The Honourable Harry S. LaForme to receive honorary LLD for his dedication and leadership within the profession and the Indigenous community

Posted: 09/21/2017

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The Honourable Justice Harry LaForme and Mayan Elder Maria Ramirez at a Mayan Energy Ceremony at the Law Society in October, 2016.

The Honourable Harry S. LaForme will receive an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), from the Law Society of Upper Canada at the September 27 Call to the Bar ceremony in Toronto.

Justice LaForme is receiving the LLD – the highest honour that the Law Society can bestow – in recognition of his dedicated leadership within the legal profession and within the Indigenous community.

Justice LaForme is Ojibwa and a member of the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. After being called to the Bar in 1979, he practised principally in the area of Aboriginal law involving the Constitution and the Charter. He appeared as counsel at all levels of Canadian Courts in Canada and also represented Indigenous peoples’ interests at an international level, including Geneva Switzerland, New Zealand and Great Britain.

Throughout his career, Justice LaForme has been a frequent writer, speaker and teacher on issues related to Aboriginal law. He was appointed as Commissioner for the Indian Commission of Ontario in 1989, followed by an appointment as Chair of the Indian Claims Commission in 1991.

He was appointed a judge to the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1994. A decade later, he was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario – and is the first Indigenous person to be appointed to a Canadian appellate court.

Justice LaForme has authored many decisions of the Ontario Court of Appeal that illustrate his independent thinking and a passionate understanding of both the rule of law and commitment to human rights.

His service to the Indigenous community has been recognized with the 1997 National Aboriginal Achievement Award in the area of Law and Justice. On nine separate occasions, Elders have presented him with an Eagle Feather, which represents the virtues of honesty, integrity and respect.

Justice LaForme continues to sit as a member of many boards and advisory bodies for various Indigenous organizations and legal forums.

Each year, the Law Society recognizes outstanding achievement by distinguished members of the profession and the public by awarding Doctor of Laws degrees, honoris causa (LLD) at the Call to the Bar ceremonies in Ottawa, Toronto and London.