January 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 2
Order of Canada honours Crowsnest native Madam Justice Ellen Picard
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Alex Wells Photo
Madam Justice Ellen Picard awarded Order of Canada.
Pass Herald Reporter
The Honourable Madam Justice Ellen Irene Picard, a pioneer in the field of health law, has been appointed Officer of the Order of Canada on Dec. 30.

Picard, was recognized “for her contributions as a jurist and legal scholar who helped establish the field of health law in Canada,” according to the Governor General of Canada's website.

The Order of Canada was founded in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and celebrates Canadians who have made a significant difference in the lives of others and in this country. The Order of Canada “recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.” On Dec. 30, 100 remarkable Canadians from all sectors of society were appointed to the Order.

“I was, at first, stunned as I didn’t expect it,” says Picard. “Then, I was emotional because it means so much to me to be a Canadian. In fact, I actually broke down and wept.”

Picard’s family has deeply woven roots in the history of the nation. Her ancestors first landed in Quebec in 1665 from Picardy in France, gradually making it to Southern Alberta. She says her grandfathers always worked in “typically Canadian” trades, like blacksmithing, mining and ranching.

Ironically, one of Picard’s father’s first jobs was to work in advertising for the very newspaper you are reading, now known as The Crowsnest Pass Herald.
continued below ...
“We’ve come full circle,” she says.

Picard was born and raised in the Crowsnest Pass until she moved away to study home economics before focusing on law.

Being acknowledged for her positive contributions to Canada follows in the footsteps of her grandfathers, who themselves received recognition and awards for being the pioneers and builders of Alberta. She hopes to leave behind a legacy for her grandchildren, much like her grandfathers have done for her.

“I have only one son and two little granddaughters who are growing up in Los Angeles and they’re my world, of course,” she says. “For my son, Andrew, to be able to say to them one day, ‘Here’s a medal or here’s a picture of your grandma. She did something great for this country and she was recognized for that.’ It means so much to me.”

Picard completed a law degree from the University of Alberta, where she later joined the Faculty of Law as the first female full-time member and later served as Associate Dean. In 1992, Picard received an honourary doctor of laws degree.

She was named to the Order for her contributions as a judge at the Court of Queen’s Bench and her further elevation to the Court of Appeal. She co-authored Legal Liability of Doctors and Hospitals in Canada, a book lauded as the most authoritative source on the subject.
continued below ...
As a longstanding leader in the field, Picard’s legacy is helping establish the field of health law in Canada, and founding the internationally respected Health Law Institute at the Faculty of Law in 1977. This was the very first health law research institute in Canada, and is now regarded as an innovative leader both domestically and internationally.

“It started from an idea, a feeling, my book, teaching, and a sense that we were on the cusp of something big,” says Picard about the inspiration to open the institute.

Picard was then teaching nurses and medical and dental students about the laws that affected them and realized that no streamlined institution was available to study and disseminate this information.

By 1986 when Picard was appointed to the Bench, the “little health law project” that she started had become a university institute. “It just expanded very quickly because, as I had anticipated, there was an explosion in medical science, the genome stuff, and the ability to test for diseases and treat diseases in different ways. They came right up against ethical and legal concerns and the life and death thing that we’re in now. The seeds of that began in the ‘70s.”

Retired now for just under a year, Picard hopes to spend more time writing children’s stories.
Click the "Submit" button once
Your post will appear at the top
January 11th, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 2
All information on this website is Copyright (c) 2017 Pass Herald Ltd. All rights reserved.
12925 20th Ave, Box 960, Blairmore, Alberta, Canada T0K 0E0 | news@passherald.ca | 403.562.2248 | 403.562.8379 (FAX)