Mary Birdsell

Mary Birdsell, (B.A., LL.B.) is the Executive Director of Justice for Children and Youth (JFCY), Canada’s only organization offering legal services exclusively to young people across a range of legal subject areas. In her career at JFCY, Mary has been deeply involved in all aspects of its functioning, which involves community development, public legal education, law reform, and client representation. She has appeared at every level of court in Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and she has made numerous presentations to government and standing committees regarding youth justice issues. As counsel and now executive director at JFCY, Mary has represented young people in Ontario youth courts for over 20 years. Mary has been a guest lecturer at a number of universities on a variety of youth justice issues. She has spoken at many conferences where the issues of young people, their rights, and their unique legal circumstances are being considered. She has been involved with various community groups and advisory committees in developing projects and resources for young people, including a specialized mental health and addictions court for youth in Toronto. Mary is on the Board of Directors of the Canadian Coalition for the Rights of Children, and she has recently co-founded the Ontario Bar Association’s Child and Youth Law section.