The Honourable Dennis O

Dennis O'Connor O.C., OOnt, Q.C.

Senior Counsel

Executive Summary

The Honourable Dennis O’Connor, O.C., OOnt, Q.C., is senior counsel in the Toronto office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. He sat on the Court of Appeal for Ontario from 1998 to 2012. He served as the Associate Chief Justice of Ontario from 2001 until he retired at the end of 2012. He also served as a deputy judge of the Yukon Supreme Court. While on the bench he wrote numerous reported judgments dealing with a wide variety of issues including commercial, securities and insurance law. He also conducted two successful public inquiries: the Walkerton Inquiry (2000-02) and the Maher Arar Inquiry (2004-06).

For the 18 years before his appointment to the Court of Appeal, Dennis was a senior counsel with the law firm of Borden & Elliot (a predecessor firm of Borden Ladner Gervais). His practice focused on commercial and public law litigation. He appeared as lead counsel on many major cases in Ontario and elsewhere in Canada during that time.

Representative Work

  • Appointed Magistrate in the Yukon Territory in 1973, where he served until 1976. Also sat as a Deputy Magistrate of the Northwest Territories and a Provincial Court judge in the northern regions of British Columbia.
  • Taught law as an associate professor at the University of Western Ontario (1976-80), and as a part-time faculty member of Osgoode Hall Law School (1982-86).
  • Acted as chief negotiator for the Government of Canada for the Yukon Indian Land Claim, 1980-84.
  • Served as an elected bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada, 1987-95.
  • Served as Chair of the Judicial Independence Committee and the Priorities and Planning Committee of the Canadian Judicial Council, 2007-10.

Rankings & Recognitions

  • Appointed Order of Ontario (2017).
  • Appointed Officer of Order of Canada (2016).
  • Recognized in the 2019 edition of Chambers Global as one of Canada's Most in Demand Arbitrators. Band 1.
  • Recognized in the 2015 edition of the Lexpert® Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigators (International Commercial Arbitration).
  • Recognized as a leading litigator in the 2018 edition (and since 2015) of the Lexpert®/Report on Business Litigation Special Edition.
  • Awarded Doctors of Law (Hon.) from the University of New Brunswick (2013), The Law Society of Upper Canada (2013), the University of Guelph (2011), Assumption University (2008), York University (2007) and the University of Western Ontario (2003).
  • Awarded the Advocates Society Medal (2013).
  • Received Toronto Lawyers’ Association Award of Distinction, The Canadian Civil Liberties Association Award for Excellence in Law, the Association of Progressive Muslims of Ontario Eid-ul-Adha Award (2008), the Ontario Bar Association Award for Distinguished Service (2007), the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators Medal (2006), the Canadian Water Resources Association Distinguished Achievement Award (2004) and the American Water Works Association Award of Merit (2003).
  • Received special recognition awards from the Municipality of Brockton (Walkerton) and the Ontario Municipal Water Association.
  • Recognized in the 2019 edition (and since 2016) of the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (International Commercial Arbitration).
  • Inducted into the Beaver Clan of the Crow Tribe at the Tauk-ee-tee-see-goo in the Yukon Territory, 1976.