The Top 25 Most Influential 2017 - Government/Non-Profits/Associations

  • Subtitle: Cover Story
Written by  Tim Wilbur and Mallory Hendry Posted Date: August 8, 2017


Suzanne Anton Attorney General and Minister of Justice for British Columbia Vancouver

While there are new faces in B.C.’s provincial government, justice reform was a significant legacy of the previous regime. Under Suzanne Anton’s leadership, B.C. enacted a Civil Resolution Tribunal, an online dispute resolution that allows the public to resolve disputes involving strata and many small claims disputes of less than $5,000 as of June 1. Disputants are able to access the system at all times of day and night. Through the Legal Services Society, funded by the government, the province also provided a family law line and extended duty counsel to allow the public to access the system and secure advice to resolve disputes in family law. Delays in the criminal courts have also been reduced by legislation that gives police the authority to impose roadside prohibitions upon suspected impaired drivers. The province also recently embarked upon a family court mediation project with emphasis on the needs of indigenous children in the child welfare system. The parents’ legal centre is part of an innovative approach to dealing with child protection and emphasizes ways for children to stay with their families or in their communities.

What voters had to say:

“She is a tireless worker and a truly honourable Canadian.”

“A great influential lawyer who deserves the award.”

“A people person and dedicated to her work.”

Lise Maisonneuve Chief Justice, Ontario Court of Justice Toronto

Lise Maisonneuve is the second woman to be named chief justice of the Ontario Court of Justice, a leader in judiciary across Canada. She’s an innovator on criminal justice reform. She sets the tone for one of the most energized and talented benches in Canada. Maisonneuve was credited by Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi with developing the education plan that expressly mandates new judges need to be trained in sexual assault law and other issues for the new judicial requirements outlined in 2017. The program has always been a key component in judicial training, and it includes instruction on legal and equality issues. However, it was not originally included in the plan as a requirement. The changes come following an outcry over judges’ comments about complainants in other parts of the country.

What voters had to say:

“A human, energizing and natural leader.”

Michael Moldaver Justice, Supreme Court of Canada Ottawa

Michael Moldaver’s bold, game-changing decision in R. v. Jordan has impacted criminal matters — and all matters — in the courts and prompted more judicial appointments. He signed on to the majority decision along with Justices Russell Brown and Andromache Karakatsanis, with Rosalie Abella and Suzanne Côté concurring. No single decision of any court has had more impact in the last year. In 2015, he also wrote the dissenting judgment in R. v. Nur, a 6-3 decision in which he argued the court should have shown judicial restraint and upheld the three-year mandatory minimum sentence for illegal possession of a loaded firearm. Moldaver is also involved in the legal community, volunteering as a guest judge on final panels for national law school moot competitions.

What voters had to say:

“A brilliant legal mind, who wants to see the right things done.”

“Jordan has really progressed criminal and POA law ensuring timely decisions — a great decision from a great mind.”

Darrel Pink Executive director, Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Halifax

Darrel Pink has helped frame and drive the change forward within Nova Scotia, and he has demonstrated national leadership on various matters, including regulatory innovation. For example, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society has begun pilot projects to test compliance regulation and begun the creation of ethical infrastructure for legal service providers and the direct regulation of those providers (i.e., law firms). Nova Scotia was the first jurisdiction to adopt a comprehensive framework of entity regulation, which has been adopted in principle by B.C. and is under consideration by the Prairie provinces and the Law Society of Upper Canada.

What voters had to say:

“Darrel’s role in leading change cannot be overstated.”

“Darrel is a quiet leader who has always had the public interest mandate of the NSBS front and centre in his consideration. He is known as a wise leader within the regulatory world and his sage advice is sought out across the country.”

Michael Tulloch Justice, Ontario Court of Appeal Toronto

Michael Tulloch has played a role in improving the province’s racial issues. In April 2016, he was appointed to lead an independent review of police oversight in Ontario as a result of the controversy surrounding the police’s use of force and allegations of secretive practices by police watchdogs. His team consulted with more than 1,300 individuals and organizations. The final report, released in April 2017, included 129 recommendations to make police oversight more transparent and accountable, and it resulted in significant changes to police oversight. Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi committed to implementing several of the recommendations, including: releasing past and future Special Investigations Unit directors’ reports that describe cases where no criminal charges were laid; disclosing to the public crucial information about investigations into deaths involving officers; and requiring watchdogs to collect demographic data, including statistics on race, ethnicity and indigenous status.

What voters had to say:

“Thank you for your dedicated hard work in spearheading legal reforms into police oversight resulting in more transparency and accountability to the people of Ontario.”

“Exceptional accomplishment in combatting and preventing racism.”

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+1 # Mr.Kelvin h 2017-08-08 11:26
It's a shame Richard Mclaren didn't make the list, his report on doping in Russia was definitely drew the most international attention and made the most international impact in terms of work done by a Canadian lawyer.
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