Aleem Bharmal, QC

Human Rights Clinic – HRC


Aleem Bharmal, QC is a human rights lawyer at CLAS. He has practiced law at CLAS since 2002 and was its Executive Director for twelve years from 2008 to 2019. Prior to that, he was an associate lawyer practicing employment law with a large firm in Toronto.

Aleem graduated from Trinity College, University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy in 1991 and obtained his law degree from the Allard School of Law, University of British Columbia in 1994. He was called to the Bars of both BC and Ontario in 1995 and 1997, respectively.

Aleem has been a presenter on human rights, social justice and access to justice issues and is currently Co-Chair of both the Canadian Bar Association, BC Branch (“CBABC”) Human Rights and Social Justice Sections, a member of the Executive Committee, and a volunteer mentor at the Allard School of Law, UBC.

Aleem is also past Chair of the CBABC Access to Justice Committee as well as the Equality Committee at both the provincial and national levels. He is also a past member of the CBABC Judicial Advisory Committee and Truth & Reconciliation Working Group as well as the Law Society of BC Equity and Diversity Committee.

In late 2015, Aleem and his co-counsel, Clea Parfitt, won a very lengthy, high-profile racial discrimination case involving Indo-Canadian veterinarians: Brar v. BCVMA and Osborne (No. 22), 2015 BCHRT 151. In early 2016, Aleem was involved with other non-profit legal groups and concerned lawyers in the launch of an Islamophobia Legal Assistance Hotline currently administered by Access Pro Bono BC.

In June 2016, Aleem was awarded the CBABC President’s Medal in recognition of his contributions to the legal profession. In May 2017, he was elected to CBABC Provincial Council as a representative of Vancouver County. In June 2018, he was elected as an Officer to the CBABC Executive Committee. In February 2019, Aleem received the designation of Queen’s counsel (QC) by the British Columbia Attorney General.

Part of Aleem’s passion for human rights comes from his previous work abroad. As a newly-called lawyer in the mid-nineties, he worked as a Human Rights Officer for the U.N. High Commission of Human Rights, where he assisted in reporting on the administration of justice and ongoing human rights violations in Rwanda.