Aboriginal Legal Services


On the occasion of our 25th Anniversary


the 15th Anniversary of the Gladue (Aboriginal Persons) Court


is hosting

an evening in celebration of

The Honourable Justice Patrick A. Sheppard


Thursday, 15th of September, 2016


Convocation Hall, Law Society of Upper Canada

130 Queen Street West, Toronto

Reception & Silent Auction: Museum Room - 5:30 p.m. (The art we will be auctioning has been created by several talented, visionary artists and artisans from Ontario's unique Indigenous communities)

Dinner: Convocation Hall - 7 p.m.

Info/Tickets: For more information on this special evening and to purchase tickets, please click here or paste the following URL into your web browser: https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/honouring-his-honour-tickets-26612885858


If you wish to sit with a group of people, you must purchase tickets for everyone in your party at the same time. After you have purchased your tickets, a staff member from ALS will contact you via email to get the names of everyone in your party and to find out if anyone has food allergies or dietary restrictions.

We have a very limited number of tickets and expect this special event to sell out quickly. If you cannot attend the dinner but wish to support Aboriginal Legal Services in honour of the Hon. Justice Sheppard, we ask that you do so via our Canada Helps webpage instead of purchasing a ticket that will not be used. Donations made through Canada Helps are eligible for a tax receipt as will a portion of the ticket price for this special event.

If you have any questions about this event or wish to become an event sponsor, please contact the Event Committee at honouringhishonour@gmail.com.

The Honourable Justice Patrick A. Sheppard

About the Guest of Honour

Patrick Sheppard was born and raised in Toronto, attending high school at Jarvis Collegiate. He went east for his university education, graduating in 1965 with a BA in Political Science and English from Acadia University in Wolfeville, Nova Scotia.  While at Acadia he was active in the debating and drama programs.

He received his LLB from the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton. It took him four years to complete a three year program, due to talking a year off to participate in federal politics, a harbinger of things to come.

In 1972 he opened a storefront practice is South Riverdale handling a range of legal issues. In 1975 he was a staff lawyer at Parkdale Community Legal Services.

Politics called to him again and he served three terms on Metro and Toronto City Councils between 1976 and 1982 under four different mayors representing then Ward 9 in the Beaches. While on Council he served on many committees. He left elected politics in 1982 but stayed involved and acted as Chairperson of Jack Layton’s Election Planning Committee during Jack’s run for mayor in 1991.

Following the Council years he resumed his legal career working with the Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU) and as Discipline Counsel at the Law Society of Upper Canada.

Patrick was appointed to the Bench in 1991 and initially sat in Newmarket where he served as a Local Administrative Judge (LAJ). From 1993 to 1998 he was in Scarborough where his abilities working with people were again recognized and where he was again an LAJ. In 1998 he moved to Old City Hall, where he sat until his retirement from the court in 2009. While the Hall was his home court he took opportunities to discover other parts of the province presiding in a wide variety of Ontario locations, including the Aboriginal communities in Ogoki and Fort Hope in the North.

Patrick’s most well-known decision was R v Parker in 1997 where he found the laws prohibiting the possession of marijuana violated the Charter rights of those who used the drug for medicinal purposes. The decision was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal and led to the regulatory regime now in place for medical marijuana use.

One of Patrick’s most significant achievements was seeing the creation of the Gladue (Aboriginal Persons) Court at Old City Hall in the fall of 2001. That Court has served as a model for similar courts across the city, the province and the country.

Patrick has been with his partner, Linda, for forty-eight years. They have one daughter, Victoria, who works for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency in Ottawa, and one grand-daughter, Nia, aged 3 and a half.

Shortly after retirement, Patrick was struck by a rare disabling disease – Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - the cause of which is unknown. Avid travellers, Patrick and Linda are very thankful for their earlier travels together to many parts of the world including the Arctic, Patagonia, Uzbekistan, Kenya, South Africa, and Australia.

Art Auction

About the Artists and their Work

Information coming soon!

Aboriginal Legal Services

About the Organizer of Honouring His Honour

Aboriginal Legal Services (formerly Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto) was incorporated in February 1990.  Our Ojibway name, given to us by Elder Jackie Lavalley, is Gaa Kina Gwai Wabaama Debwewin which means All Those Who Seek the Truth.  The organization started as an offshoot of the legal programs at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto.  When it began ALS had 8 staff, it now has well over 40 with offices in 11 cities in Ontario.

ALS has been a leader in advancing Aboriginal issues before the courts.  It has appeared as an intervener at the Supreme Court of Canada 17 times.  It has appeared often before the Ontario Court of Appeal as well as Courts of Appeal in Quebec, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.

ALS was also a party at the Ipperwash inquiry, the Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario (The Goudge Inquiry) and the Frank Paul Inquiry in British Columbia.  In addition ALS has represented many families at inquests across the province.

ALS’s advocacy work is informed by its work on the ground with Aboriginal clients.  That work includes victim and tenant rights as well as the work of Aboriginal Courtworkers at all Toronto courts.

ALS has been an innovator in making changes to the way in which the justice system works with Aboriginal people.  The Community Council was the first urban Aboriginal criminal diversion program in Canada when it began in 1992.  ALS was instrumental in the establishment of the first Gladue Court in Canada in 2001 at the Old City Hall Court.  The creation of that court also led ALS to create Gladue Reports, a concept that has now reached across the country.  More recently, the Giiwedin Anang child welfare Aboriginal Alternative Dispute Resolution program has become a leader in the field.






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