Toronto – The University of Toronto Faculty of Law has awarded the prestigious June Callwood Fellowship in Aboriginal Law to Newfoundland and Labrador native Glenn Wheeler, a member of the Qalipu Mi’kmaq First Nation, to conduct a research project of special significance to the band. The June Callwood Fellowship in Aboriginal Law provides financial assistance for legal studies of special significance to Aboriginal people.
Wheeler, a practicing lawyer based in Toronto, will study the legal status of health benefits provided to First Nations by the federal government. Though the special rights of First Nations people are recognized in law, health benefits are not mentioned specifically. The federal government says it can change the benefits program as it sees fit and without consultation.
Wheeler’s research for his LLM degree will determine, among other things, whether a band such as the Qalipu could go to court and stop changes to the Non-Insured Health Benefits Program.
“Access to the benefits program has been very important for the Qalipu,” says Wheeler. “It’s important to know where we stand in case a future government tries to change the program in a way that hurts our people.”
Wheeler says he was very moved to receive such a fellowship, named in honour of journalist, author, and social activist June Callwood.
“June was such an inspiring figure, not only because she was a very fine writer but also because ...

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