The Honourable George R. Strathy retired as Chief Justice of Ontario and President of the Court of Appeal for Ontario on August 31, 2022, having served on that Court for nine years. In that capacity, he heard a wide range of complex civil, commercial, family and criminal matters, regularly authoring judgments in all areas. Prior to his appointment to the Court of Appeal, he served as a Judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for five years. For three of those years, he was a member of the Class Actions team, responsible for the judicial oversight and management of approximately 80 class proceedings.
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Mr. Strathy practiced general civil litigation for thirty years, with a specialty in domestic and international maritime, commercial and insurance matters.
He graduated from McGill University in 1970 with an Honours B.A. and received an M.A. in International Politics from the University of Toronto, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow. He graduated from the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto in 1974 as the Gold Medallist and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1976.
He joined the firm of MacKinnon McTaggart of Toronto, becoming a partner in 1980. In 1985 he joined Campbell Godfrey & Lewtas (later Fasken’s) and in 1993, established his own firm, Strathy & Associates, subsequently known as Strathy & Isaacs.
During his 30 year career as a lawyer, Mr. Strathy appeared before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Court of Appeal for Ontario, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court of Canada. He was active in professional organizations, including the Canadian Bar Association, the Advocates’ Society, the Canadian Maritime Law Association and the Association of Maritime Arbitrators of Canada, holding leadership positions in several of these.
He was also involved in legal education, teaching Maritime Law for many years at the Faculty of Law of the University of Toronto and Environmental Law at the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Toronto. He authored two books, The Law and Practice of Marine Insurance in Canada (Butterworths, Lexis-Nexis, 2003) and The Law and Practice of General Average in Canada (1995), as well as numerous papers and articles. As a judge, he was a frequent speaker at conferences and educational programs.
As Chief Justice of Ontario, Mr. Strathy initiated the modernization of the Court’s technology, overseeing the transformation of the Court of Appeal to a paperless operation in the course of the Covid-19 pandemic and managing the acquisition and launch of a state of the art case management system. He was a Vice Chair of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council and Chair of a committee to promote effective case management of civil, family and criminal proceedings. He actively supported equity and diversity in the bar and on the bench and was an advocate for mental health and wellness in the legal profession. He is the recipient of the Toronto Lawyers’ Association Award of Distinction and of Doctor of Laws Degrees (honoris causa) from the Law Society of Ontario and Toronto Metropolitan University.