Attorney General of Ontario

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Attorney General of Ontario
Tbs-visualidentity-COA-Blk (3) copy.svg
Incumbent
Doug Downey

since June 20, 2019
Executive Council of Ontario
StyleThe Honourable
Term lengthAt Her Majesty’s Pleasure
Inaugural holderJohn Sandfield Macdonald as Attorney General of Ontario
WebsiteOffice of the Attorney General
The Attorney General of Ontario's main office (McMurtry-Scott Building) in downtown Toronto

The Attorney General of Ontario (French: Procureur général de l'Ontario) is the chief legal adviser to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario and, by extension, the Government of Ontario. The Attorney General is a senior member of the Executive Council of Ontario (the cabinet) and oversees the Ministry of the Attorney General – the department responsible for the oversight of the justice system in the province of Ontario. The Attorney General is an elected Member of Provincial Parliament who is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on the constitutional advice of the Premier of Ontario.

The goal of the Ministry of the Attorney General is to provide a fair and accessible justice system which reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across government and the province; the Ministry represents the largest justice system in Canada and one of the largest in North America. It strives to manage the justice system in an equitable, affordable and accessible way throughout the province.

Doug Downey was appointed Attorney General of Ontario on 20 June 2019, replacing Caroline Mulroney. Lindsey Park is Parliamentary Assistant to the Attorney General.

Authority[edit]

The Attorney General has the authority to represent the provincial government in court personally, but this task is almost always delegated to crown attorneys, or to crown counsel in civil cases. Ian Scott, who was a prominent courtroom lawyer prior to entering politics, chose to plead the crown's case in court for several cases related to constitutional law.

Most holders of the office have been practicing lawyers or had legal training. Marion Boyd was the only Attorney General who was not a lawyer until Caroline Mulroney's appointment. Although Mulroney studied and practiced law in the United States, she is not legally able to practice law in Canada.

Responsibilities[edit]

The Ministry of the Attorney General delivers and administers a wide range of justice services, including:

  1. administering approximately 115 statutes;
  2. conducting criminal proceedings throughout Ontario;
  3. providing legal advice to, and conducting litigation on behalf of, all government ministries and many agencies, boards and tribunals;
  4. providing advice on, and drafting, all legislation and regulations; and
  5. coordinating and administering court services throughout Ontario.

The Ontario Crown Attorney's Office, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, the Children's Lawyer (formerly called the Official Guardian), and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) all fall within the Ministry's responsibilities; the Ministry also funds Legal Aid Ontario, which is administered by an independent board.

Portfolios[edit]

In 2008, Office of the Independent Police Review Director (IPRD) was established under the authority of the AG, as a civilian body with powers invested through Public Inquiries Act to investigate complaints about municipal police forces and the Ontario Provincial Police.[1][2][3]

Following the 2013 release of former Supreme Court judge Frank Iacobucci's report on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Ontario justice system,[4] a position of deputy attorney general with responsibility for Aboriginal issues was created.[5][2]

List of Attorneys-General[edit]

Attorneys-General of Upper Canada[edit]

1. John White (Frontenac County) 1791–1800
2. Robert Isaac Dey Gray 1800–1801
3. Thomas Scott 1801–1806
4. William Firth 1807–1812
5. G. D'Arcy Boulton 1814–1818
6. Sir John Robinson, 1st Baronet, of Toronto 1818–1829, acting AG 1812–1814
7. Henry John Boulton 1829–1832
8. Robert Sympson Jameson 1833–1837, last British-appointed AG
9. Christopher Alexander Hagerman 1837–1840, first Canadian-born AG of Upper Canada
10. William Henry Draper 1840–1841, last AG of Upper Canada

Attorneys-General of the Province of Canada (Canada West)[edit]

In 1841, the Province of Upper Canada became the Province of Canada

11. William Henry Draper 1841–1843
12. Robert Baldwin 1843–1848
13. William Buell Richards 1848–1854
14. John A. Macdonald 1854–1862, 1864–1867
15. John Sandfield Macdonald 1862–1864

After 1867, the Attorney General position was split into federal and provincial counterparts:

Attorney General of Ontario
Attorney General of Quebec (renamed the Ministry of Justice in 1965)
Attorney General of Canada

Attorneys-General of Ontario, since Confederation[edit]

Portrait Name Term of office Tenure Political party
(Ministry)
Note
1 John S Macdonald-crop.jpg John Sandfield MacDonald July 16, 1867 December 20, 1871 4 years, 157 days Liberal
Conservative

(MacDonald)
While Premier
2 AdamCrooks23.jpg Adam Crooks December 20, 1871 October 25, 1872 310 days Liberal
(Blake)
3 Oliver Mowat.jpg Oliver Mowat October 31, 1872 July 21, 1896 23 years, 264 days Liberal
(Mowat)
While Premier
4 Arthur Sturgis Hardy.jpg Arthur S. Hardy July 21, 1896 October 21, 1899 3 years, 92 days Liberal
(Hardy)
While Premier
5 John Morison Gibson.jpg John Morison Gibson October 21, 1899 November 22, 1904 5 years, 32 days Liberal
(Ross)
6 Francis Robert Latchford.jpg Francis Robert Latchford November 22, 1904 February 8, 1905 78 days
7 James Whitney.jpg James Whitney February 8, 1905 May 30, 1905 111 days Conservative
(Whitney)
While Premier
8 JamesJosephFoy23.jpg James Joseph Foy May 30, 1905 October 2, 1914 9 years, 125 days
9 Isaac Benson Lucas.jpg Isaac Benson Lucas December 22, 1914 November 14, 1919 4 years, 327 days Conservative
(Hearst)
10 WilliamEdgarRaney.jpg William Raney November 14, 1919 July 16, 1923 3 years, 244 days United Farmers
(Drury)
11 William Folger Nickle July 16, 1923 October 18, 1926 3 years, 94 days Conservative
(Ferguson)
12 William Herbert Price October 18, 1926 December 15, 1930 7 years, 265 days
December 15, 1930 July 10, 1934 Conservative
(Henry)
13 Arthur Roebuck July 10, 1934 April 14, 1937 2 years, 278 days Liberal
(Hepburn)
Resigned from cabinet to protest Hepburn's handling of the United Auto Workers strike.
14 Paul Leduc April 15, 1937 October 12, 1937 180 days Interim Attorney General upon Roebuck's resignation, while Minister of Mines
15 Gordon Daniel Conant.jpg Gordon Daniel Conant October 12, 1937 October 21, 1942 5 years, 218 days Conant remained Attorney General when he served as Premier. He resigned both position on May 18, 1943.
October 21, 1942 May 18, 1943 Liberal
(Conant)
16 Eric Cross May 18, 1943 August 17, 1943 91 days Liberal
(Nixon)
Concurrently Minister of Municipal Affairs
17 Leslie Blackwell August 17, 1943 October 19, 1948 5 years, 260 days PC
(Drew)
October 19, 1948 May 4, 1949 PC
(Kennedy)
18 Dana Porter.JPG Dana Porter May 4, 1949 August 17, 1955 6 years, 105 days PC
(Frost)
19 Kelso Roberts August 17, 1955 November 8, 1961 7 years, 69 days
November 8, 1961 October 25, 1962 PC
(Robarts)
20 Fred Cass October 25, 1962 March 23, 1964 1 year, 150 days
21 Arthur Wishart March 26, 1964 March 1, 1971 6 years, 340 days Styled as Minister of Justice and Attorney General from May 18, 1966
22 Allan Lawrence March 1, 1971 February 2, 1972 338 days PC
(Davis)
Styled as Minister of Justice and Attorney General. Also served as Provincial Secretary for Justice from January 5, 1972 to September 28, 1972).
23 Dalton Bales February 2, 1972 February 26, 1974 2 years, 24 days Styled as Minister of Justice and Attorney General from February 2, 1972 until April 10, 1972.
24 Robert Stanley Welch February 26, 1974 July 18, 1975 1 year, 142 days
(first instance)
Concurrently Provincial Secretary for Justice
25 John Clement January 14, 1975 October 7, 1975 266 days Concurrently Provincial Secretary for Justice and Solicitor General (June 18, 1975 - October 7, 1975).
26 Roy McMurtry October 7, 1975 February 8, 1985 9 years, 124 days Concurrently Solicitor General (September 11, 1978 – February 13, 1982). The ministry headquarters is named jointly after McMurtry and Ian Scott
24 Robert Stanley Welch February 8, 1985 May 17, 1985 98 days
(second instance)
(1 year, 240 days in total)
PC
(Miller)
Cocurrently Deputy Premier
27 Alan Pope May 17, 1985 June 26, 1985 40 days
28 Ian Scott June 26, 1985 October 1, 1990 5 years, 97 days Liberal
(Peterson)
Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs, interim Solicitor General (February 3, 1986 – January 9, 1987 and June 6, 1989 – August 2, 1989). The ministry headquarters is named jointly after Scott and Roy McMurtry
29 Howard Hampton small.png Howard Hampton October 1, 1990 February 3, 1993 2 years, 125 days NDP
(Rae)
30 Marion Boyd February 3, 1993 June 26, 1995 2 years, 143 days Styled as Minister of Justice and Attorney General. First woman to serve as Attorney General. Only Attorney General who was not a lawyer.
31 Charles Harnick, Attorney General of Ontario, 1995–1999.JPG Charles Harnick June 26, 1995 June 17, 1999 3 years, 356 days PC
(Harris)
Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs
32 Jim Flaherty 2007.JPG Jim Flaherty June 17, 1999 February 7, 2001 1 year, 235 days Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs
33 David Young February 8, 2001 April 15, 2002 2 years, 17 days Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs
April 15, 2002 February 25, 2003 PC
(Eves)
34 Norm Sterling February 25, 2003 October 22, 2003 239 days Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs
35 Michael J. Bryant October 23, 2003 October 30, 2007 4 years, 7 days Liberal
(McGuinty)
Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs and Minister Responsible for Democratic Renewal (October 23, 2003 – June 29, 2005).
36 Chris Bentley October 30, 2007 October 20, 2011 3 years, 355 days Concurrently Minister Responsible for Native Affairs (January 18, 2010 – October 20, 2011)
37 John Gerretsen October 20, 2011 February 11, 2013 2 years, 156 days
February 11, 2013 March 25, 2014 Liberal
(Wynne)
38 Madeleine Meilleur June 24, 2014 June 13, 2016 1 year, 355 days Concurrently Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs. First francophone to serve as Attorney General.
39 Naqvi yasir ottawa (cropped).JPG Yasir Naqvi June 13, 2016 June 29, 2018 2 years, 16 days First visible-minority and first Muslim to serve as Attorney General.
40 Caroline Mulroney Leadership 2018 (cropped).jpg Caroline Mulroney June 29, 2018 June 20, 2019 356 days PC
(Ford)
Concurrently Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs.
41 Doug Downey June 20, 2019 present 113 days

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Gerry McNeilly Nominated As Director Of New Police Review System". news.ontario.ca. May 2, 2008. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  2. ^ a b Wallace, Kenyon (July 24, 2010). "Police complaint director thrust into limelight". National Post. Retrieved December 30, 2018. As the province's newly minted Independent Police Review Director, Mr. McNeilly is tasked with handling all public complaints against police in Ontario
  3. ^ McNeilly, Gerry (December 2018). Broken Trust: Indigenous People and the Thunder Bay Police Service (PDF) (Report). Toronto, Ontario: Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). p. 208. Retrieved 30 December 2018.
  4. ^ Talaga, Tanya (February 2, 2013). "Ontario's justice system in a 'crisis' for aboriginals: Frank Iacobucci report". The Toronto Star. Toronto. Retrieved December 30, 2018.
  5. ^ Guttsman, Janet (June 1, 2015). "A new portfolio". Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Retrieved January 4, 2017.

External links[edit]