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Justice LaForme to receive honorary doctor of law degree

Tuesday, September 26, 2017 @ 3:33 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

During its Call to the Bar ceremony Sept. 27, Justice Harry S. LaForme will be granted a doctor of laws, honoris causa by the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC).

LSUC awards the honorary degrees to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law, or the cause of justice. Justice LaForme was chosen to receive the honour to acknowledge his dedicated leadership within the legal profession and within the Indigenous community. He is Ojibwa and a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation.

A member of the bar since 1979, Justice LaForme specialized in Aboriginal law involving the Constitution and the Charter. He represented Indigenous people and their interests at all levels of Canadian courts and internationally, appearing on their behalf in Switzerland, New Zealand and Great Britain.

He has held a number of public appointments, including acting as commissioner for the Indian Commission of Ontario and chair of the Indian Claims Commission, in addition to serving on the bench.

Justice LaForme was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1994, then, a decade later, to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, where he is still serving today. That appointment marked the first time an Indigenous person was appointed to a Canadian appellate court.

Members of Canada's Indigenous community have often recognized Justice LaForme and his work. He was given a National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the area of law and justice, and has been presented with an eagle feather (signifying the virtues of honesty, integrity and respect) on nine separate occasions.  

The ceremony will be held in Toronto.