Dyanoosh Youssefi is a legal studies professor, a writer, a social justice advocate, and a former criminal defence lawyer. She is also the founder and Executive Director of All IN, a group that advocates for inclusive communities.
In her 30+ years of volunteerism, which she started as a teenager, she’s worked with seniors, youth-at-risk, sex-workers, the homeless, and people with physical and mental challenges, has served on the Board of Directors of Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre and RESULTS-RÉSULTATS Canada, and volunteered internationally in Israel and Zimbabwe. In 2014 and in 2018, Dyanoosh ran for Toronto City Council. Currently, Dyanoosh serves as the Justice Critic (Shadow Cabinet) for the Green Party of Canada, and is a Director and Chair of the Social Action Committee at the First Narayever Congregation, in Toronto.
Dyanoosh writes and speaks on issues relating to policing, prisons, criminal justice reform, advocacy, equity, and politics. You can see some of her writing here under the “Articles” tab. Dyanoosh has frequently spoken out on issues of respectful policing and effective alternatives to incarceration, especially for the mentally ill. She has appeared before the House of Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights and the Toronto Police Services Board. Her blog posts have been featured on Huffington Post and she has appeared on CTV News Channel and CBC radio. Dyanoosh is a proponent of alternative dispute resolution and collaborative approaches to problem-solving.
After graduating from the University of Toronto, Dyanoosh received her law degree from McGill University in Montreal before returning to Toronto to run a successful criminal law practice. When her two children were born, she left her practice in order to raise her young family. During those years, she continued her volunteer work as a Director of PARC (Parkdale Activity Recreation Centre) and then RESULTS Canada, served on the steering committee of the Law Union of Ontario, helped to organize legal conferences, started her blog, JusticeRequiresEmpathy.com, then moved on to blog for the Huffington Post, and also began teaching law part-time, first at Seneca and Humber Colleges.
Born in Iran, she has lived in Canada since she was 12. In addition to English, she speaks French, Persian and Hebrew.
These days, Dyanoosh misses karate, painting, poetry writing, and her criminal defence work, but she has started to learn to play the guitar, her first instrument.