Executive Director, Ryerson Legal Innovation Zone and Law Practice Program
Chris practiced criminal defence and labour law for 23 years at every level of court. While teaching part-time for 10 of those years at Western’s law school, he set up the Careers Office and was recognized for his teaching. He was a founder and the first chairperson of Neighbourhood Legal Services of London and Middlesex, established to help those who could not afford legal services. Chris was elected as the MPP for London West in 2003, and was a Minister in the Ontario Government for 10 years, including Labour, Training, Colleges and Universities, Energy, Aboriginal Affairs and Attorney General for 4 years.
Chris is an agent of change – determined to improve what he finds. While in government, Chris lead change initiatives such as Justice on Target, that reduced appearances and time to trial in criminal cases for the first time in 18 years (nationally recognized and twice internationally nominated), a health and safety initiative that reduced injuries by 20%, the 4 Pillars of Family Reform, Civil Justice Reform, the largest funding increase in Legal Aid’s history, and was part of a new approach to Aboriginal relations recognized by the United Nations.
After politics he joined Ryerson University and helped obtain and set up the Law Practice Program, a modern approach to transition year training for lawyers. He recently helped establish the Legal Innovation Zone, Canada’s first, to help build an accessible 21st century justice system.
U of T law and Cambridge U grad, Chris is also an author. He enjoys life with his Wife, Wendy, and 2 daughters. He also runs – unfortunately, that has not improved.
Sessions featuring Chris Bentley
• Day 2: Keynote – the Legal Innovation Zone at Ryerson University, 8:45 – 9:30 am