39. Katrina Pacey

Executive Director, Pivot Legal Society

November 17, 2015

By Staff / Photo: France Edward

39-Katrina-Pacey--`France-Edward-Photography

Age: 41 | First Appearance

As a lifelong activist, Katrina Pacey is leery of appearing on lists such as this. But as the executive director of Pivot—a group of legal professionals committed to social justice on the Downtown Eastside—she appreciates having access to the other people on such lists. “Because we’re lawyers,” says Pacey, “we can get invited to meetings that frontline activists or sex workers may not be invited to.”

Bringing the frontline to Ottawa has become an effective MO for Pivot. “It becomes much harder when you have somebody in front of you telling you, ‘Your laws are forcing me into the darkest corners of the Downtown Eastside where I don’t know if I’m going to make it home tonight.’”

Pacey has spent almost a decade arguing that Canada’s prostitution laws are unconstitutional. Canadian Lawyer named her to its “25 Most Influential” list for “helping change draconian laws that threaten the lives of sex-trade workers and restore dignity to people who have been marginalized.” Not long after Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that the law violated sex workers’ rights to improve their safety and health, the Conservative government introduced new legislation to undermine the decision. And Pacey began working on her next piece of litigation.

To see who else made 2015’s Power 50, click here >>

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