Brief Biographical Note of Chief Justice Warren K. Winkler (Retired December 10, 2013)

Chief Justice Warren Winkler, B.A., LL.B., LL.M. was appointed Chief Justice of Ontario in June 2007, following 14 years as a trial judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario.

Educated at the University of Manitoba, B.A. and Osgoode Hall Law School, LL.B. and LL.M., Chief Justice Winkler was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1965. He has received honorary doctorates from the Law Society of Upper Canada and from eight Canadian universities.

Chief Justice Winkler practised law in Toronto and was a founding partner with Winkler, Filion and Wakely and previously a partner with Montgomery, Cassels, Somers, Dutton and Winkler.  He was certified as a Specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Upper Canada and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1977.

Chief Justice Winkler sat as a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice from 1993 to 2007 where he served as Regional Senior Justice for Toronto Region from 2004 to 2007. In 2007 he was appointed Chief Justice of Ontario and President of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.

He has judicially mediated many large national and international disputes, including those involving:  Air Canada Restructuring; Ontario Hydro and Power Workers; Windsor-Michigan Tunnel; and CanWest/Shaw Cable restructuring.   He has heard many major class action proceedings including those relating to: Hepatitis C; Breast Implants; Tobacco; Walkerton Tainted Water; Mad Cow Disease; and Native Residential Schools.

He has been a Vice-Chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council since 2012.

Honours and Awards

Chief Justice Winkler has received honorary doctorates from Queen’s University (2013), Ryerson University (2013), University of Calgary (2013), Osgoode Hall Law School, York University (2012), University of Ottawa (2011), University of Western Ontario (2011), The Law Society of Upper Canada (2010), Brandon University (2007), and Assumption University (2006).

He is the recipient of the International Academy of Mediators’ Lifetime Achievement Award (2013), the Ontario Bar Association President’s Award (2013), the Award of Excellence in Alternative Dispute Resolution - Ontario Bar Association (2008), the University of Toronto’s Bora Laskin Award for Outstanding Contribution to Canadian Labour Law (2007), and the Award of Distinction from the Toronto Lawyers’ Association (2005).

In 2010 he was invited to deliver the Don Wood Visiting Lecture in Industrial Relations at Queen’s University.

The following lectureships and awards have been established in his honour: Warren K. Winkler Speaker Series in Industrial Relations, Queen’s University, 2012; Annual Justice Winkler Lecture Series in Civil Justice Reform, University of Ottawa Law School, 2007-2010; University of Toronto Law School Post-Graduate Scholarship in International Human Rights, 2006; The Honourable Warren K. Winkler Bursary, Osgoode Hall Law School, 1988;  and The Winkler Cup awarded annually from 2008 to 2013 at the International Competition for Mediation Advocacy.

In 2012 Osgoode Hall Law School announced the creation of the Winkler Institute in Dispute Resolution, honouring the Chief Justice’s career in this field.

Publications, Lectures and other Activities

Chief Justice Winkler’s Publications include: Co-founding Editor, The Labour Law Journal; Editor, Labour Arbitration Cases, Canada Law Book; Co-Author, Sack and Winkler, O’Brien’s Encyclopedia of Forms, 11th Ed.; Co-Author, Willis and Winkler on Leading Labour Cases, Canada Law Book; Editor, Labour Relations and Employment, Vols. 1 and 2, Canada Law Book; Advisor, Principles of the Law Aggregate Litigation, The American Law Institute; Advisor, Class Action Defence Quarterly (Chalmers), Butterworths.

Chief Justice Winkler is a Founding Director of the International Conference of Mediation for Justice and a Member of the International Bar Association Class Action Task Force.   He is the Honorary Chair of the Advisory Committee of the Centre for Law in the Contemporary Workplace, Queen’s University.   He is a Senior Fellow at Massey College, University of Toronto.  He was Co-Chair of The Law Society of Upper Canada, Continuing Education in Labour Law.   He is a Past Director, the Advocates’ Society; Past National Executive and Provincial Executive Committee Member, Canadian Bar Association/Ontario Bar Association; and Chair of several sub-sections such as: Labour Law, Environmental Law (Founding Chair), and Prepaid Legal Services.   Chief Justice Winkler is also Chair, Long Point Waterfowl and Wetlands Research Fund and Member, Board of Directors, Bird Studies Canada; Board member, Canadian Wildlife Federation Foundation; Honorary Chair, Jazz Performance and Education Centre; and Patron, Lawyers’ International Food Enterprise.

Chief Justice Winkler is an active educator and speaker at national and international events on a range of topics, including: Access to Justice; Alternative Dispute Resolutions; Class Proceedings; Labour Relations; Judicial Mediation; and Civil Justice Reform.   His expertise in Civil Litigation, Class Proceedings, Commercial and Administrative Law and his skills as a Mediator have significantly contributed to grounding Judicial Mediation into the court process in Ontario.

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