Christine Elliott, former Ontario deputy premier and Western alum, is joining the university as Distinguished Leader in Residence at Western Law.
Elliott, LLB’78, was a lawyer and a founding partner of Flaherty, Dow, Elliott & McCarthy, along with her husband, the late James Flaherty. During her tenure as Ontario’s minister of health and deputy premier from 2018 to 2022, she played an integral part in overseeing the province’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am delighted that such a distinguished graduate is returning to Western Law in the capacity of Distinguished Leader in Residence. Christine will provide valuable mentorship to our students as they find their place as leaders in our modern democracy,” said Erika Chamberlain, dean of Western Law.
During her tenure in the provincial government, Elliott sponsored and enacted legislation, and she also served as Ontario’s first Patient Ombudsman from 2016 to 2018.
Elliott and Flaherty co-founded Abilities Centre in Whitby, Ont., which supports and celebrates the abilities of all people. She has held positions on a range of boards in the health care sector since becoming involved as a volunteer with several charities including the Lakeridge Health Whitby Foundation, Durham Mental Health Services and Grandview Children’s Centre.
“I am honoured to be once again associated with Western University, this time as Distinguished Leader in Residence. My undergraduate years, as well as my years at Western’s Faculty of Law, prepared me well for my future,” Elliott said, in conversation with Western News.
“I look forward to speaking with potential Western students about the high quality of education and life at Western University and connecting with current students about their studies and their opportunities for the future,” she said.
Elliott will work with the faculty to provide guidance and professional mentorship to law students in areas including health care law and policy, advocacy, leadership and public service.
“I’m thrilled to welcome Christine back to campus in this new and exciting role,” said Alan Shepard, president of Western. “As a Distinguished Leader in Residence, she will contribute to the intellectual life of the university while offering our students an incredible opportunity to benefit from her wide-ranging legal expertise and dedication to public service.”
Through her formal activities and interactions with students and alumni, Elliott will promote the versatility of a legal education to prepare students for a wide range of careers.
“I will be speaking to the students about aspects of their studies as well as future opportunities in legal careers. I have worked in various capacities in my career, and my experience as a lawyer set me up for work in public life. I look forward to sharing my experience and insights,” Elliott said.
Part of these interactions with students will be in the form of impromptu conversations, fireside chats and guest lectures, on themes to be chosen by the Leader in Residence. Elliott will also be available for guest lectures and seminars on health care, public service, social justice and related topics. She will also be attending events at the faculty and university, meetings of senior leadership, and with notable alumni and friends of the university.
In addition to this role within the law school, Elliott will serve as an advisor to President Shepard on Western’s mental health and wellness strategy.