Delia Opekokew ’77 – the first Indigenous woman to be called in 1979 to the Ontario and Saskatchewan bars – receives honorary Doctor of Laws (LLD) degree from Law Society of Ontario

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TORONTO, ON — The Law Society of Ontario presented a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD), to distinguished Indigenous advocate Delia Opekokew at its Call to the Bar ceremony today at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto.

The Law Society awards honorary doctorates at Call ceremonies each year to distinguished people in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law, or the cause of justice. Recipients serve as inspirational keynote speakers for the new lawyers attending the ceremonies.

Ms. Opekokew received the honorary LLD in recognition of her advocacy work in furthering the cause of justice for Indigenous People and human rights for all Canadians.

A member of the Canoe Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, Ms. Opekokew was the first Indigenous woman to be called to the Bars of Ontario (1979), and Saskatchewan (1983). Early in her legal career, she pressed for recognition of the survivors of Residential Schools, one of which she attended for several years. She was also the first woman to run for the leadership of the Assembly of First Nations.

She was appointed from 2008-17 as a Deputy Chief Adjudicator on the Independent Assessment Process (IAP), Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA). Prior to that, she was an adjudicator on the IAP IRSSA and was also an adjudicator under the Indian Residential Schools Adjudication Process created by the Government of Canada (2004-09). Since 1990, she has practised as a sole practitioner, specializing in Indian treaty rights and Aboriginal law.

Widely recognized by her peers as a passionate advocate and trailblazer, Ms. Opekokew has received many awards.

See full biography online. The Law Society regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario in the public interest. The Law Society has a mandate to protect the public interest, to maintain and advance the cause of justice and the rule of law, to facilitate access to justice for the people of Ontario and act in a timely, open and efficient manner.


Media contact: Susan Tonkin, Senior Communications Advisor, Media Relations, at 416-947-7605 or stonkin@lso.ca