Landmark Osgoode-SOAR partnership and a medal for Dean Lorne Sossin

York’s Osgoode Hall Law School and the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) have agreed to a landmark partnership that will see a new collaboration in the delivery of education and training for administrative adjudicators in Ontario and beyond.

Building on SOAR’s peer-driven model of adjudicative education and Osgoode’s legacy of leadership in legal education, particularly through Osgoode Professional Development, this partnership will result in more diverse, high quality and accessible educational opportunities for adjudicators and regulators.

“Osgoode Hall Law School is excited about this new initiative,” said Osgoode Dean Lorne Sossin (right), who has also been awarded a SOAR medal for outstanding achievement in administrative justice (see below).

“SOAR and Osgoode bring a wealth of expertise and energy to this collaboration, and the challenges facing adjudicators and regulators make a commitment to education and capacity building essential,” said Sossin.

The announcement of the Osgoode-SOAR partnership was made Thursday at the Conference of Ontario Boards & Agencies (COBA), SOAR’s major annual conference on administrative justice issues. The conference attracted more than 350 participants, and featured leading figures from the administrative justice community and legal profession presenting workshops and papers on a variety of key topics.

In May 2011, the first collaboration between Osgoode and SOAR – a non-profit, non-partisan organization whose mission is to advance administrative justice through education, advocacy and innovation – will feature a revamped Certificate Program in Adjudicative Education, Sossin said.   As a first step in the process of developing and delivering this program for adjudicators and regulators, SOAR is funding an Osgoode student to conduct a scan of administrative justice education/training programs.

“SOAR is delighted to work with Osgoode in this historic partnership,” said Gary Stanley, president of SOAR. “The delivery of administrative justice requires highly skilled and knowledgeable adjudicators. With unique expertise and experience in legal and adjudicator education, Osgoode and SOAR will play a leadership role in creating innovative and high-quality educational programs for administrative adjudicators in Canada.”

The SOAR Medal

Sossin was one of three people awarded the 2010 Soar Medal for outstanding achievement in the field of administrative justice at the annual SOAR Medal Dinner, held at the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto on Nov. 4 at the conclusion of COBA.

The two other medal recipients were Mary Camacho, chief operating officer of the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, and Kevin Whitaker of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario.

The SOAR Medal is awarded to individuals whose achievement in the field of administrative justice goes above and beyond the successful completion of day-to-day responsibilities. Nominations for the award are accepted from any source and the medal recipient does not have to be a SOAR member, but individuals must have demonstrated consistent outstanding service and achievement or exceptional leadership dedicated to advancing excellence in administrative justice, or a singular accomplishment of particular significance to the administrative justice community.

Sossin was appointed dean of Osgoode on July 1. Prior to that he was a professor in the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law where he taught courses in administrative and constitutional law, the regulation of professions, civil litigation, public policy and the judicial process. He has also served as research director for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Task Force on the Independence of the Bar and written papers for the Gomery Inquiry, the Ipperwash Inquiry and the Goudge Inquiry.

He also serves on the boards of the Law Foundation of Ontario and the National Judicial Institute, and is a vice-chair of the Ontario Health Professions Appeal & Review Board and a member of the Health Services Appeal & Review Board. He served as interim integrity commissioner for the City of Toronto in 2008-2009, and is currently the open meeting investigator for the City of Toronto.