About Pivot Legal Society

Building a movement for a just society, where dignity, fairness and compassion are firmly rooted in the law.

Who we are

Poverty and social exclusion are not inevitable. By drawing attention to the root causes of poverty, criminalization and social isolation, we are creating the conditions for each of us to become full and equal participants in our communities.

Our story

In the fall of 2000, John Richardson listened to a man tell a story about the Downtown Eastside. Laughing and smiling, as if preparing to tell a joke, the man described being pushed and knocked to the ground by a cop on East Hastings Street. Read the full story here. 


Katrina Pacey, Executive Director

Doug King, Lawyer
Kevin Hollett, Communications Director

DJ Larkin, Lawyer

Brenda Belak, Lawyer

J Stewart, Business Development Director

[see full list]
[see past Pivot staff]


Pivot's board of directors represents a fundamental principle of our approach - that by bringing together people living on the margins of society and legal professionals committed to social justice, we can create legal change that has the power to impact society as a whole.[more]

What we do

Pivot's mandate is to use the law to address the root causes of poverty and social exclusion. Our name is metaphor for our approach to social change - by making the most tangible violations of human rights the focal point of our efforts, we exert maximum pressure in order to shift society toward greater equality and inclusivity.


Pivot's social change campaigns focus on a broad range of issues - policing, housing, sex work, child welfare, violence against women and drug policy. The thread that unifies our work is a commitment to challenging laws and policies that intensify poverty and social exclusion. Whether lobbying for legislative reforms, fighting an eviction or challenging a section of the Criminal Code of Canada as unconstitutional, we focus our energy on cases with the greatest potential to make systemic change. 


We take a bottom up approach to law reform. We work collaboratively with people impacted by poverty and marginalization to develop a vision for change that will make a meaningful difference in their lives. We are committed to providing people living in poverty with opportunities to develop new skills and to speak for themselves about their needs and issues that affect them.


Law reform efforts are vastly stronger and more likely to yield lasting results when there is broad support for those changes. That is why a central component of Pivot's work is to create opportunities for people from diverse backgrounds to gain a better understanding of the issues affecting people living in poverty and to get involved in building a more just and inclusive society. 

Who we work with

Pivot Foundation

Pivot Legal Society works with the Pivot Foundation and other charitable organizations to support legal education, community empowerment, and other charitable activities. [more]


Pivot's work is supported by a strong community of charitable foundations, progressive businesses, unions, and government agencies. Here are some of the supporters we have worked with recently.


Community partners

Pivot works in partnership with some of Canada's most successful non-profit organizations, charities, law firms, and advocacy groups.


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