Michel Bastarache has been instrumental in the interpretation and application of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He is a recognized authority on a number of topics in a variety of fields including constitutional, administrative and criminal law. Mr. Bastarache was counsel at the national law firm of Heenan Blaikie from 2008 until 2014. He is also an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Moncton, and at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa.
Mr. Bastarache was very involved in the academic, government, business and legal communities. He was a legal translator for the Government of New Brunswick (1970-1971), Secretary General of the Société des Acadiens et Acadiennes du Nouveau Brunswick (1973-1974), a law professor and Dean at the University of Moncton Faculty of Law (1978-1983), Director General of the Department of the Secretary of State of Canada Promotion of Official Languages Branch (1983-1984), and Associate Dean of the Common Law Section at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law (1984-1987). He also worked for the Assumption Mutual Life Insurance Company where he was appointed Vice-President and Director of Marketing (1974-1977) and later President and Chief Executive Officer (1989-1994). In addition, he worked in private practice in Ottawa (1987-1989) and Moncton (1994-1995).
Throughout his exceptional career, Mr. Bastarache was awarded numerous honorary degrees, prestigious decorations and awards in recognition of his outstanding leadership in private practice, legal education and public service. He holds honorary degrees from the University of Moncton (1998), Dalhousie University (1998), the University of Ottawa (1998), the University of Mount Allison (2001), the University of Manitoba (2005), the Université Sainte-Anne (2006), the University of New Brunswick (2007), and the Université de Montréal (2008). A Goodman Fellow of the University of Toronto and a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, Mr. Bastarache was recognized on numerous occasions for his significant contributions and commitment to French-speaking and Acadian communities across Canada. He received, among other awards, the Ordre des francophones d’Amérique from the Government of Québec (1981), the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada Medal (1993), the title of Jurist of the Year from the Association des juristes d’expression française du Nouveau-Brunswick (1993), the Boréal Award from the Fédération des communautés francophones et acadiennes du Canada (1995), the Médaille de Commandeur de l’Ordre de la Pléiade (1999), the Officier de la Légion d’honneur Medal from the Government of the French Republic (2003), and was appointed Companion of the Order of Canada (2009). In 2010, he was sworn as a judge of Kenya’s Interim Independent Constitutional Dispute Resolution Court. In 2012, Mr. Justice Bastarache was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2013, he received the Ordre du mérite de l’Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario. He was also given the title of Queen’s Counsel for New Brunswick in 2013. In 2014, Mr. Bastarache was listed as one of the Best Lawyers in Canada in the field of appellate law.
Mr. Bastarache has sat on countless boards and committees involving legal education and the practice of law, and was quite active in the business community. He was a member of the editorial boards of the Revue générale de droit international, the Revue québécoise de droit international, the Revue générale de droit of the University of Ottawa, and the Revue du Nouvel Ontario of Laurentian University. He was Associate Editor of the review C’est ton droit, Editor-in-Chief of the Canadian Bar Review (1998-2005), a member of the Canadian National Group to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (2005-2008) and, since 2003, has been a member of the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Honour Society.
Mr. Bastarache has edited and authored numerous publications and books including Language Rights in Canada (Yvon Blais, 1987 and 2004 [2nd ed.]), Les droits linguistiques au Canada (Yvon Blais, 1986, 2004 [2nd ed.], and 2013 [3rd ed.]), Précis du droit des biens réels (Yvon Blais, 1993 and 2001 [2nd ed.]), and The Law of Bilingual Interpretation (Butterworths, 2008).