A bittersweet goodbye. After 15 years of dedicated service, Paul Evraire, KC, is stepping down from the Class Proceedings Committee. Paul served a total of 15 years on the Committee, 3 of those as Chair.
Paul was appointed to the Committee in 2008, while he was Special Counsel (Litigation) at the federal Department of Justice. His 42-year legal career was as a litigator of complex matters before provincial and federal courts and as a supervisor and mentor to other litigation professionals.
Paul was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1984 and received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2013. He also received the Ted Thompson Litigator of the Year Award from the Department of Justice in 2014.
Paul stepped into the Committee’s Chair role in 2020, unknowingly on the cusp of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Paul became Chair during a very difficult time,” say Remissa Hirji, Counsel to the Class Proceedings Committee. “Through a global pandemic and staff transitions, Paul very capably shepherded the Committee with his calming, steadying, and always exceptionally well-prepared leadership. The Committee moved to a virtual model without missing a single hearing.”
Paul has been involved in the majority of the Class Proceeding Fund’s applications and decisions over the past 15 years. He has been pivotal to the growth of the Fund. For a sense of this growth, consider that prior to Paul’s appointment in 2007, the Committee heard 4 initial funding applications and funded 3 supplementary applications. In 2022, the Committee heard 17 new applications and funded 34 supplementary applications. The Committee has been able to substantially increase the number of cases supported by the Fund over the course of Paul’s appointment.
“Paul cares very deeply about the work of the Fund and the Committee, and he always understood the stakes,” says Linda Rothstein, Chair of the Foundation’s Board. “He understands the gravity of each case for the Fund, the Foundation, and of course the plaintiffs. Paul considers the magnitude of each decision and remains focused on the Fund’s broader mandate: increasing access to justice by supporting class actions in the public interest.”
Paul’s dedication to access to justice extended even further. While on the Class Proceedings Committee, Paul was a board member of Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO). He became its chair in 2018 and spent some time as CLEO’s representative on the Ontario Justice Education Network board; two leading players in the nonprofit justice sector and longstanding grantees of the Foundation.
“Paul skillfully oversaw the mandate of the Committee with grace, efficiency, and wisdom,” says incoming Chair John P. Brown, Legal and Strategic Advisor of Indigenous Initiatives at McCarthy Tétrault. “His care in ensuring the Committee’s money was spent appropriately and responsibly will ensure that the Class Proceedings Fund will be around for years to come to finance worthwhile class actions. Throughout, Paul unfailingly demonstrated how deeply he cared about access to justice, and reminded us of the invaluable role the work of the Committee played in advancing it.”
On behalf The Law Foundation of Ontario Board, Class Proceeding Committee, and staff teams, past and present, we extend our deepest gratitude to Paul for his exceptional commitment and service to advancing access to justice for the people of Ontario.