Indigenous History Month Statement

June is National Indigenous History Month in Canada. The development of National Indigenous History Month in Canada created an opportunity to learn about the unique cultures, traditions, experiences, ways of life and ways of being of First Nations, Inuit and Metis. It is a time to honour the stories, achievements, resilience and truths of Indigenous Peoples, who have lived on these territories since time immemorial. In June, Canadians celebrate National Indigenous History Month, an opportunity to honour the heritage, contributions and cultures of Indigenous peoples in Canada. National Indigenous History Month provides an opportunity to recognize not only the historic contributions of Indigenous peoples to the development of Canada, but also the strength of present-day Indigenous communities.

In June of 2009, the House of Commons designated June as National Aboriginal Month. In 2017, the name was changed to National Indigenous History Month.

Indigenous communities have celebrated their ways of life and ways of being around June 21st because of the change of seasons. It is the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Many Indigenous communities celebrate this day with ceremonies that may include feasting, fasting, attending lodges, drumming and singing. The change of all seasons is an important time for most Indigenous communities and ceremonies are held by many during these times.

National Indigenous Peoples Day was announced in 1996 by then Governor General of Canada, Romeo LeBlanc. This was the result of consultations and statements of support for such a day made by various Indigenous groups:

  • in 1982, the National Indigenous Brotherhood, now the Assembly of First Nations, called for the creation of National Aboriginal Solidarity Day,
  • in 1995, the Sacred Assembly, a national conference of Indigenous and non-Indigenous people chaired by Elijah Harper, called for a national holiday to celebrate the contributions of Indigenous Peoples,
  • also in 1995, the royal commission on Aboriginal Peoples recommended the designation of a National First Peoples Day,
  • on June 21, 2017 the Prime Minister issued a statement announcing the intention to rename this day National First Peoples days.

In 2020, The Hamilton Community Legal engaged it developing an internal document call the Journey to ReconciliAction to guide the organizations in its commitment to work on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) recommendations.  The board of director’s approved  sixteen recommendations that address 14 calls to action that apply to the clinics work which are contained within the TRC’s report that was released in 2015.

The clinic was one of the first non-Indigenous agencies to release such a document. This report is available on our website at The clinic views this document as a living document embedded in building strong relationships with First Nations, Metis and Inuit communities living in Urban settings and living on reserves; including Six Nations and the Mississauga’s of the credit. Currently the board of director’s is engaged in reviewing and renewing its work in the Journey to ReconciliAction and will do this work in a good way with open minds and open hearts and in consultation with Indigenous Peoples.

In 2016, as an early act of ReconcilAction, the Board of Directors approved the closure of our clinic on June 21, Aboriginal Solidarity Day, for a dedicated day of reflection. This closure allows our staff to participate in Indigenous events, gatherings, and activities, fostering a deeper understanding and connection with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities.

We encourage other agencies, businesses, and organizations to review the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s recommendations and to develop their own roadmaps and commitments to adopt these recommendations at all levels. Concrete actions, such as designating a day for staff to reflect and educate themselves on Indigenous communities and their responsibilities, are essential steps toward reconciliation.

By closing our doors on Aboriginal Solidarity Day, we hope to set an example and inspire others to take meaningful actions in support of reconciliation and Indigenous solidarity.

Pride Statement

The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic (HCLC)’s  Queer Justice Project (QJP)  wish a happy Pride to all Two-Spirit + LGBTQIAPGNC community members in Hamilton and around the world! 


Each year, Pride is a time for celebration and reflection, but fundamentally, it is always important to remember that it started as a riot, a protest, and a movement. Increasingly, the origins of Pride seem more relevant to our present than perhaps they were for a period. We had seen steady progress made in terms of both legal reforms and social acceptance for most Queer identities. 


However, this past year in particular, we have witnessed words and actions by Canadian governments and major political parties that signal that the progress we have enjoyed is now under immediate threat. Our communities have witnessed and been the target of new policies and laws that violate our human rights and jeopardize our safety, and there is reason to expect more may come in the future. 

Sadly, this year, a recent Global News article published on May 25, 2024, titled “CSIS Warns Some LGBTQ2 Events, Venues May Face Threats from ‘Lone Actors’,” highlights an alarming trend. The article recounts a harrowing incident at the University of Waterloo, where a hate-motivated attack during a gender studies class injured two students and a professor. This brutal act was a premeditated assault driven by hatred towards gender expression and gender identity.

The Two-Spirit and LGBTQIAPGNC communities are uniting with renewed determination and resilience. In response to escalating threats and hostility, communities are taking decisive and thoughtful actions on multiple fronts.  Communities are countering the spread of harmful false narratives, launching legal challenges against discriminatory government actions, and bolstering security measures to safeguard Queer events. Additionally, they are organizing protests and counter-protests, standing firm against the rising tide of human rights violations, hate and hostility. Just as they (we) have always done, we are confronting adversity with solidarity and unwavering courage.

Through it all, the spirit and joy of Queer communities will always shine through. Hate will not be allowed to define us, and nor does the seemingly constant need to struggle for our own liberation. Pride is a reminder of the where we have been, those we have lost, what there is still to do. We have the right to live our lives in joy and love, including in this moment. 


This year, we also want to acknowledge all other struggles for liberation across the world. Queerness spans all of human experience, and intersects with every other possible identity at some point. As a result, every struggle for liberation and equality is a Queer struggle as well. Our communities overwhelmingly recognize that, and it is why our communities often demonstrate truly beautiful acts of solidarity across movements. Queerness rights are human rights. 


We are powerful, and so let this year’s Pride serve as a rallying cry as well. In our own struggles for peace and equality, and in solidarity with Two-Spirit + LGBTQIAPGNC around the world who face considerable threats, torture and criminalization. We will be free, we will be equal, we will be safe, and we will be Proud.

Thank You to the Attila Csany Inquest Jury for their Recommendations

Thank you to the Attila Csany Inquest Jury for their 21 recommendations. “Housing first” needs to be the approach for Health Care and Residential Care Facilities.

The HCLC thanks the Jury for the scope and depth of their provided recommendations. We also share the belief that more work can and should be done. In the next few months, we will be working towards ensuring the recommendations are implemented, with many of them being directed at the City of Hamilton and the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing. The 21 recommendations will be overseen and implemented by the coroner’s office, who will be tracking and following up with each of the listed parties. They will be working with us, the family, and all parties seeking to implement the recommendations, to ensure there is continued accountability for the work we have all done over the course of this inquests.

Recommendations from the Inquest Jury for Attila Csanyi

Thank you again for everyone’s hard work and dedication to the Coroner’s Inquest into the Death of Attila Csanyi.

Media Release: Coroner’s Inquest into the Death of Attila Csanyi

The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, along with co-counsel Jen Danch of Swadron Associates, will be representing the family of Attila Csanyi at the upcoming Coroner’s Inquest into his death. The inquest will begin on April 30th, 2024 at 9:30 AM and is expected to continue for two to three weeks. The fourth anniversary of Attila’s passing will fall during the proceedings, on May 2, 2024. 

Attila died of a drug overdose on the roof of Jackson Square in Hamilton, Ontario on May 2nd, 2020. Seven weeks before his death Attila was evicted from his home at Sampaguita Lodging & Rest Home, a Residential Care Facility (RCF) on March 11th, 2020. His eviction occurred outside of the process outlined in the Residential Tenancies Act. Following his extra-juridical eviction, Attila was effectively displaced onto the street, and relied on Hamilton’s congregate shelter system at the turn of the 2020 COVID-19 public health crisis.

Proceedings before the Coroner

A coroner’s inquest is an opportunity for members of the public to hear about the circumstances surrounding the death of a community member and neighbour. Outcomes from a coroner’s inquest are determined by a jury, composed of members of the public. In addition to answering the five required questions mandated by the proceeding, the jury may make recommendations to various levels of government, institutions and individuals aimed at preventing future deaths under similar circumstances. 

The jury will hear from witnesses for the Hamilton Police Service, City of Hamilton, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and Sampaguita Lodging and Rest Home, in addition to Attila’s brother and father. It is expected that experts in the areas of homelessness, residential care facilities and tenant’s rights will also be called to give evidence. 

Anticipated Evidence and Recommendations Attila’s family will be seeking

We anticipate that this inquest will draw attention to the institutional failings that created the conditions for the destabilization of Attila’s housing and supportive care in the weeks prior to his death. The jury will hear evidence about the history of RCFs’ operations, oversight and funding structures; the unique vulnerabilities of residents living within care homes; and the role of community organizations and support workers in the overall care and wellbeing of RCF tenants. Ultimately, once all of the evidence is heard, the jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths of individuals in similar situations. 

Having spent a significant amount of time reviewing the evidence yielded through the investigation into Attila’s death and the historical, social location of Residential Care Facilities within the current housing and health care landscape, counsel for Attila’s family anticipates recommendations may flow from and be aimed at: 

  • Public transparency and oversight of Residential Care Facilities at both provincial and municipal levels of government
  • Greater recognition and increased protection of tenant rights for residents living within Residential Care Facilities
  • Improved patient-directed care within homes offering supportive care services
  • Increased outpatient psychiatric funding and multidisciplinary services to meet the needs of individuals with concurrent mental health disabilities and substance use disorders

Link to View the Inquest
To access the livestream for the inquest, please use this link: 


Media inquiries
At this time, we will be responding to media inquiries in writing. Please direct inquiries to the attention of “Counsel for the Family – Csanyi Inquest”  at

Foreign landlord fails to pay taxes, CRA goes after tenant.

If your landlord is not a resident of Canada, the tenant has to pay 25% of the rent to the CRA. If they don’t, and if the landlord does not pay the required taxes, the tenant can be held liable with all of the interest and penalties.

Source: Foreign landlord fails to pay taxes, CRA goes after tenant. (Kerry Gold, The Globe and Mail Published April 12, 2024)


The Hamilton Community Legal Clinic is deeply troubled by this decision. Shifting the burden of tax-collection onto renters demonstrates a stunning disregard for the protection of and well-being on Canadian tenants. The idea that a residential tenant ought to be in a position to determine their landlord’s tax obligations, if the landlord has met their tax obligations and then withhold rent accordingly, demonstrates a clear disconnection between the people writing and interpreting our laws and the real world in which Canadians live. We urge the Federal Government to quickly act to address this clear injustice.

Stop Cutting the Story Short: Re-framing Anti-Black Racism as a Public Health Issue. The following content was written by Aoife Cummins for the Global Health Student Blog (McMaster University).

Stop Cutting the Story Short: Re-framing Anti-Black Racism as a Public Health Issue.

The following content was written by Aoife Cummins for the Global Health Student Blog (McMaster University).

“On October 2nd, 2022, Marcus Charles was leaving work when he experienced an epileptic seizure. Emergency services were called and shortly after, Charles was tased by Hamilton police and charged with three counts of assault. For over a year, Charles fought to have these charges dropped, while advocating for mandatory epilepsy and seizure response training for law enforcement.”

“In the most recent instalment of the Global Health Seminar Series, Gachi Issa, the Black Justice Coordinator at the Hamilton Community Legal Clinic, shared Marcus Charles’s story. Throughout her presentation, she illustrated the holistic and longitudinal consequences of anti-Black racism within and beyond the Hamilton context, urging students and faculty to recognize this phenomenon as a public health crisis.”

“Shortly after Issa’s presentation, Marcus Charles’ charges were officially dropped, marking a step in the right direction. However, in highlighting this victory, we must not forget the scars this event has left on our community or the unchanged systems that allowed it to happen.”

Read more at:

Rainbow Alliance Dryden et al. v. Webster

On December 14, 2023, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice decided in Rainbow Alliance Dryden et al. v. Webster to allow a defamation suit by a drag performer and a 2SLGBTQI community organization against an individual who publicly called them “groomers” to continue to trial.

In doing so, the court initially ruled that there is no public interest in protecting baseless accusations of child sexual abuse against 2SLGBTQI people.
The court then relied on Egale Canada’s intervention to affirm the exact opposite: Because false accusations of pedophilia have been weaponized against 2SLGBTQI people to deny members of our communities equal rights and opportunities for decades, the law must allow people being targeted by these homophobic and transphobic myths to pursue defamation claims.

In recent years, drag performers putting on family-friendly shows have been increasingly targeted with the baseless accusation that they are grooming children for sexual abuse. The correct use of the word “grooming” refers to practices by which sexual abusers gain access to victims, usually children and youth, and coerce and manipulate them to facilitate sexual abuse. 

Drag performances are a form of cultural expression and the equation of drag performances to child grooming is based on the homophobic and transphobic belief that gender diversity is inherently dangerous to children. The court accepted that the term “groomer” has come to function as a slur against drag performers and 2SLGBTQI people more broadly.

The court’s decision finds the use of the “groomer” slur against drag performers to be rhetoric based on hurtful and hateful myths and stereotypes

This is an important decision for 2SLGBTQI communities that comes at a time when we are facing unprecedented levels of hate, harassment, and violence fuelled by the spread of misinformation and disinformation. As noted in the court’s decision, the term “groomer” is a slur used against drag performers that is “rhetoric based on hurtful, and hateful myths and stereotypes…”

This decision represents the significant finding that calling drag performers “groomers” is an accusation of child sexual abuse and that people targeted by that accusation have the right to take legal action to protect their reputations.

Credits and Source: Egale Canada

Injured Migrant Workers Win of Victory!

Tribunal ruled that the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) has been illegally reducing compensation of racialized injured migrant workers for decades.

Last week, the Workplace Safety and Insurance Appeals Tribunal ruled that the Workplace Safety Insurance Board (WSIB) has been illegally reducing compensation of racialized injured migrant workers for decades. In an extensive ruling that took official notice of the institutional racism that migrant farm workers face, the Tribunal determined that the WSIB’s practice of ending compensation to migrant farm workers was illegal, and reinstated Loss of Earnings compensation to a group of four permanently injured migrant workers from Jamaica. 

The ruling stems from a WSIB practice that reduces partially injured migrant workers’ Loss of Earnings benefits after 12 weeks by pretending they can earn income from suitable work in Ontario even though such work is not available to injured migrants. 

Leroy Thomas is one of the appellants. As a participant on the Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program (SAWP), Thomas left his young family in Jamaica to work the fields in Ontario for up to 8 months a year.

In 2017, he suffered a permanent back injury that ended his 16 year career in Ontario. The WSIB knew that Thomas could not come back to work in Ontario with his injury, but cut his benefits as if he could. It told Thomas that, if he could still work in Ontario, he could restore his income with his disability by getting a job as a parking lot attendant. It ended his Loss of Earnings compensation shortly after his injury as if he was working that job. The WSIB’s practice forced Thomas, and injured migrant workers like him, into poverty with no realistic way of restoring their income in Jamaica with their injuries. Thomas started to organize with Justice for Migrant Workers and Injured Workers Action for Justice to press the WSIB for changes. He also appealed his case with three other injured migrant workers. In their landmark decision, the Tribunal said that WSIB must provide meaningful retraining and/or compensation based on the individual circumstances and labour market realities that migrant workers face in their home countries. In doing so, it determined that migrant workers are entitled to the same.

The cost of the Ontario Nutritious Food Basket in Hamilton for a reference family of four (2 adults and 2 school-aged children) rose from $1031 per month in 2022 to $1110 per month in 2023, representing an increase of approximately 8%.

Ontario Food Costs Rising

Public Health is directed by the Ministry of Health to monitor food affordability. This is achieved by conducting a survey of food costs in a sample of Hamilton grocery stores using a tool called the Ontario Nutritious Food Basket (ONFB). Food costing was conducted in Hamilton in May 2023.

Results from 2023 have been posted on the City of Hamilton’s web page, Monitoring Affordability in Hamilton:

To monitor food affordability, monthly costs of food plus the average cost of market rental housing in Hamilton are compared to incomes for eight individual and family scenarios. The family/individual income scenarios can be downloaded by clicking on this document: Household scenarios comparing income to monthly expenses in Hamilton.

The methodology used for surveying food costs in Hamilton in 2022 was repeated in 2023 and therefore results are comparable. The cost of the ONFB in Hamilton for a reference family of four (2 adults and 2 school-aged children) rose from $1031/month in 2022 to $1110/month in 2023, representing an increase of approximately 8%.

With the rising costs of food and rental prices, the HCLC will continue to, and encourages other individuals, organizations and stakeholders to empower our communities; especially those whose identities intersect with racial, gendered, sexual, disabled, and many other lines.