Professional Development
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Toronto : St. Andrew's Club & Conference Centre – 150 King Street West

Chris Bentley

Chris Bentley is the executive director of the Legal Innovation Zone and law practice program at Ryerson University. He practised criminal defence and labour law for 23 years at every level of court. 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 four years.

While in government, Mr. Bentley led initiatives such as Justice on Target, that reduced appearances and time to trial in criminal cases for the first time in 18 years, a health-and-safety initiative that reduced injuries by 20 percent, 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 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.