Dr. Wendy Cukier and Oyeyinka Oyelowo Announced as the 2023 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award Recipients

The annual award acknowledges their commitment to protecting and advocating
for the rights of survivors of gender-based violence.


Toronto, ON — 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. 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,” says Ms. Deepa Mattoo, Executive Director of the Barbra Schlifer Clinic.

In response to the December 6, 1989, massacre at École Polytechnique, Dr. Cukier founded the Coalition for Gun Control, an alliance of more than two hundred 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 in Canada and internationally.

“Dr. Cukier tirelessly takes on criticism and threats from gun advocates who claim to be punished by stricter gun laws. Her contribution to research, analysis of data, and corresponding policy recommendations are imbued with irrefutable fact, for which she is frequently applauded, and to which organizations like the Clinic frequently turn,” added Ms. Mattoo.

Dr. Wendy Cukier

Dr. Cukier is one of Canada’s leading experts in disruptive technologies, innovation processes and diversity. She has written more than 200 papers on technology, innovation, and management and coauthored the bestseller “Innovation Nation: Canadian Leadership from Java to Jurassic Park.” She is the Founder and Academic Director of the Ted Rogers School of Management’s Diversity Institute, which she founded in 1999 and has led projects to promote the participation and advancement of underrepresented groups. Dr. Cukier has assisted organizations in becoming more inclusive through innovative programs such as Diversity Leads, funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, which tracks the progress, impediments and evidenced-based strategies for promoting diversity in organizations.

This year, the Clinic has 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. She is also respected for her evolving work supporting survivors of workplace sexual assault. We are excited to recognize her work and devotion to advancing equity,” says Ms. Mattoo.

Oyeyinka Oyelowo

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

The 2023 Spirit of Barbra Schlifer Award is generously sponsored by our Award co-Partners First Republic Capital and Lerners LLP.


Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic is a specialized clinic for women and gender-diverse people experiencing violence, established in the memory of Barbra Schlifer. The Clinic is a multi-disciplinary, front-line service provider that assists more than 10,000 women a year to build lives free from violence through counselling, legal representation, and language interpretation.


For more information, please visit www.spiritofschlifer/the-award.


Media Contact: Pamela Rice at [email protected] or 416-312-8998.

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