Dr. Wendy Cukier

Oyeyinka Oyelowo

For your commitment to disrupting gender-based violence

“First Republic Capital is proud to co-Sponsor the Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award and honoured to have Dr. Wendy Cukier and Oyeyinka Oyelowo as this year's recipients. We deeply admire Dr. Cukier's commitment to ending gender-based violence through stricter gun regulation and Ms. Oyelowo's determination through her legal and advocacy work to bring attention to workplace sexual assault and harassment."

Anthony Durkacz
Executive Vice President

"We’ve been advocating for survivors of gender-based violence and abuse for more than 25 years. So we know how important it is those in need to have someone in their corner, fighting for access to justice, safety and support. We’re honoured to co-Sponsor the Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award and pleased to congratulate and thank this year’s worthy recipients Dr. Wendy Cukier and Oyeyinka Oyelowo for their commitment to supporting women and gender-diverse people experiencing violence."

Elizabeth Grace
Leader of the Lerners Sexual Assault
and Abuse Team

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Meet the Winners

Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is excited to announce that the 2023 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award will honour Dr. Wendy Cukier and Oyeyinka Oyelowo. Through their exceptional work and advocacy, Dr. Cukier and Ms. Oyelowo demonstrate their commitment to supporting women and gender-diverse people experiencing violence.


Dr. Wendy Cukier

Founder and Academic Director of the
Ted Rogers School of Management's Diversity Institute

Dr. Cukier is recognized for her life-long career advocating stricter gun control legislation, noting the role of guns in gender-based violence, misogyny, and racism. In response to the December 6, 1989, massacre at École Polytechnique, Dr. Cukier founded the Coalition for Gun Control, an alliance of more than 200 organizations. A passion project for which she volunteers as its President, the research and policy work of the Coalition, led by Dr. Cukier, is pivotal to those in the gender-based sector seeking sound analysis of the role of guns and gun control.

Oyeyinka Oyelowo

In Ms. Oyelowo, the Clinic identified an emerging champion who will lead the next generation of advocates and survivors toward our collective goal of preventing and ending gender-based violence. Ms. Oyelowo is an ardent human rights advocate, developing expertise in women’s rights and policy development to address violence against women. Respected for her evolving work supporting survivors of workplace sexual assault, the Clinic is excited to recognize her work and devotion to advancing equity.

Founder of Yinka Law

Do you know a remarkable woman?

Congratulations once again to this year's award recipients Dr. Wendy Cukier & Oyeyinka Oyelowo
Congratulations once again to this year's award recipients Dr. Wendy Cukier & Oyeyinka Oyelowo
For more than 30 years, Dr. Wendy Cukier has been a leading advocate for women, solutions to gender-based violence and the path to a more inclusive economy.
She is the Founder and Academic Director of the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute, where her work focuses on exploring discrimination, hate and violence against under-represented groups as well as strategies to promote inclusion. Dr. Cukier also leads the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and is both a professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy at the Ted Rogers School of Management and the Research Lead for the Future Skills Centre.
In response to the Montreal Massacre in 1989, Dr Cukier co-founded the Coalition for Gun Control, which has grown to include a network of more than 200 organizations across Canada. Under her leadership, the Coalition was instrumental in establishing the United Nations-supported International Action Network on Small Arms, which is active in global efforts to combat trafficking and misuse of firearms, with a focus on gender-based violence.
Her advocacy and leadership have earned her many awards, including one of Canada’s highest civilian honours, the Governor General’s Meritorious Service Cross. Additional recognition includes a YWCA Women of Distinction Award, the Harry Jerome Diversity Award, and the Community Builder Award from the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion. She has also been named to such lists as the University of Toronto’s 100 Alumni Who Shaped the Century, The 100 Most Powerful Women by WXN, the International Women’s Forum Women Who Make a Difference, and 25 Transformational Canadians, among others. She is a bestselling book author including a co-author with Dr. Vic. Sidel, past president of the American Public Health Association,  The Global Gun Epidemic, and articles on gender-related gun violence and its prevention, and on an inclusive innovation economy. Dr Cukier holds a PhD, an MBA, an MA and honorary doctorates from Laval and Concordia Universities.

Oyeyinka Oyelowo is a lawyer and the founder of Yinka Law, a civil litigation law firm dedicated to excellent advocacy in tribunals and courts, eradicating anti-Black racism and advancing equality rights. She has a strong commitment to the rights of working people, and a robust understanding of criminal law, administrative law, employment, and labour law. She has contributed to the eradication of anti-Black racism through leading human rights training, engaging in human rights advocacy in private practice, and with pro-bono Ontario initiatives, and by providing mentorship opportunities to BIPOC students seeking to eradicate racism.


Oyeyinka Oyelowo is the Board Director for the Canadian Voice of Women for Peace – an UNESCO accredited United Nations group focused on advancing women’s rights, climate justice and peace initiatives around the world. By representing clients using human rights laws and litigation, Yinka Law works to eradicate human rights violations by educating individuals about how to understand the law and navigate the court system. Our mission is to ensure access to justice through education about how human rights laws affect our past, present, and future.


Ms. Oyelowo typically collaborates with international civil society organizations to teach courses related to human rights and international law. For example, Yinka Law worked with the Ontario Justice Education Program to deliver human rights training in the Together 180 program. The event occurred in May of 2022, and there were over 15 young people in attendance. Yinka Law has collaborated with the Elementary Teachers’ Federation of Toronto in April of 2022 to deliver feminist and anti-racism programming to over 500 individuals in attendance.


Ms. Oyelowo was nominated as one of Canada’s Most Influential Lawyers in the field of Human Rights law in the year 2021 and 2023. Her clients have consistently heralded her as a strong advocate with unparalleled results protecting her clients’ best interests. Ms. Oyelowo provides sophisticated, efficient, and poised legal services that produce excellent results and help marginalized clients access justice regardless of their sex, race, or economic background. Ms. Oyelowo is also the founder of Alagbara Media Inc., and a co-creator of “Safe Spaces” a documentary series that questions whether psychological and/or physical spaces can be created to protect vulnerable groups, such as women experiencing poverty and/or homelessness from violence. 


Ms. Oyelowo provides legal services to individuals who are from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds, specifically regarding limited financial resources, for them to pursue litigation, higher education, and mental health support.


Yinka Law is technologically innovative which makes the organization a permissionless provider of workplace harassment and sexual harassment education relating to human rights law and criminal law. By adopting a model of collaboration with like-minded organizations, Yinka Law has created a model for educating young people and organizations that does not require regulators or an approved statutory structure. The use of art therapy, for example, to teach complex topics such as human rights law and criminal law is permissionless because it transcends the dominant mode of teaching individuals about how the law has an immense effect on their lives.


Oyeyinka Oyelowo founded Yinka Law, a law firm that began providing legal services to individuals experiencing human rights violations on the basis of their ethnicity, race, ancestry, skin colour

and/or country of origin in February of 2021. Her contributions to eradicating discrimination and harassment in employment, services and housing began with her work as a Legal Leadership program officer with the Ontario Justice Education Network in 2017 and as the Special Programs.


Oyeyinka Oyelowo has provided criminal law legal services, employment law services, labour law services and human rights services to Black communities living across Ontario since May of 2016.


Oyeyinka Oyelowo describes outstanding as bringing together leading institutions and individuals from the legal and education sectors to collaborate on initiatives designed to foster student’s understanding of the justice system.