Former Ontario Associate Chief Justice Dennis O’Connor has been appointed to the Order of Ontario.
O’Connor, who is now counsel at Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, served as commissioner on the Walkerton inquiry and the Maher Arar inquiry while he was sitting on the Ontario Court of Appeal.
“It was a privilege to be asked to do them and it’s a great opportunity from a commissioner’s standpoint like I was to be able to devote your time and energy to a very important project,” he says.
The Walkerton inquiry looked into an E. coli contamination of the water supply of Walkerton, Ont., and it led to new regulations enacted by the provincial government to make drinking water safer in the province.
The Arar inquiry found that Maher Arar was the victim of inaccurate RCMP intelligence, and it provided a slew of recommendations to prevent something similar from happening again. Arar, who is a Canadian citizen, was deported from the United States in 2002 to Syria where he was tortured.
The inquiry also said that officials should have known Arar was being tortured and that the government owed him compensation.
The public inquiries O’Connor led have since become models for the process used to conduct inquiries.
O’Connor moved to the Yukon Territory in 1973 as a young lawyer to serve as a magistrate until 1976. He then taught law at the University of Western Ontario until he was appointed to the Court of Appeal in 1998.
He became associate chief justice in 2001 and retired from the bench in 2012 to join BLG.
Becoming counsel at BLG was sort of a homecoming for O’Connor as he practised at the firm’s Toronto predecessor, Borden & Elliot, for 18 years as a senior counsel before being named to the bench. He practised in the area of commercial and public law litigation.
Last summer, O’Connor was also named to the Order of Canada. He will be awarded the Order of Ontario at a ceremony in Toronto in June 2017.
“It means a great deal,” he says. “It’s a wonderful honour to be recognized that way.”
FASKEN MARTINEAU PARTNER APPOINTED DURHAM INTEGRITY COMMISIONER
The Regional Municipality of Durham has named Guy Giorno as its new integrity commissioner.
The partner at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP was set to start his work in the part-time position on Jan. 1. The role includes investigating and reporting on code of conduct complaints concerning the municipality’s council members.
The provincial government has introduced legislation that, if passed, would require every municipality in Ontario to hire an integrity commissioner. This is being done in the hope of boosting transparency and accountability at municipal councils.
REISLER FRANKLIN LLP ACQUIRES WINDSOR-BASED FIRM
Reisler Franklin LLP has acquired Windsor Ont.-based firm Donaldson Donaldson Greenaway LLP.
The move comes after partners Walter Donaldson and Mason Greenaway announced their retirement after more than 40 years of practice.
Three associates from Donaldson’s will join Reisler Franklin’s Windsor office, which the firm expects will broaden its presence in the city. This will bring the total number of lawyers the Resiler Franklin employs to 24.
LAW TIMES POLL
Law Times recently reported that an Ontario Superior Court judge allowed police to cross-claim Crown attorneys for negligent legal advice.
Readers were asked if they thought this is a problematic ruling.
Roughly 57 per cent said yes, having a judge rule that police can cross-claim Crowns for negligent legal advice is not beneficial for the criminal justice system.
The remaining 43 per cent said no, this ruling is fair and will increase the accountability of Crown prosecutors.