The activities of the Ontario Bar Association are governed by the By-laws of the Association, last ratified at the Annual Meeting held in Toronto, on December 2, 2022.
Seven Officers of the Association are responsible for the regular activities and administration of the Branch. The Officers are responsible for the execution of contracts involving the OBA, the approval of expense reimbursements, signing cheques and other instruments on behalf of the OBA. The current Officers are:
- President - Kelly McDermott
- 1st Vice-President - Kathryn Manning
- 2nd Vice-President - Katy Commisso
- Secretary (Board & Council) - Mohsen Seddigh
- Treasurer - Mariam Moktar
- Immediate Past President - Karen Perron
- Executive Director and General Counsel - Elizabeth A. Hall
All officers, with the exception of the Executive Director and General Counsel, are elected members of the Association. The Executive Director is the Chief Operating Officer of the Ontario Bar Association and the only paid Officer of the Association. The Secretary is elected annually. The Treasurer is elected every two years. The Second Vice-President is elected each year and becomes the First Vice-President, President and Past-President during the successive three-year period. The Officers meet monthly, prior to the meetings of the Board of Directors.
Board of Directors
There is a 23 member Board of Directors, which includes the Officers and Regional Directors from each Judicial Region in the Province. The Board has both student and young lawyer representatives, and the young lawyers rotate a representative on the Board from each of their four divisions, over the course of each year. The Board meets on a monthly basis to deal with the business of the Association.
The Regional Directors are elected by the Council members in their respective regions. The Second Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer, Chair of Sections and Chair of Professional Development are elected by the full Council membership. The Chair of the Student Section is elected by the Student Section Members, and the Young Lawyers’ representatives are elected by the young lawyer members from each of the four divisions of the Young Lawyers Section. All members of the Board, with the exception of the Treasurer, serve for only one annual period and most are eligible for re-election for one additional annual period.
Council's Role and Responsibilities
Council members will communicate with their constituents and share information about the OBA’s activities and initiatives.
- Throughout their term, Council members act as ambassadors and liaisons for the OBA within their region, identify issues and opportunities and provide advice to the Board on how to address them
- Annually elect the Board of Directors (the decision making body of the Association)
Specifically, Council members are expected to bring forward general and regional issues of importance to members and to the profession, including:
- Identification of issues in the region (practice or professional) that would benefit from OBA advocacy
- Issues related to the operation or administration of the judicial system
- Regional professional development needs
- Issues related to the presence of the Association in the region
Council meets four times each year. Council members will:
- Solicit views and comments from their constituents to share with Council and submit proposed agenda items one month prior to the date of a Council meeting to Valerie Dallas at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Review all meeting materials posted to the Volunteer Portal
- Contribute to the discussion of Council
- Update their constituents after each Council meeting by communicating the highlights of OBA activities for their members and distributing any materials received for that purpose
Throughout their term, Council members will:
- Regularly communicate with their constituents via email and social media to keep them up to date on OBA activities and initiatives and bring any issues or concerns to the attention of the OBA
- Participate in monthly regional calls (periodically open to regional membership)
- Coordinate with their regional directors, as appropriate
- Organize periodic meetings of the members in their region
- Promote the value of OBA membership within their region
- Identify opportunities for OBA engagement in their region