WHO WE ARE
Melanie Toolsie returned to private practice recently after 20 years as litigation counsel with the Department of Justice. For the Attorney General of Canada, she represented many departments and federal bodies before the courts at first instance and appellate levels, including acting on behalf of: Health Canada, Canadian Food Inspection Agency, Public Prosecution Service Canada, Correctional Services Canada, CSIS, the RCMP, the Canada Revenue Agency, Public Works & Government Services Canada, Employment and Social Development Canada, Transport Canada, and Canada Border Services Agency. A keen interest in the inner workings of government led her to concurrently pursue a Masters in Administrative Law at Osgoode Hall, which she completed in 2013. Course work and research examined the broad ranging decision-making authority of the State and the frameworks devised to deliver procedural and substantive justice and outcomes. Prior to public law litigation, Melanie was in private immigration law practice and gave seminars to prospective new immigrants in Jakarta, Indonesia. Melanie is a graduate of the joint LL.B.-J.D. program at the University of Windsor and the University of Detroit Mercy (Michigan) in 1998. Her earlier endeavours have included: teaching U.S. constitutional law and criminal law and procedure at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit; former Chairperson of the Complaints Committee/Public Appointee for the College of Dental Technologists of Ontario; former Chairperson of the Auditorium Neighbourhood Association.
Melanie now brings more than two decades of litigation experience and nimbleness to help clients exercise their own best decision making to avoid litigation or navigate it ably, across the areas of family law, estates, and immigration. Outside of the law, Melanie seizes recharging moments at the family koi and goldfish farm, and less gentle times in the adventurous endeavour of rearing three children, cycling and reading the Kitchener-Waterloo Record with a strong cup of coffee.
Alex Toolsie founded the family law side of the practice in 2013, after having practiced for several years in Brisbane, Australia, where he had graduated from University of Queensland’s law school in 2003. He eventually hung up his cherished Gold Coast diving gear and returned home to practice law and play chess on home soil. Having completed a Bachelors degree in Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Waterloo in 2000, the practice of family law was a good natural fit professionally. Alex’s roots in the K-W community were re-established and ripened until Alex’s passing in October 2020.
Jagdat Vincent Toolsie offered broad legal services to clients in the K-W region for nearly 25 years from 1969 onwards after graduating from University of Western Ontario’s law school. Previously a graduate of Waterloo University (now Wilfrid Laurier University), prior to practising law, he taught English literature and Latin, as he had in the beloved country of his birth, Guyana before immigrating to Canada.
Although he passed away in 2007, Toolsie Law finds roots in the legacy of this deep thinker, maverick spirit and fearless advocate.
Bridgette Gagnon, law clerk – Bridgette graduated from the Office Administration – Legal program at Conestoga College in 2016 with High Distinction. She was awarded the Sorbara Law Legal Award for Outstanding Academic Excellence. Bridgette has worked for the past five years as law clerk to the late Alex Toolsie with a focus on Family Law. She also works now in support in the areas of Wills & Estates, Real Estate, and Immigration.