In our world’s history of celebrities and role models, exceptional women have been increasingly taking the spotlight. Among the endless list of accomplished females, we can find Rosa Parks, Ada Lovelace, Maya Angelou, and Amelia Earhart. However, today we’re going to take the opportunity to recognize the first indigenous woman to hold the office of the Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Government of Ontario—Malliha Wilson.
Malliha comes from a Tamil Sri Lankan family that’s highly recognized in law, politics, and human rights. Wilson was born in Colombo, Sri Lanka to mother Susili Wilson and father Alfred Jeyaratnam Wilson. Her grandfather was Samuel James Veluppillai Chelvanayakam—also known as S.J.V. Chelvanayakam—known for using non-violent methods for political conflict resolution, and for being a leader to various political groups battling discrimination towards minorities in Sri Lanka.
Wilson earned her undergraduate degree at the McGill University of Montreal, Québec. Later, in 1981, she completed her law degree in the Osgoode Hall Law School in York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
In 1987, the Canadian-Tamil woman from Sri Lanka launched her career in the Ontario Public Service. She later went on to be the Legal Director for the Ministry of Labour for four years, and then became the Director of the Crown Law Office-Civil. In 2008, Wilson served as Assistant Deputy Attorney General in Ontario for eight years. She also worked as the Special Legal Advisor at Investment Management Corporation of Ontario (IMCO).
Today, she is the Senior Partner at the Nava Wilson LLP Toronto-based law firm she co-founded with managing partner, Kubes Navaratnam. Given her background, Wilson’s focus is on Indigenous and human rights, constitutional and labour law, and complex litigation. She is part of the Advisory Board of the Canadian-Tamil Professionals’ Association. She is also a member of the Board of the Churchill Society for the Advancement of Parliamentary Democracy. In addition, Malliha is associated with the Board of the Osgoode Hall Law School Alumni Association and Editorial Board of The Philippe Kirsch Institute.
Presently, Wilson also takes part in the Principal’s Advisory Group at the University of Toronto Scarborough and the Global Justice Journal. Malliha also participates in the fundraising gala for the non-profit organization Comdu.it. This organization centers on making technology and education sustainably accessible to parts of the Sri Lanka population.
Malliha serves as a senior counsel at Nava Wilson LLP and provides legal advice and negotiates businesses rights on behalf of employers or agencies in court.
Nava Wilson LLP focuses on real estate law, labour law, and litigation. In the real estate division, lawyers team up to aid people who want to buy, sell, or refinance a property, including commercial properties. The corporate team helps entrepreneurs make the right decisions when starting a new business, buying or selling a business, becoming their counsel, and even getting incorporated. Furthermore, the litigation team at Nava Wilson LLP help protect their customers’ rights through commercial litigation, minor court claims, and real estate breaches among others.
Wilson has been a part of over 20 noteworthy cases of the Supreme Court of Canada while she served as a Senior Appellate Litigation Counsel in the Ontario Government during the course of over 30 years.
Wilson excelled in law, receiving awards for her accomplishments in the diversity and inclusion fields. In 2009, she received the Distinguished Award from the South Asian Bar Association. She later received recognition from her alma mater Osgoode Hall Law School with a Gold Key Award for the Public Sector. Lastly, in 2015, the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers presented Malliha the Lawyer of Distinction Award.
Malliha has a recorded history of serving minorities in her country and sets the bar high on what it takes to be a female role model. Every day, more women are striving to be as accomplished as Wilson and are rightfully being recognized for it.