The Top 25 Most Influential 2019 winner
Partner, McCarthy Tetrault, Vancouver
Michael Feder’s pro bono work has primarily focused on helping people with disabilities. Feder acted as lead counsel for persons with disabilities in S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation, 2019 SCC 4. In its decision, the SCC reversed the B.C. court’s decision and held that discretionary trusts widely used to provide financial support to persons with disabilities are not their assets and, therefore, do not generally affect their eligibility under social assistance programs. This is a significant decision for the disability community in Canada as the status of these trusts had never been addressed by the SCC. As lead counsel for the Council of Canadians with Disabilities, Feder brought a constitutional challenge to B.C. laws permitting involuntary treatment of people with mental disabilities without regard to their capacity. Pro bono clients are in good hands when they’re being represented by 2017’s British Columbia Litigator of the Year and one of the handful of lawyers to be appointed by the Chief Justice of Canada as amicus curiae.