Attorney General of Ontario
|Attorney General of Ontario|
|Executive Council of Ontario|
|Term length||Four years, two term limit|
|Website||Office of the Attorney General|
The Attorney General of Ontario is the chief legal adviser to Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Ontario and, by extension, the Government of Ontario. The Attorney General is a senior member of the Executive Council of Ontario (the cabinet) and oversees the Ministry of the Attorney General – the department responsible for the oversight of the justice system in the province of Ontario. The Attorney General is an elected Member of Provincial Parliament who is appointed by the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario on the constitutional advice of the Premier of Ontario.
The goal of the Ministry of the Attorney General is to provide a fair and accessible justice system which reflects the needs of the diverse communities it serves across government and the province. The Ministry represents the largest justice system in Canada and one of the largest in North America. It strives to manage the justice system in an equitable, affordable and accessible way throughout the province.
As of June 13, 2016, the Attorney General of Ontario is the Honourable Yasir Naqvi.
The Attorney General has the authority to represent the provincial government in court personally, but this task is almost always delegated to crown attorneys, or to crown counsel in civil cases. Ian Scott, who was a prominent courtroom lawyer prior to entering politics, chose to plead the crown's case in court for several cases related to constitutional law.
Most holders of the office have been practicing lawyers or had legal training. Marion Boyd was the only Attorney General who was not a lawyer.
The Ministry of the Attorney General delivers and administers a wide range of justice services, including:
- administering approximately 115 statutes;
- conducting criminal proceedings throughout Ontario;
- providing legal advice to, and conducting litigation on behalf of, all government ministries and many agencies, boards and tribunals;
- providing advice on, and drafting, all legislation and regulations; and
- coordinating and administering court services throughout Ontario.
The Ontario Crown Attorney's Office, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee, the Children's Lawyer (formerly called the Official Guardian), and the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) all fall within the Ministry's responsibilities. The Ministry also funds Legal Aid Ontario, which is administered by an independent board.
Following the 2013 release of Frank Iacobucci's report on the relationship between Aboriginal peoples and the Ontario justice system, a position of deputy attorney general with responsibility for Aboriginal issues was created.
List of Attorneys-General
Attorneys-General of Upper Canada
1. John White (Frontenac County) 1791–1800
2. Robert Isaac Dey Gray 1800–1801
3. Thomas Scott 1801–1806
4. William Firth 1807–1812
5. G. D'Arcy Boulton 1814–1818
6. Sir John Robinson, 1st Baronet, of Toronto 1818–1829, acting AG 1812–1814
7. Henry John Boulton 1829–1832
8. Robert Sympson Jameson 1833–1837, last British-appointed AG
9. Christopher Alexander Hagerman 1837–1840, first Canadian-born AG of Upper Canada
10. William Henry Draper 1840–1841, last AG of Upper Canada
Attorneys-General of the Province of Canada (Canada West)
After 1867, the Attorney General position was split into federal and provincial counterparts:
Attorneys-General of Ontario
16. John Sandfield MacDonald*, coalition, 1867–1871
17. Adam Crooks, Liberal, 1871–1872
18. Oliver Mowat*, Liberal, 1872–1896
19. Arthur S. Hardy*, Liberal, 1896–1899
20. John Morison Gibson, Liberal, 1899–1904
21. Francis Robert Latchford, Liberal, 1904–1905
22. James Whitney*, Conservative, 1905
23. James Joseph Foy, Conservative, 1905–1914
24. Isaac Benson Lucas, Conservative, 1914–1919
25. William Raney, United Farmers, 1919–1923
26. William Folger Nickle, Conservative, 1923–1926
27. William Herbert Price, Conservative, 1926–1934
28. Arthur Roebuck, Liberal, 1934–1937
29. Gordon Conant**, Liberal, 1937–1943
30. Eric Cross, Liberal, 1943
31. Leslie Blackwell, Progressive Conservative, 1943–1949
32. Dana Porter, Progressive Conservative, 1949–1955
33. Kelso Roberts, Progressive Conservative, 1955–1962
34. Fred Cass, Progressive Conservative, 1962–1964
35. Arthur Wishart, Progressive Conservative, 1964–1971
36. Allan Lawrence, Progressive Conservative, 1971–1972
37. Dalton Bales, Progressive Conservative, 1972–1974
38. Robert Stanley Welch, Progressive Conservative, 1974–1975
39. John Clement, Progressive Conservative, 1975
40. Roy McMurtry, Progressive Conservative, 1975–1985
41. Robert Stanley Welch, Progressive Conservative, 1985
42. Alan Pope, Progressive Conservative, 1985
43. Ian Scott, Liberal, 1985–1990
44. Howard Hampton, New Democratic Party, 1990–1993
45. Marion Boyd, New Democratic Party, 1993–1995
46. Charles Harnick, Progressive Conservative, 1995–1999
47. Jim Flaherty, Progressive Conservative, 1999–2001
48. David Young, Progressive Conservative, 2001–2003
49. Norm Sterling, Progressive Conservative, 2003
50. Michael J. Bryant, Liberal, 2003–2007
51. Chris Bentley, Liberal, 2007–2011
52. John Gerretsen, Liberal, 2011–2014
53. Madeleine Meilleur, Liberal, 2014–2016
54. Yasir Naqvi, Liberal, 2016–present
** Conant remained Attorney-General when he served as Premier of Ontario from October 21, 1942 until May 18, 1943, when he resigned from both positions.