Marie Deschamps

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2015
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A former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, she enriches the Foundation community with her vast knowledge of the courts and the law in Canada and abroad.

The Honorable Marie Deschamps earned a licentiate in laws from the Université de Montréal in 1974 and an LLM from McGill University in 1983. The Université de Montréal and the Université de Sherbrooke awarded her an honorary doctorate in 2008 and 2014, respectively. Madame Deschamps was inducted as a member of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2005. The Law School of McGill University bestowed the F. R. Scott award for distinguished service upon her in 2013, the same year that she was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada. She received the distinction of lawyer emeritus from the Quebec Bar in 2014. 

Madame Deschamps was called to the Quebec Bar in 1975 and practiced as a litigator at Martineau Walker and Sylvestre et Matte in family, civil, and commercial law; then at Rouleau, Rumanek et Sirois in criminal law; and finally at Byers Casgrain in civil and commercial law. She was appointed judge to the Quebec Superior Court in 1990, to the Court of Appeal in 1992, and to the Supreme Court in 2002. She retired from the judiciary in August 2012 and re-joined the Quebec Bar in 2013. In 2014, the Government of Canada named Justice Deschamps to conduct an external review into sexual assault in the Canadian Forces. In 2015, she led a United Nations probe into child sex abuse allegations involving French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

Madame Deschamps has been a member of the board of the Université de Montréal and a member of the board of directors of the Université de Montréal’s alumni association. She also sat on the 1986 advisory committee on reform of the Bankruptcy Act and on the Competition Tribunal advisory council. She serves as member of a number of committees and boards of directors, including the boards of directors of Gaz Metro Inc, Educaloi, and Pro Bono Canada. She has been an adjunct professor at the law schools of University of Sherbrooke since 2006 and McGill University since 2012. She is regularly invited to give lectures and conferences to various audiences, mostly on constitutional and commercial law and on governance and ethics.

Maries Deschamps was born in Repentigny, Quebec, on 2 October 1952. Her spouse is a businessman. They have two children. She is a sports enthusiast who skis, swims, hikes, and jogs. Her interests also include art, travel, and languages. In addition to French, her mother tongue, she speaks fluent English and has studied Italian and Spanish.

  • May 10, 2017
    Late last year, the Canadian Ministers of Health and Justice requested that the Council of Canadian Academies conduct independent reviews on issues related to medically assisted death. To that end, the Council has named an expert panel which will examine three particularly complex cases: requests by mature minors, advance requests, and requests where mental illness is the sole underlying medical condition.