Faculty of Law Gets the Green Light from the Province of Ontario: First New Law School in Ontario in 42 Years


Thunder Bay - Superior North MPP Michael Gravelle addresses crowd gathered for Lakehead Faculty of Law announcement on the lawn of historic PACI

(July 5, 2011 – Thunder Bay, ON) Today, in a ceremony on the lawn of the new Lakehead Faculty of Law building, MPP Thunder Bay – Superior North Michael Gravelle, together with Bill Mauro MPP Thunder Bay – Atikokan, announced funding support from Ontario’s Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU).

The Province of Ontario has today made a significant funding announcement in support of Lakehead’s Faculty of Law. MTCU has committed to fully fund and support the Faculty of Law and, as part of the Province’s capital improvements budget, they have made a $1.5 million commitment to complete capital improvements to the historic PACI building in Thunder Bay where the Faculty of Law will be housed.

“I am thrilled to announce today that the McGuinty government has approved the first Faculty of Law in Northern Ontario for Lakehead University,” said Michael Gravelle, MPP for Thunder Bay-Superior North. “This announcement aligns with the Growth Plan for Northern Ontario, as it will provide training, education and employment opportunities for Northerners and Aboriginal people throughout Northern Ontario for generations to come. Congratulations to everyone who has worked so hard to make this announcement a reality.”

Bill Mauro, MPP for Thunder Bay-Atikokan, said, "Today's announcement is another incredible achievement for Thunder Bay and Northwestern Ontario, and exhibits the commitment of our government to Northern issues. It is another significant milestone for our community. We continue to evolve, grow and diversify our economy, and to provide even more knowledge-based jobs and opportunities for our young people to live, learn and work here at home."


L-R: Lakehead President Brian Stevenson with MPPs Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro

“This is tremendous news for Lakehead University and Northern Ontario,” said President Brian Stevenson. “Lakehead University is now a fully comprehensive university with significant professional programs to educate our own students in the North and students from across the province, the nation, and around the world. Our Faculty of Law, with its unique mission to improve access to justice in Aboriginal, northern, and rural communities, will create a new legal education culture to foster improved and informed relationships in northern law practice. I’m very grateful for the steadfast support of our local MPPs Michael Gravelle and Bill Mauro.”

The Faculty of Law has many supporters including Lakehead University Chancellor Arthur V. Mauro who recently announced a special task force to advocate for and support the new Faculty of Law. “This announcement is wonderful,” said Chancellor Mauro. “As a long-time member of the bar, I have recognized a need for expert practitioners in areas of Aboriginal and natural resources law for decades. I commend the local law association and the Aboriginal community for their steadfast adherence to the idea of a Faculty of Law for the North. It is fitting that Ontario's newest Faculty of Law be located at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, the birthplace of one of Canada’s most celebrated jurists – the late Bora Laskin, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.”

“The development of a local law school is an important investment in the future of NAN (Nishnawbe Aski Nation) youth and NAN communities, and will encourage NAN youth to pursue the specialized, higher education they will need to attain challenging and rewarding careers," said NAN Deputy Grand Chief Terry Waboose. "This will enable our youth to gain the skills to support their communities as they move towards self-sufficiency and self-reliance through business, economic, and resource development, and will help our young people look to the future with a sense of hope, pride and self-worth."


L-R: Bill Mauro, Michael Gravelle, Wendy Landry, Brian Stevenson, Terry Waboose

President of the Thunder Bay Métis Council of the Métis Nation of Ontario, Wendy Landry, said “this is exciting news for Northwestern Ontario and we hope that this new opportunity for Métis and other Aboriginal young people will help break down some of the obstacles that face them when pursuing postsecondary education. Ontario and Canada’s economic prosperity depends on a well-educated Aboriginal work force, and this is a good step in that direction. We need to educate our youth and the investments we make now will have enormous positive intergenerational effects. The Province of Ontario is making a good investment here, one that will pay dividends long into the future.”


Historic PACI home to Lakehead's new Faculty of Law

With provincial funding now in place, the final leg of the Faculty of Law proposal journey is over, which makes Lakehead the first new law school in Ontario since 1969. Lakehead is poised to expedite the operational decisions and plans needed to open the doors at PACI, the home of Lakehead’s new Faculty of Law.

Details of progress will be made available online through a new Faculty of Law website, www.law.lakeheadu.ca.

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Media: For more information please contact Janine Chiasson, Communications Officer, at 807-343-8177 or commun@lakeheadu.ca, or Frances Harding, Acting Director of Communications, at 807-343-8193 or fharding@lakeheadu.ca.

About Lakehead
Lakehead is a comprehensive university with a reputation for a multidisciplinary teaching approach that emphasizes collaborative learning and independent critical thinking. Over 8,280 students and 2,000 faculty and staff learn and work at campuses located in Orillia, and Thunder Bay, Ontario, which is home to the west campus of the Northern Ontario School of Medicine. Lakehead University promotes innovative research that supports local and regional socio-economic needs. In Orillia, development continues on building a campus that meets Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) standards.

Last updated July 05, 2011

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