McCarthy Tétrault LLP lawyer Paul Boniferro is taking on the role of deputy attorney general of Ontario effective Jan. 3, 2018 for a two-year term.
Boniferro, a partner in the firm’s national labour and employment group, is taking on management of what he says could be considered the “second largest law firm in the country” (second to the federal government’s Department of Justice).
A practising labour and employment lawyer and at one time the national leader of practices and people at McCarthy’s, Boniferro says he hopes some of the experience he has had in the private sector in a management role can be leveraged in the MAG’s office.
“In my private practice I prided myself on client service and I see this as just serving a new client and that client happens to be the attorney general [Yasir Naqvi] and his premier. I look forward to serving them well in terms of their legal needs,” he says.
The position was left open in May when former deputy attorney general Patrick Monahan was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto.
“I’ve always had a keen interest in public service and the government and government law. My public service interest stems back to my parents who, when I was growing up, were very active in our local community in Sault Ste. Marie,” says Boniferro. “I have been at a stage in my career where I was looking forward to a new challenge and new opportunity and this became available and I decided to take it.”
With the next Ontario provincial election taking place in June of next year, Boniferro is entering the role at an interesting time, but doesn’t see any issues if there was to be a change in government next summer.
“Canadians do a much better job at transition of governments. Regardless of the outcome of any political stripe, the public service for the most part is kept intact and continues to serve the government of the day. I’ve learned over the years that the beauty of the public service in Ontario and Canada is that they are truly professionals and serve the government of the day. The elections don’t have a major impact on roles at the deputy minister level.”
“I look forward to continuing to serve the premier and her cabinet and until told otherwise that’s my duty and what I look forward to doing,” he says.
Boniferro also enters the job at a time when there is much talk about the need to introduce technology to revolutionize the administrative of justice — a challenge he says he looks forward to taking on with the rest of the executive team at the MAG.
“It’s an area I’m passionate about and an area I hope I can have some impact on,” he says.
As the most senior executive legal counsel in the Ontario Public Service, Boniferro will lead the MAG and along with his team will provide strategic advice to enable informed policy and program decisions affecting Ontario and beyond.
Prior to joining McCarthy Tétrault, Boniferro was a senior policy adviser to the Ontario Minister of Labour. There, he advised the government on changes to the Labour Relations Act, the Workers’ Compensation Act, the Employment Standards Act and the Pay Equity Act. Since joining McCarthy Tétrault in 1996, he has been retained by the government on a number of occasions to provide advice on labour relations and employment issues.