Skip Navigation
Back to Navigation
Home News Law Society presents honorary LLD to Barbara McIsaac

Law Society presents honorary LLD to Barbara McIsaac

April 15, 2021

At the April 22, 2021 Convocation meeting the Law Society will present a degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa (LLD) to distinguished litigator and counsel Barbara McIsaac, one of Canada’s pre-eminent experts in privacy law and access to information law.

Access to the webcast will be available on the morning of, via

The webcast will be available on-demand at the same link, approximately a week later.

The Law Society awards honorary doctorates each year to distinguished individuals in recognition of outstanding achievements in the legal profession, the rule of law or the cause of justice.

“I am honoured to be able to confirm the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa upon Barbara McIsaac, a trailblazer for women in law,” said Teresa Donnelly, Treasurer, Law Society of Ontario. “Ms. McIsaac exemplifies the best the legal profession has to offer. She is an extraordinary advocate – dedicated to her clients and to the rule of law. Her example and pursuit of excellence have brought great credit to the legal profession.”

Ms. McIsaac has had a distinguished career as a litigator with the Civil Litigation Section of the Canadian Department of Justice, a litigation partner with McCarthy Tétrault, where she was managing partner of the Ottawa Office for a number of years, and as a senior litigation counsel with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP.

Between 2015 and 2020, Ms. McIsaac practiced on her own providing both public sector and private clients with advice on access to information and privacy issues, and mentoring and consultation on litigation matters including appeals, and opinions on legislative mandates and legislative interpretation.

She is one of the leading experts in Canada in privacy and access to information law and one of the original co‐authors of The Law of Privacy in Canada (Carswell, 2000).

Over her lengthy career, she has advised private sector clients, governments and government agencies on issues relating to trade and procurement law, Charter and Human Rights issues, legislative mandates, jurisdiction and the conduct of investigations.

Ms. McIsaac has appeared before all levels of courts in the Province of Ontario and the Federal Courts, including a number of appearances before the Supreme Court of Canada. She has also appeared frequently before both federal and provincial administrative tribunals.

She served as senior counsel to the commissioners conducting the Somalia Inquiry and as senior counsel for the Government of Canada for the Arar Inquiry.  She has acted in several landmark cases including representing the Speaker of the House of Commons and the Chief Electoral Officer in significant issues relating to privilege and jurisdiction.

In 2008, Ms. McIsaac was named special advocate for Bill C-3 (Security Certificates under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act) by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada.

A graduate of Queen’s Law School (1973), she was called to the Bar as member of the Law Society of Ontario in 1975 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1989. Ms. McIsaac continues to be a member of the County of Carleton law Association and the Advocates’ Society where she previously served on the Board of Directors. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and was the first woman from the Ottawa Bar to become a Fellow.

In addition to the Honorary LLD from the Law Society of Ontario, Ms. McIsaac has received numerous recognitions and awards including being named as Ottawa Administrative Public Lawyer of the Year in both 2010 and 2015 by Best Lawyers in Canada and being recognized in the 2013, 2014 and 2015 editions of Chambers Global – The World's Leading Lawyers for Business (Public Procurement). She was also the Ottawa Honoree for the Advocates’ Society in 2013.

Terms or Concepts Explained
Your Source
Your Source 2