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The Honourable Doug Downey, Attorney General of Ontario, In Conversation with Vivene Salmon, Past President, Canadian Bar Association
Presents how breakthroughs in moving legal services online during COVID-19 have reset Ontarians’ expectations for how justice can be done
Technology and innovation have transformed nearly every part of life in Ontario, but the province’s justice sector has stood still and fallen behind. The COVID-19 pandemic exposed the severity of these challenges and the urgent need to improve Ontarians’ access to more responsive and resilient justice services.
Attorney General Doug Downey has responded by accelerating the pace of justice modernization in Ontario, moving the system forward by decades in a matter of months. In collaboration with justice partners, the Ministry of the Attorney General has established new and innovative ways of delivering services remotely, in-person and online.
These breakthroughs have reset Ontarians’ expectations for how justice can be done, and they open new possibilities for expanding access to justice in every region of Ontario, including in rural, northern and Indigenous communities. Join Attorney General Downey for an engaged discussion on the progress, and next steps, of his plan to build a more accessible, responsive and resilient justice system for Ontario.
The Honourable Doug Downey
Attorney General of Ontario
Attorney General Doug Downey is working to build a more accessible, responsive, and resilient justice system by establishing new and innovative ways of delivering services remotely, in-person and online.
Since his appointment, Attorney General Downey has clearly signaled his determination to put an end to the days of watching Ontario’s justice system fall behind, and he has taken swift and decisive action with justice partners to maintain and expand access to justice during the COVID-19 emergency and recovery.
In his leadership in law, in business, in municipal and community affairs he has worked one case at a time to make the system work better for people unable to accomplish needed changes on their own, getting results for individuals and the broader public.
With degrees in law from Dalhousie University and Osgoode Hall, Downey has broken new ground in real estate law, accomplishing innovative firsts in Ontario and Canada. Prior to joining the government, Minister Downey started his own law firm, along with former federal Attorney General Doug Lewis, and was very active in the Ontario Bar Association having served as secretary and treasurer. In addition to being recognized at the local, provincial, and national levels as a leader in law and in business he has helped lead Orillia’s city council, Kiwanis Club, Chamber of Commerce, Community Development Corporation, the region’s Big Brothers Big Sisters of Canada, and Ontario’s Business Law Advisory Council.
Downey was elected as MPP for Barrie—Springwater—Oro-Medonte in June 2018 and served as Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Finance before he was appointed as Ontario’s Attorney General in June 2019.
In Conversation With
Past President, Canadian Bar Association
Vivene Salmon is dedicated to improving access to the justice system for average Canadians and improving its functioning for those working in the justice system. From 2019-2020, Vivene served as President of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA). Founded in 1896, the CBA is the premier advocate for lawyers in Canada, comprised of 36,000 lawyers, judges, notaries, law teachers and law students from across the country, which seeks to promote fair justice systems, facilitate effective law reform, provide legal training and education, and uphold equality in the legal profession eliminating discrimination.
Salmon is the first racialized person and first female corporate counsel in the over 100-year history of the organization to hold the position of Canadian Bar Association (CBA) President.
A committed volunteer in the legal and broader communities, Vivene has volunteered as a Board Member on several non-profit community Boards, including: Food for the Poor Canada, an international charitable organizations, which supports building schools in the Caribbean and Latin America.
Vivene earned her JD from the University of Ottawa, Faculty of Law and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2010. She is also a Certified Information Privacy Professional and holds the designation CIPP/C from the International Association of Privacy Professionals.
In 2020, Vivene was honoured as a Top 100 Canadian Black Women to Watch 2020, Top 25 Woman of Influence 2020, and was named a Top 25 Influential Lawyer by Canadian Lawyer Magazine.