they both promote and enforce equality and dignity.
Lawrence Heights resident has been rehoused.
Jul 14, 2021
Lawrence Heights resident who faced eviction threat for years is rehoused - for now..
Lemire v. Burley, 2021 ONSC 5036
Jul 26, 2021
We were retained by the client after he had been sued by a City of Hamilton IT staffer who had publicly known connections to hate groups and white supremacist movements.