She has taught at McGill Law since 1993
The minister of public safety Marco Mendicino has announced the appointment of Shauna Van Praagh as the president of the revived Law Commission of Canada. Sarah Elgazzar and Aidan Edward Johnson were named as commissioners.
The Law Commission of Canada is an independent body that provides non-partisan advice to the federal government on improving, modernizing, and reforming Canadian laws. The commission aims to support the federal government’s efforts toward a more inclusive, representative, and accessible justice system. The commission is expected to develop new approaches to the law to address systemic racism in legislation and the legal system and support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. The commission may also consider other important priorities like access to justice, legal issues around climate change and rapid technological shifts.
The 2021 federal budget provided $18 million over five years and $4 million annually to re-establish the Law Commission of Canada. The minister of justice and attorney general of Canada, David Lametti, commented on the revival of the commission. “Re-establishing the Law Commission of Canada will help make our justice system more fair, equitable, and accessible for all Canadians. The new appointments move us a critical step closer to the Law Commission resuming its important work.”
Shauna Van Praagh is a full professor at McGill University’s Faculty of Law, where she has taught and researched since 1993. She received the John W. Durnford Teaching Excellence Award and chaired the 1995-96 committee that produced the blueprint for a revised and unique legal education program at McGill University. Van Praagh served as president of the Canadian Association of Law Teachers. She was appointed as one of two academic members of the National Requirement Review Committee under the auspices of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
Van Praagh earned a bachelor of laws degree from the University of Toronto and a master of laws and doctor of juridical science from Columbia University. She clerked for Supreme Court of Canada chief justice Brian Dickson.
McGill Law dean Robert Leckey said, “Professor Van Praagh is uniquely qualified to lead this renewed federal commission through her proven capacity to drive change and think creatively beyond the conventional boundaries that can limit our legal imaginations.”
The Canadian Bar Association president Steeves Bujold also commented on the new appointments and the re-establishment of the commission, “The CBA has a long record of recognizing the vital role played by the Law Commission of Canada, as an independent body to advise the government on modernization of the law. We look forward to collaborating with the Law Commission of Canada as it resumes its important work.”
Van Praagh will hold office as present for five years, while commissioners Elgazar and Johnson will hold office for four years, all effective June 6.