Four York people named to the Order of Ontario

York President Emerita Lorna R. Marsden and Patrick LeSage (LLB ’61), former chief justice for the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and a member of York’s Board of Governors, are among 27 people named to the Order of Ontario. 

The honourees also included former Ontario premier David Peterson, who taught at the University, and York honorary degree recipient Claude Lamoureux (LLD ’06), the former president and chief executive officer of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. The investiture ceremony into the Order will take place at Queen’s Park today.

“I am pleased to invest some of our province’s most deserving citizens into the Order of Ontario,” said David C. Onley, lieutenant-governor of Ontario and chancellor of the Order of Ontario. “This distinguished honour is bestowed on those who have gone above and beyond, those who have demonstrated excellence in various fields of endeavour.”

Left: Lorna R. Marsden

Marsden was president & vice-chancellor of York University and a member of the Board of Governors from 1997 to 2007. In 2005, Marsden was chosen as one of Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100, and specially selected as the top public sector leader by the Women’s Executive Network. She was named a member of the Order of Canada in 2005.

In 1972, Marsden earned a PhD from Princeton University and went on to teach at the University of Toronto, where she later became associate dean of the School of Graduate Studies and vice-provost (arts and sciences). In 1984, then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau appointed her to the Senate of Canada, a position she held until 1992 when she returned to academia as president and vice-chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont.

She was active in community issues as president of the National Action Committee on the Status of Women when equal pay and benefits issues were developed; as an active leader in the Liberal Party of Canada during the Trudeau years; and as a founder of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. At York, her focus was on advancing University education and improving accessibility.

Right: Patrick LeSage

LeSage began his career as a Crown attorney with the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. In 1975, he was appointed to the County and District Court and became associate chief judge of that court in 1983. Starting in 1994, LeSage spent two years as associate chief justice. He was then appointed chief justice of what is now the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario, a position he held for the next six years. In 2004, he joined the law firm of Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP. He was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2007.

For more than 28 years, LeSage presided over some of the most complex and publicized cases in Canada, including Paul Bernardo’s 1995 murder trial, and earned the reputation of being one of Canada’s best trial judges. After retiring from the bench, he conducted an extensive review of Ontario’s police complaints system with 27 recommendations directed toward creating a new and independent police review body.

He has served on York’s Board of Governors since 2004 and currently serves on the Governance and Human Resources Committee and the Pension Fund Board of Trustees.

Left: Claude Lamoureux

As the former head of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan (OTPP), Lamoureux was a consistent voice for progressive business practices. Under his leadership, the plan grew to more than $100 billion and was widely recognized for its modern and innovative operation. When Lamoureux started with OTPP in 1990, the plan had about $19 billion in assets. He left OTPP in 2007.  

As a francophone of Quebec origin, Lamoureux has served by example and through his actions to reinforce the place of Quebecers in Toronto and the French language. He introduced bilingualism to OTPP operations and, as a member of the board of The Théatre Français de Toronto, he sought to enrich francophone cultural life in Toronto.

Before joining OTPP, Lamoureux was a financial executive with Metropolitan Life in the US from 1966 until 1986 when he became head of the Canadian operation. In 2002, he co-founded the Canadian Coalition for Good Governance to help improve corporate governance practices at Canadian companies. In addition, he is a fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries, the Society of Actuaries and the Institute of Corporate Directors.

Right: David Peterson

A fellow of York’s McLaughlin College, Peterson served as premier of Ontario from 1985 until 1990 during an active period of reform in the province. Peterson also played a major role in the country’s constitutional discussions and is well known for his contributions to public and community life. Peterson first joined politics as an MPP for London Centre in 1975. He was re-elected in 1977 and again in 1981. In 1982, he became leader of the Liberal party.

Called to the bar in 1969, Peterson is a senior partner and chair of Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, where he practises corporate/commercial law. He is also chancellor of the University of Toronto and a director of St. Michael’s Hospital, the Shaw Festival and the Toronto Community Foundation. In addition, he is founding chair of the Toronto Raptors Basketball Club Inc. and Chapters Inc.

In 1994, Peterson was appointed a Knight of the Order of the Legion of Honour of France. One year later, the International Assembly of French-Speaking Parliamentarians presented him with the Ordre de la Pléiade.

The Order of Ontario is the highest honour bestowed upon individuals by the province.