The Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism is pleased to announce that the Quebec Bar has awarded a Prix Mérite 2011 to Tamara Thermitus for her distinguished career and involvement in the legal community.
Admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1988, Me Tamara Thermitus is a civil litigation lawyer with the Department of Justice Canada, in the Civil Affairs Section of the Quebec Regional Office. Thermitus has worked as a public service lawyer, while also being active in the struggle against racial discrimination and working tirelessly for the advancement of equality rights.
Chief of Staff to the Deputy Minister of the Office of Indian Residential Schools Resolution Canada in 2003, Ms. Thermitus was Director of Policy and Strategic Planning of the same office from 2004 to 2006. In this context, she participated in the development of class action settlements brought by former students of Indian residential schools, and in particular, she was the main negotiator for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada.
Me Thermitus is strongly committed to working against inequality and racism. In 2001, she was a member of the Law Committee of the Immigration and Cultural Communities of the Quebec Bar. From 2004 to 2010, she was president of the Bar's Committee on Cultural Communities. She was also among the first to raise issues of racial discrimination within the profession and the judiciary. She also played a key role in the development and implementation of a course on the social context of law, which is now part of the compulsory curriculum for professional training of the Quebec Bar.
In 2008, she was appointed Chair of the new ad hoc Committee on Access to the Legal Profession by Immigrants, which deployed the IPOP program (employment integration of jurists trained abroad referred by a professional order) offered by the Bar in collaboration with Emploi-Québec to promote the hiring of foreign-trained lawyers.
Me Thermitus is also involved in the Canadian Bar Association (Forum of Women Lawyers) and chairs the Equality Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, Quebec Division. In addition, Tamara Thermitus is actively engaged in her own cultural community, serving on various boards of organizations dedicated to the Haitian cause.
Tamara Thermitus is currently pursuing an LLM degree within the Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism at McGill University, under the supervision of the Centre's director, Professor Colleen Sheppard.