Joanna Birenbaum

Joanna Birenbaum is a litigator at Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP in Toronto with a diverse civil and administrative practice. She is recognized for her expertise in gender equality and sexual violence. Her extensive experience in this area includes constitutional litigation, civil sexual assault claims, employment law, human rights and workplace investigations, representing complainants in sexual history applications in criminal sexual assault proceedings, and defending malicious prosecution and defamation claims targeting women who have reported sexual violence. Joanna's recent Supreme Court of Canada appellate advocacy in these areas includes Platnick v. Bent (2019) and R. v. Quesnelle (2014). Joanna prosecutes for a regulated health college in Ontario, including in cases involving allegations of sexual abuse. She also advises institutions and employers on sexual violence policies and procedures.

Joanna has co-written a book with Professor Karen Busby titled Achieving Fairness: A Guide to Campus Sexual Violence Complaints (Thomson Reuters: 2020). She was a 2014-2015 McMurtry Fellow at Osgoode Hall Law School and adjunct faculty at Osgoode (2014-2017) teaching in the areas of gender, equality, and the law and violence against women. In addition to having her private practice, Joanna is also the Director of Capacity Building for the Canadian Centre for Legal Innovation in Sexual Assault Law Response (CCLISAR).

Joanna holds an LL.B. from the University of Toronto. She was called to the Ontario Bar in 1998.

Tel: (416) 969-3504
Email: jbirenbaum@upfhlaw.ca