2022 AWARD RECIPEINT
The Medico-Legal Society of Toronto Award recognizes members of the medical, legal or scientific community who have made a significant contribution to their profession as well as to either the Society or the community at large. This year the MLST Award is presented to Dr. Harold Becker, Ph.D., MD, CCFP, FCFP (LM), Omega Medical Associates.
Dr. Harold Becker is an Assistant Professor (Adjunct) in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto. He earned a Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics in 1971 after undertaking basic cancer research in cell biology at the Princess Margaret Hospital and Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. He subsequently completed his MD from the University of Toronto in 1975 and later achieved Certification and Fellowship from the College of Family Physicians of Canada. Dr. Becker spent more than twenty years in primary patient care and taught Clinical Methods and The Art and Science of Clinical Medicine to undergraduate first- and second-year medical students in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He achieved Life Membership in the College of Family Physicians of Canada in 2015.
Dr. Becker represented the Ontario Medical Association on the Minister's Committee on the Designated Assessment Centre system at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario from 1996 through 2001 and was the Chair of the working group that wrote the Catastrophic DAC Assessment Guidelines implemented in Ontario in 2001. He was appointed by the Minister of Finance to take part in the Minister's Advisory Panel to Re-Assess the Definition of Catastrophic Impairment under Bill 59 in 2000. In November 2019, he was appointed Physician representative on the Health Service Providers subcommittee of the Stakeholder Advisory Committee under the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA).
Dr. Becker is a Past President of the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto. He is the Founder and Medical Director of Omega Medical Associates, a multidisciplinary assessment clinic established in the late 1990s, providing a comprehensive, impartial, medico-legal evaluation of individuals suffering personal injury under Ontario Auto Insurance legislation.
2021 AWARD RECIPIENT
Valerie Wise graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1990. She clerked for the Right Honourable Chief Justice Antonio Lamer of the Supreme Court of Canada and then obtained her Master of Laws degree from UCLA in 1992. She is a member of both the Law Society of Ontario and the State Bar of California (inactive).
Valerie has practiced a mix of civil and commercial litigation for 25 years in Ontario but has practiced exclusively in the area of health law since 2005. Valerie has been certified by the Law Society of Ontario as a specialist in Health Law since 2012. She is recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada for Health Care Law and Medical Negligence.
In 2013, she founded Wise Health Law – a boutique law firm focused on the practice of health and administrative law, primarily representing individual health professionals and organizations in civil litigation and with respect to regulatory matters.
Valerie has been a member of the MLST for almost 20 years and a member of council from 2008 to 2018. She served as President of the MLST in 2016-17 and, as a Past-President, she continues to be actively involved including planning and chairing MLST events.
She is also actively involved with the Canadian and Ontario Bar Association, serving on OBA executives in the Health Law, ADR, and Administrative Law Sections since 2011, and is the incoming Vice-Chair of the CBA Health Law Section.
She has mentored many young lawyers and law students and has encouraged their involvement in the MLST.
In her spare time, Valerie enjoys triathlon, yoga, cooking, and wine (not necessarily in that order).
2019 AWARD RECIPIENT
This award is the highest expression of esteem which the Society can convey and is intended to honour those members of the Medical, Legal or Scientific community who have made a significant contribution to their profession, as well as to the Society or the community at large, and whose contributions are consistent with the values of the Society.
Dr. Whatley obtained his Medical degree in 1996 Cum Laude, completed his residency in Emergency Medicine, and moved into full-time Emergency Medicine. He went into Rural Family Practice and has held increasing levels of leadership as Chief of Emergency Medicine at Southlake Hospital. He combines this with a passion for teaching; lecturing at McGill and the University of Toronto.
A prolific writer, blogger and lecturer, his articles in the Huffington Post, Medical Post, as well as his personal blog, are must-reads for any physician who wants to understand what’s going on in medicine, how they will need to adapt to changes coming to the profession, and what patients can expect in future healthcare. He’s the author of the critically acclaimed best-seller, “No More Lethal Waits, 10 steps to Transform Canada’s Emergency Departments”, and a Munk Senior Fellow in Health Care at the MacDonald Laurier Institute.
Amongst his peers, Dr. Whatley is viewed as a thoughtful, engaging speaker and thought-leader who can incorporate lessons from Churchill to Dickens to the Greek philosophers when trying to steer the profession in improving and transforming healthcare. He has been a pivotal figure in the world of Ontario medical politics and physician-government relations, becoming the OMA’s first elected President in 2017, at a time of unprecedented conflict and turmoil within the profession and with the Provincial Government.
Under his leadership, the OMA began enormous governance changes, obtained a Binding Arbitration Framework with the Provincial Government, and ultimately reached the first Arbitrated Physicians Services Agreement, though not without a lot of unprecedented twists and turns along the way. The agreement has allowed the profession and the government to start back on the road of working together to solve the endless ongoing healthcare challenges here in Ontario.
As OMA President, he worked hand in hand with the small business leaders of Canada to raise awareness about the crippling effects of the proposed 2017 Canadian Small Business Tax Changes. His testimony before the Senate Finance Committee was one of the keys in this important success story of advocacy against legislation that had far-reaching, adverse effects that were not initially understood by those in power.
From small-town doctor to prolific writer, to healthcare thought-leader, to staunch advocate, Dr. Whatley has been at the forefront of advocating for his profession and working towards solutions during some of the most turbulent and challenging times in Ontario healthcare history.
2018 AWARD RECIPIENT
Mr. William Carter
William (Bill) Carter graduated from Queen’s University in 1971 with a BA (Hons) in International Politics & Economics. In 1975 he received his LL.B from the University of Toronto and, in 1977 was called to the Bar of Ontario and commenced the practice of civil litigation and administrative law with Borden & Elliot, the Toronto constituent of the national firm later known as Borden Ladner Gervais LLP (BLG) formed in 1999.
While Bill spent his early practice years engaged across the spectrum of civil cases, he and colleagues Rino Stradiotto, Dan Ferguson, Mike McKelvey, John Morris and Daphne Jarvis (all MLST stalwarts) began to concentrate in hospital-based medical negligence litigation leading to the formation of the Health Law Group (HLG) which, in the ensuing 30 years has grown to national prominence in the field. Bill’s leadership, collegiality and mentoring have been hugely enjoyed by health leaders and legal colleagues both within and beyond BLG.
In addition to numerous high-exposure civil trials and appeals, Bill has been counsel for parties with standing at the Commission of Inquiry into Health Information (the Krever Inquiry) and the Commission of Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology (the Goudge Inquiry). In 1987, the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC) certified Bill as a Specialist in Civil Litigation. In 2007, he became a Certified Specialist in Health Law.
Bill’s contribution to the medico-legal community includes: teaching ‘Trial Practice’ at Osgoode Hall Law School for many years; serving as an elected Bencher of the LSUC; membership on the Mt. Sinai Hospital Ethics Committee and extensive lecturing and public-speaking about civil and professional accountability in the health sector. Bill has also served on the Council of the MLST for a number of terms.
Community service has extended to board membership and Chair of Safe Kids Canada; board member & a Governor of the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair and, membership on the Ontario Judicial Council.
Following his retirement from BLG at the end of 2017, Bill joined the Healthcare Insurance Reciprocal of Canada (HIROC) as Legal Counsel.
2017 AWARD RECIPIENT
Dr. Hawryluck received her MD in 1992 from the University of Western Ontario, her Fellowship in Critical Care at the University of Manitoba in 1997, and her MSc in Bioethics in 1999. From 1999-2001 she was Assistant Professor of Critical Care/Internal Medicine, Queen's University. In 2000 she was appointed Physician Leader of the national Ian Anderson Continuing Education Program in End-of-Life Care at the University of Toronto and is currently an Associate Professor of Critical Care Medicine at the University of Toronto. In 2002, she was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal for contributions to Canada in recognition of her work in creating the Anderson Program and improving end-of-life care for Canadians.
Dr. Hawryluck has been the Medical Advisor to the Critical Care Secretariat Ethical Issues of Access, the Leader of the Critical Care Secretariat End-of-Life Decision-Making Performance Improvement Team in its inaugural year, and a member of the Ontario Pandemic Flu A/D/T Committee whose triage protocol was subsequently adopted worldwide.
Dr. Hawryluck has taught on medico-legal topics at all levels of medical training. She helped create and support the MLST Health Law Advocacy project which received recognition from the Chief Justice of Ontario. Recently as co-lead, she completed work on a project entitled “Balancing the interests of patients, substitute decision-makers, family and health care providers in decision-making over the withdrawal and withholding of life-sustaining treatment“ funded by the Law Reform Commission of Ontario. She is co-author/editor of the “Law of Acute Care in Canada” to be published in the fall.
Dr. Hawryluck is deeply involved in international humanitarian projects, specifically with critical care and burn units in Indore India and Cote d’Ivoire. She was co-creator and co-Director for the Royal College of Canada International (RCCI) of the first Doctorate in Medicine Program in Critical Care in the country of Nepal. She worked with the Nepal Medical Council as an international consultant to write and enact a new contemporary Code of Ethics and Professionalism for all physicians in Nepal. She is a critical care consultant for Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) telemedicine program to support physicians in the field. She is also a member of the Advisory Board for Medecins du Monde Canada.
Dr. Hawryluck served as President of the Medico-Legal Society from 2013 to 2014.
2016 AWARD RECIPIENT
Ms. Philippa Samworth
Philippa is a partner at Dutton Brock LLP and her area of practice is exclusively insurance defence with a specialty in Accident Benefits. Philippa also offers mediation and arbitration services.
Philippa has a number of achievements and was retained by the Ministry of Finance of Ontario as a consultant to provide analysis and technical advice to the Ministry on its preparation and drafting of Bill 59 and its regulations.
In 2000, she was asked by the Government of Ontario to Chair an Advisory Committee regarding the definition of Catastrophic Impairment. In March of 2004, Philippa was again retained by the Minister of Finance to conduct stakeholder consultations and provide advice and recommendations on proposals to replace the DAC system.
Philippa received her B.A. and LL.B. from Queen’s University and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1979. In 1990 she was certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in Civil Litigation. In October of 2007, Philippa was inducted into the American College of Trial Lawyers.
In 2002 she was the first recipient of the Canadian Defence Lawyers Lee Samis Award of Excellence. On April 27, 2006, she became the first recipient of the Ontario Bar Association’s Award of Excellence in Insurance Law. In September of 2014, Philippa was awarded The Advocates’, Society Medal.
Philippa is a past President of The Advocates’ Society, a founding member of the Canadian Defence Lawyers, and a past President of The Medico-Legal Society of Toronto.
2015 AWARD RECIPIENT
Dr. Grant Farrow earned his degree in medicine from the University of Toronto in 1958. He became a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1964, a McLaughlin Travelling Fellow in Surgery from Paris and London in 1965 and 1966, and a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons in 1973. He was on the Academic Staff of the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto for many years and worked as a surgeon at The Toronto General Hospital beginning in 1966. While there, he developed many new surgical procedures, including performing the first human kidney transplant at The Toronto General Hospital, and subsequently the next 50 as well.
Over the course of his career, Dr. Farrow worked extensively outside of Toronto. During the 25 years between 1970 and 1995, he taught and/or performed surgery in Canada in Victoria, Kingston, Halifax, Ottawa, the Ontario Legislature, and Osgoode Hall. Places he worked overseas include Beijing and Xian in China, Istanbul, Turkey, Edinburgh, Scotland, Sydney, Australia, Auckland, New Zealand, San Juan, Puerto Rico, London, UK, Seville, Spain, Mansura, Egypt, and Harare, Zimbabwe.
Dr. Farrow also participated in many medical and scientific associations. He is a Past President of the Academy of Medicine, the American Urological Association, and the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto. He is a Past Canadian Chairman of the American College of Surgeons, a Past Chairman of the International Society of Urology, and an Honorary Member of the Northwest Urology Society. He has also belonged to the British Association of Urological Surgeons, the Canadian Academy of Urological Surgeons, the Canadian Association of Clinical Surgeons, the Kergin Surgical Society, the Ontario Medical Association, the Royal Society of Medicine, London, UK, and the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.
Outside of medicine, Dr. Farrow has been involved in The York Club, serving as Chairman, the Toronto Hunt Club, the Alpine Ski Club in Collingwood, the Stony Lake Yacht Club, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Toronto, St. Peter’s-on-the-Rock Anglican Church in Stony Lake, and La Commanderie de Bordeaux, Toronto Chapter.
2014 AWARD RECIPIENT
Mr. Niels Ortved
Niels is a senior litigation lawyer at McCarthy, Tetrault, with an excellent reputation. He has handled a broad range of litigation, but including for the Canadian Medical Protective Association (CMPA). For example, in the early ’80s, he acted for physicians before for the Grange Commission of Inquiry (re the digoxin deaths at the Hospital for Sick Children). More recently, he represented Dr. Charles Smith in a range of legal proceedings, including before the Goudge Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Pathology in Ontario. This was a difficult, unpopular brief. By all accounts, he handled his representation of Dr. Smith with grace and class, stayed clear of the spotlight, and, while duly representing his client, worked so as to advance the interests of justice in the very important issues which were before the Commission.