About Legal Aid Ontario
Board of Directors
Posted below is a listing of the current members of Legal Aid Ontario's Board of Directors. For more information on any of these members please contact LAO at email@example.com.
Last updated: October 2015
July 2007 - July 2016
John D. McCamus, B.A., M.A., LL.B., LL.D. (Hon), LL.M., L.S.M., F.R.S.C., is a Professor of Law and University Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School of York University, a faculty which he served as Dean from 1982-1987. He is a member of the Ontario Bar. Prior to joining the faculty at Osgoode, he spent a year as a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada for Chief Justice Laskin. Professor McCamus is a member of the American Law Institute Advisory Committee for the Restatement of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment 3d and a former Chair of the Ontario Law Reform Commission. In 1996, he served as chair of the Ontario Government's task force that conducted a comprehensive review of Ontario's legal aid system which resulted in the passing of the Legal Aid Services Act and the creation of Legal Aid Ontario as an independent agency. Professor McCamus was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2006 and is the recipient of a Law Society of Upper Canada Medal for significant contributions to the profession. He is the author of numerous books and articles including texts on contracts and restitution.
Professor McCamus is currently a vice-president and Chair of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association and an Associated Scholar in the Toronto office of Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.
July 2015 - July 2017
Christa Freiler has over 35 years’ experience in social policy and research in both the non-profit and government sectors. She is the former Director of Research and Strategic Initiatives for the Canadian Education Association, former National Coordinator of Inclusive Cities Canada, and former Coordinator of the Laidlaw Foundation’s program in social inclusion. While a Program Director with the Toronto Social Planning Council in the 1980s, Ms. Freiler co-founded the Child Poverty Action Group, a public interest research and advocacy organization that led to the formation of Campaign 2000. She is also the former Senior Policy Coordinator with the Race Relations Directorate of the Ministry of Citizenship and former Policy Assistant to the Minister of Community and Social Services, providing policy advice on issues related to poverty, social assistance reform, long term care, and child care.
Ms. Freiler’s community involvement includes Immigrant Services of Guelph. She holds an honours BA in Philosophy from the University of Alberta and a Master of Social Work in Social Policy, Planning and Administration from the University of Toronto.
June 2008 - September 2018
One of the non-lawyers on the LAO board James McNee’s education includes an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Economics and a Master of Business Administration. A marketing and business strategy consultant McNee’s career includes full time positions and consulting assignments in the academic, charitable and for-profit sectors; he is an active volunteer in a number of community organizations. McNee has a special interest in corporate governance and how effective governance can be a strategic advantage for organizations in the private and especially the public sector.
James N. Yakimovich
June 2008 - September 2018
Mr. Yakimovich, CGA, CFE, is the principal of a professional practice in Toronto that provides regulatory and forensic investigation services to legal bodies. His thirty years of experience includes twelve with the Law Society of Upper Canada, Mr. Yakimovich has been responsible for a wide-range of operational programs and policy development, and for drafting provisions for legal organizations. His work includes interaction with numerous national, international and provincial regulatory associations.
March 2008 - June 2017
Mr. Liston has a long career in social work and child protection services. He was the Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society of London and Middlesex from 1985 until May 2005 and served as the Assistant Executive Director of the Children's Aid Society of Metropolitan Toronto from 1978 to 1985. Mr. Liston has also served as the President of the Board of Directors of King's University College, of the University of Western Ontario.
July 2015 - July 2017
After a successful career in the federal public service, Mr. Robillard became Executive Director of the Coalition ontarienne de formation des adultes (COFA) in 2012. COFA is a non-profit organization working in the field of literacy and basic skills for Francophone adults in Ontario.
Prior to joining COFA, Mr. Robillard was Vice-President of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency, based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Previously, he was Director General, Organization and Classification Infrastructure and before that, Director General, Strategic Infrastructure, Information Management and Chief Information Officer at the Canada Public Service Agency. Throughout his career, he has held several positions at regional, national and international levels.
For many years, he taught change management and management of public organizations at the École nationale d’administration publique.
Mr. Robillard has a master’s degree in public administration, a specialized diploma in international administration and a bachelor’s degree in business administration. In 2009, he graduated from the Accelerated Executive Development Program of the federal public service.
He has significant experience in project management and complex transformation initiatives.
Michelle L. Haigh
April 2011 - April 2016
Michelle is an Honours graduate from the Sheridan College Paralegal Studies program. She also holds Faculty of Law Certificate(s) in ADR/Advanced ADR from the University of Windsor.
Michelle is a sole practitioner and since 1996 has focussed on civil litigation – Small Claims Court. She was appointed by the AGO to the Paralegal Standing Committee at the LSUC in 2006. As a member of the PSC, she also sits as an adjudicator at good character and discipline hearings for paralegal candidates and licensees, and was previously a member of the Proceedings Authorization Committee.
The Attorney General of Ontario first appointed Michelle to the Paralegal Standing Committee in 2006. Since then she has worked with the committee to establish the by-laws governing the paralegal profession and the licensing process. She feels honoured to have been involved in this ground breaking process. Michelle continues to sit on the Paralegal Standing Committee as an elected bencher and served(s) on several committees, including Chair of the Compensation Fund Committee, Morris Report Working Group, Government Relations, Priority Planning, Vice-Chair of the Audit and Finance Committee, and former co-chair of Access to Justice. Michelle has found her experience to be enlightening and challenging and she feels that since regulation, the paralegal profession has gained respect and integrity. On April 8, 2015, Michelle was elected as the new Chair for the Paralegal Standing Committee.
Michelle is also a member of the Toronto Small Claims Court “Frequent User Committee”, Humber College Program Advisory Board, and former member of the Sheridan College Advisory Board. Michelle has also been an appointed director of the Board of Directors for Legal Aid Ontario since 2011.
Her community involvement includes Parent volunteer for City Rep Hockey Minor Atom AA, organizing teambuilding sessions and social gatherings. She also volunteered for the Burlington Rep Lacrosse Novice Team as a travel coordinator and organizer of team social events. Michelle has also dedicated many volunteer hours for to assist fellow licensees in their Continuing Professional Development, mainly structured around Ethics and Professionalism.
February 2009 - February 2017
Nancy Cooper is a lawyer in private practice and a longstanding member of the criminal law and family law panels for Legal Aid Ontario in the Northeast District. Ms. Cooper holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Sociology, a Bachelor of Laws, and the Diplôme de français juridique, all from the University of Western Ontario. Called to the Bar in 1992, Ms. Cooper now works almost exclusively in criminal law defence, serving the First Nations communities along the James Bay coast. She has held many positions throughout her law career including partner in her own firm, supervisory duty counsel (family law) for Legal Aid Ontario, and sole practitioner. She is currently an associate at Evans, Bragagnolo & Sullivan LLP in Timmins.
Ms. Cooper has a significant history of community involvement as well, having served on several non-profit boards and justice committees in her local community. In 2012/2013, she assisted in the formulation of several recommendations for the improvement of the fly-in court system for Northern Ontario while serving on the working group for the Ontario Court of Justice. Presently, she serves on the board of the Jubilee Centre, a residential and day treatment facility in Timmins, and is on the executive committee of the Timmins Chamber of Commerce. She is also a frequent guest speaker and presenter for various social organizations in the City of Timmins.
Timothy John Murphy
March 2009 - April 2018
A partner at McMillan LLP, Timothy Murphy has been practicing law since 1989 in a number of areas including government procurement, commercial contracts, construction, infrastructure and tender law and bid practices. Mr. Murphy has extensive experience in the public sector as former Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister of Canada and to Canada's Finance Minister, a member of Provincial Parliament in Ontario, and as a strategic advisor to all levels of governments. Currently teaching law and policy of public private partnerships at the University of Toronto, Mr. Murphy previously taught sessions on Securities Regulation at Queen's University. Mr. Murphy is a member of a number of associations including: Board of Directors and Chair for Compensation and Pension Committee at Morguard Corporation; the Toronto Board of Trade's Infrastructure Committee; Board of Directors for Futuremed Holdings; and member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
W.A. Derry Millar
April 2011 – April 2016.
W.A. Derry Millar is a partner with WeirFoulds LLP and practices exclusively civil litigation and administrative law. He has appeared in all levels of court in Ontario, the Federal Court of Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada, and has acted as an arbitrator and mediator. He was Lead Commission Counsel for the Ipperwash Inquiry. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. Mr. Millar was Treasurer (President) of the Law Society of Upper Canada, the governing body for Ontario lawyers, from June 2008 to June 2010. He has been chair or vice-chair of many Law Society Committees since he was first elected a Bencher in 1995. He has been a member of the Civil Rules Committee and its predecessors since 1976. He was Chair of the Ontario Centre for Advocacy Training, a Director of the Advocates’ Society and has previously been a member of the Board of Legal Aid Ontario. He has been a co-editor of the Ontario Annual Practice since 1975, and delivered papers on a wide variety of legal topics. He was a law clerk at the Supreme Court of Canada, and was called to the Bar in 1974.
LAO President & CEO
Mr. Ward has served the public in a number of capacities, most recently as the Secretary General, Canadian Human Rights Commission. A strategic and thoughtful leader, Mr. Ward has worked extensively in the public sector in multi-stakeholder environments spanning human rights and regional and aboriginal economic development. In addition, Mr. Ward has expertise in the fields of corporate development, strategic policy innovation and communications as a result of his service in federal government central agencies including the Privy Council Office, the Public Service Commission and Treasury Board.