Focus On

Toronto lawyer begins one-year term as president of CBA

Wednesday, September 01, 2021 @ 12:59 PM | By John Chunn

Stephen Rotstein of Toronto begins his year-long tenure as president of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) on Sept. 1, taking the helm of the 125-year-old association of over 36,000 lawyers, notaries, law teachers and law students across Canada. He succeeds Bradley D. Regehr of Winnipeg. Steeves Bujold of Montreal begins his term as vice-president.

“My priority for the year is to empower lawyers to strengthen themselves and their communities,” Rotstein, the first public sector lawyer to become CBA president, said in the CBA’s press release. “The pandemic has meant increased workloads for many of our members and highlighted how difficult it can be to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Wellness and mental health are top of mind for many of our members. My focus will be to ensure CBA members have the necessary resources to be the best version of themselves and bolster their resiliency in these challenging times. I also want to encourage our members to further strengthen their own communities by volunteering and getting involved in various local initiatives. Giving back benefits both the individual and the community.”

In addition, the press release notes that the new CBA president wants to focus on younger legal professionals who may be contemplating non-traditional career paths. “I worked as a lawyer in government, business, the not-for-profit sector and now for a regulatory body. While historically many lawyers spent their entire careers in private practice others — especially now — want to practise differently, by going into government, in-house or the not-for-profit sector, for instance. The association is there to help them shape careers they’ll find rewarding and to support them.”

The new CBA president looks forward to meeting volunteers and partner firms to speak about well-being initiatives and to hear about matters of importance to them. Building on the success of past CBA presidents, Rotstein looks forward to engaging members through the Conversations with the President podcast.

Rotstein is director, global and domestic affairs at the Ontario Securities Commission. As part of the executive management team, Rotstein provides strategic counsel on a broad range of issues relating to capital markets, systemic risk and international standard setting work.

Prior, he was vice-president, policy and regulatory affairs and general counsel at FP Canada (formerly Financial Planning Standards Council) where he oversaw all public policy and regulatory matters related to financial planning and practiced corporate, commercial, employment, intellectual property, corporate governance, and non-profit law. He also serves as chair of the Credit Counselling Society (CCS) and previously was chair of the Four Villages Community Health Centre.

The CBA Board of Directors also welcomed new members Steven J.R. Seiferling of Saskatchewan, James Attila Barsby of Nunavut, Melanie del Rizzo of Newfoundland and Labrador, Lynne M. J. Vicars of Ontario and Mike McKinney of Alberta.