The Honourable Mr. Justice Neil Sharkey Volunteer Service Award recognizes a member who demonstrates outstanding dedication, innovation or results in his or her ongoing involvement with the Law Society.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the Law Society in 2009, the Executive named the Volunteer Service Award as the “Honourable Mr. Justice Neil Sharkey volunteer Service Award” to honor Justice Neil Sharkey for his many years of volunteer commitment, which exemplifies those elements.
Photo Credit - Adrienne Row-Smith
Gloria Song, a member of the Nunavut bar since 2011, is awarded the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for her long-standing commitment and years of contributions to the Law Society of Nunavut. You can learn more about Gloria’s access to justice work here.
Gloria was originally called in Ontario in 2011 before moving to Nunavut in 2013 where she lived in Cambridge Bay and worked for the Kitikmeot Law Centre for two years before returning to Ontario. Gloria’s passion and interest for the North remains. She worked several years for Polar Knowledge Canada, started her PhD at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law with a focus on access to justice in Nunavut, and is now working for the Department of Justice Canada.
While Gloria is an accomplished professional, she is equally committed to supporting the efforts of the Law Society to advance its mandate of regulating in the public interest. Her contributions have made a positive impact for both the profession and the communities. From the outset of her Nunavut call, Gloria was and remains involved in the Legal Ethics and Practice Committee (LEPC) and the Access to Justice Program.
Gloria played a key role in the development and implementation of the first Nunavut-based and cross-jurisdictional awareness campaign on the requirements to practice law in Nunavut. Further, Gloria was an invaluable member of the LEPC in regard to initial steps taken to develop a Nunavut specific module for lawyers and students-at-law looking to practice in Nunavut, and for the ongoing efforts to update the Nunavut Code of Conduct.
Gloria is a tireless advocate for access to justice Nunavut. Her involvement in the Law Society’s Access to Justice Program since its launch in 2014 led to the publication of the Law Society’s first public legal and information series of plain language tools. She was directly involved in the proposal writing that resulted in two access to justice-related grants awarded by the Law Foundation of Ontario in 2016 and then in 2018. The latter grant led to the unique and inestimable partnership with Pauktuutit Inuit Women of Canada for access to justice for family violence in Nunavut.
Gloria is always on the look out for opportunities where she can assist organizations and particular Inuit youth to deliver comprehensive public legal and information sessions.
The Law Society is grateful for Gloria’s many contributions to both the profession and the public, and for the significant time commitment which spans over a decade.
Gloria has chosen the Kitikmeot Friendship Society in Cambridge Bay to receive the Law Society’s donation made on her behalf. The Kitikmeot Friendship Society is a Nunavut based organization that fosters community well-being and social justice through positive action and leadership. You can learn more here.
Thank you for making a difference.
John MacLean, a member of the Nunavut bar since 2010, is awarded the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for his long-standing dedication to the profession and its various related organizations. Learn more about John’s journey to Nunavut here.
John served as a member of the Law Society Executive for two consecutive 2-year terms, including as President during his last year; John also sat on the Nunavut Branch Executive of the Canadian Bar Association for a number of years and has been the representative for the Nunavut Lawyers’ Assistance Program taking over from past recipient, Margaret Hollis.
During these years, John demonstrated a great sense of leadership and tireless commitment to advance various initiatives undertaken by the Law Society, most recently in relation to the Nunavut Law Program. John took proactive steps to bring the membership together creating opportunities for discussions to ensure the Law Society could support the students including how it could facilitate articles and mentorship for the students.
As we heard during today’s AGM, John is passionate about mental health and the well-being of lawyers and other members of the legal community. He is focused on finding ways to provide more support for his fellow lawyers in Nunavut where resilience and compassion fatigue are part of one’s legal career journey.
No doubt John has made a difference in the profession and to advance the mandate of the Law Society to regulate the profession in the public interest. The Law Society is thankful for his dedication and invaluable time commitment.
John MacLean continues to be a recognized leader in Nunavut and nationally. The Law Society is honored to have John as a Member of the Nunavut Bar.
A donation of John’s choice to a Nunavut-based community organization will be made by the Society on his behalf. Thank you for making a difference.
 A donation to the Kamatsiaqtut Help Line was made on John MacLean’s behalf.
Marie Belleau, a member of Nunavut bar since 2013, is awarded the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for her long-standing dedication to the Nunavut Law Foundation. Read the Fall 2021 Polar Barristers Interview.
Ms. Belleau served three terms (2014-2020) including as the Foundation’s Chair from 2017 until June of 2020.
During this time, Ms. Belleau demonstrated a tireless commitment to advance the Foundation’s mandate to support legal education, law reform, research, and access to justice projects in Nunavut.
She led the Foundation’s strategic planning process including an extensive review of both the Lucien Ukaliannuk and General Grant Awards, advocated for increased funding for the Foundation through trust account levies, acted as the Foundation’s representative at the national Association of Canadian Law Foundations (ACLF), and championed the work of the Foundation to support Nunavut law students in Iqaluit and across Canada.
Moreover, in her first year as Chair, Ms. Belleau welcomed delegations from across the country to Iqaluit as part of a hugely successful ACLF annual meeting. A unique opportunity for most delegates to see and experience, for the very first time, the exquisite landscape and richness of Inuit culture.
With her Inuit and French-Canadian heritage, Ms. Belleau was generous of her knowledge and insight allowing the Foundation to ensure decision-making processes and initiatives are culturally appropriate. Ms. Belleau is also an accomplished artist recognized by her peers.
Without her outstanding dedication and innovation, the Foundation would not have been able to complete the amount of work it has over the years during her tenure which have led to a number of successes. Learn more by reading the Foundation’s Annual Reports.
A donation of Ms. Belleau’s choice to a Nunavut-based community organization will be made by the LSN on her behalf.
Marie Belleau continues to be a recognized leader in Nunavut and nationally. The LSN is honored to have Ms. Belleau as a Member of the Nunavut Bar.
Thank you for making a difference in your community.
Sara Siebert is the 2019 recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Service Award for her leadership and invaluable contributions made to the Law Society of Nunavut (LSN). Ms. Siebert was admitted to the LSN in March 2014 and has lived in Nunavut since then.
Her nomination is recognized by the Executive Members for her ongoing involvement with the Law Society during which Ms. Siebert made outstanding contributions to the Nunavut Bar:
- Council member of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada bringing Nunavut’s unique context and perspectives;
- Directly involved in both the organization and delivery of CPLED Bar Course to Nunavut students-at-law;
- Organizer of the hugely successful Trial Advocacy Course that took place in Iqaluit last September; and
- Member of the Discipline Committee for a number of years bringing her expertise and sound judgement to all matters that are designated to her (Acting Chair and Vice Chair Investigator).
Ms. Siebert’s contributions are significant as they ensure Members of the Nunavut Bar are competent and they directly support the role of the LSN to regulate lawyers in the public interest.
The commitment and dedication from Ms. Siebert to our legal community and profession is laudable for having directly contributed to tangible results at different levels: for the profession, for students-at-law and members of the public.
Ms. Siebert has chosen the “wet shelter” which is managed by the Uquutaq Society (Iqaluit Men’s Shelter) for a donation to be made by the LSN on her behalf.
Sara Siebert continues to be a recognized leader at both the territorial and national levels. The LSN is honored to have Ms. Siebert as a Member of the Nunavut Bar.
Thomas Ahlfors is the 2018 recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for his leadership and invaluable commitment to the Law Society of Nunavut (LSN). Mr. Ahlfors was admitted to the LSN in 2012 and is a member of the Quebec (1989) and Ontario (1989) Bars.
His nomination is recognized by the Executive Members for having demonstrated outstanding dedication, and results in his ongoing involvement with the Law Society.
As a Member of the Rules Committee and of the former Model Code of Professional Conduct working group (Ethics and Practice Committee), Mr. Ahlfors played a key role to advance the work that lead to the adoption of the November 2016 Nunavut Model Code and of the necessary and long overdue review of the Rules of the Law Society. Mr. Ahlfors’s leadership has been welcomed as the Chairperson of the Discipline Committee, since 2018, bringing his expertise and sound judgement to this statutory core position of the LSN’s public protection mandate.
Mr. Ahlfors’s volunteer contributions are significant to ensure the LSN can regulate lawyers in the public interest. He continues to be an invaluable leader and a dedicated volunteer.
Mr. Ahlfors has chosen the Uquutaq Society (Iqaluit Men’s Shelter) for a donation made on his behalf, by the LSN, in recognition of the dedication and commitment made by the management, staff and other volunteers to ensure the Uquutaq Society can continue to welcome and support the residents of the shelter.
The LSN is honored to have Thomas Ahlfors as a Member of the Nunavut Bar.
Thank you for making a difference.
Kimberley Gilson is the 2017 recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for her commitment and dedication to the Law Society of Nunavut (LSN).
Ms. Gilson was admitted to the LSN in 1999, is a member of the Law Society of Manitoba (1989), and a former member of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories (1997-99).
Ms. Gilson is very much involved in her own community back home in Winnipeg. She is a Past Chair of the Aboriginal Law Section of the Manitoba Bar Association and of the Canada Pension Plan/Old Age Security Review Tribunal. Her volunteer work includes contributions to the Manitoba Real Property Liaison Committee and has been involved in several committees of the LSN over the years.
Most notably, Ms. Gilson has played a key leadership role in her capacity as the volunteer Chairperson for the LSN’s Discipline Committee for over 4 years. Prior to this, she was a Vice- Chair of the Discipline Committee. Taking on the role and responsibility to ensure the public interest is protected, while looking into matters that relate to a member’s conduct requires due diligence, sound judgement, and utmost professionalism, all of which Ms. Gilson has continuously demonstrated her commitment to over these years. In addition, she has been tremendously generous with her time.
Her knowledge and understanding of the law will no doubt make an important contribution as the Law Society takes steps to review its discipline process. We are thankful for her continued commitment as the Law Society embarks on this important initiative. Overall,
Ms. Gilson’s leadership has made an invaluable difference for our Law Society, its membership and members of the public. On behalf of the Law Society Executive and its members, we are honored to have Kimberley Gilson as a member of the Nunavut Bar. We are pleased to award her with the Neil Sharkey 2017 Volunteer Award for having demonstrated outstanding dedication and engagement and we thank her for her ongoing commitment.
Shelley L. Miller
The Law Society of Nunavut Executive Members are pleased to announce the 2016 Recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award Shelley L. Miller, Q.C..
Shelley L. Miller, Q.C. is the 2016 recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for her unequivocal commitment, engagement and ongoing contributions to the Law Society of Nunavut (LSN). The announcement was originally made at the LSN’s 2016-17 AGM that took place on May 27, 2017 in Iqaluit.
Ms. Miller was admitted to the LSN in 1999 and is also a member of the Law Societies of Alberta (1978) and Northwest Territories (1986).
Ms. Miller is very much involved in her own community back home in Edmonton. In particular, as a Senator at the University of Alberta where in early 2015, at a Senate Plenary, she queried the involvement of the University’s Senate in promoting student mental health. As a result, and through collaboration with the Dean of Students during which time Ms. Miller was appointed co- chair of the Senate Student Mental Health working group, a Student Mental Health Endowment Fund was created. By the end of 2016, the Endowment Fund stood at $250,000. That working group has now developed into a Senate Committee and its work has been identified as one of the main goals of the newly adopted Senate Strategic Plan. Ms. Miller currently serves as Co-Chair of the Senate Student Mental Health Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Senate.
It comes as no surprise that Ms. Miller has played a key leadership role in her capacity as the volunteer Chairperson for the LSN’s Ethics and Unauthorized Practice Committee since 2013. Ms. Miller not only brought her expertise and knowledge of the law in her role as Chairperson but she has been tremendously generous of her time for the various working groups and as the LSN’s representative on the Federation of Law Societies of Canada’s Model Code Liaison Committee for a number of years. She’s provided guidance and sound judgment to determine the appropriate steps and approach to deal with matters that relate to a member’s conduct and matters of alleged unauthorized practice. As Chair of the many working groups, she continues to bring a leadership that is respectful of diverse opinions to facilitate fruitful debate and discussions in order to reach consensus that considers the unique context of the practice of law in Nunavut.
Overall, Ms. Miller’s ongoing commitment and guidance has made a significant difference for our law society, its membership and members of the public.
On behalf of the Law Society Executive and its members, we are honored to have Ms. Miller as a member of the Nunavut Bar. We are pleased to award her with the Neil Sharkey 2016 Volunteer Award for having demonstrated outstanding dedication, innovation and ongoing involvement with the law society. We thank her for her continued commitment.
The Law Society of Nunavut Executive Members are pleased to announce the 2015 Recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award Mr. James Morton.
Mr. James Morton is awarded the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for his unequivocal commitment, engagement and contributions to the law society, its membership and members of the public.
Mr. Morton was admitted to the Nunavut Bar in 2011. From very early on, Mr. Morton played a key role in helping members of the public across the territory receive legal information and guidance, and on many occasions he acted on short notice. He continues to provide, on a pro bono basis, legal information in various manners including his Legal Ease column and blog, and Facebook page all of which as one law society member describes: “James writes offerings on a very practical and understandable level (...) his work is bringing knowledge of the law to the general public that is relevant to Nunavut”.
Mr. Morton is not only generous in terms of donating his time and assistance to the Law Society, he is, as described by one law society member: “James has always been available to lend an ear and offer support for files (...) demonstrating his commitment to service to the individual members of the Society as well”.
Mr. Morton has made a notable difference in the advancement of the law society’s initiatives and through his involvement in the Professional Development and Access to Justice Standing Committees. He’s was instrumental in launching and delivering the CPLED Online Bar Admission Course spending a substantial number of hours providing feedback on the articling students’ assignments. He delivered a number of professional development events to the law society membership and most recently, as Co-Chair of the Access to Justice Committee and as one Committee member confirms“ (...) much of the product of the Committee has been through his efforts. He is cheerful and diligent in offering to advance projects, and reliable in delivery”.
It comes as no surprise to learn that Mr. Morton regularly spends time with students when travelling in the communities and he offers to provide legal information over the radio whether it maybe through the CBC or through the local community radio. Mr. Morton’s articles have been published in both national and provincial/territorial newspapers, but you will also find him speaking to Elders at the Qammaq in Iqaluit and reviewing public legal education materials related to Elders’ rights as part of the law society’s Access to Knowledge Initiative.
Overall, Mr. Morton’s contributions, his support for new initiatives and guidance has made a significant difference for the law society, its membership and members of the public.
On behalf of the Law Society Executive and its members, we are honored to have Mr. Morton as a member of the Nunavut Bar. We are pleased to award him with the Neil Sharkey 2015 Volunteer Award for having demonstrated outstanding dedication, innovation and ongoing involvement with the law society.
The Law Society of Nunavut Executive Members are pleased to announce the 2014 Recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award Ms. Margaret Hollis.
Ms. Margaret Hollis is awarded the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for her long-standing dedication, many contributions and support to various initiatives and projects. Ms. Hollis was admitted to the Nunavut Bar in 2003 and has provided a wealth of knowledge expertise to the Territory. She has made a notable difference by her direct involvement with the Nunavut Lawyer’s Assistance Program; all resident lawyers, students-at-law, judges and their families can now access free and confidential counseling and other support. Ms. Hollis continues to be a valued mentor to both lawyers and students-at-law.
Ms. Hollis has made numerous contributions to the Law Society’s Committees. She sat on the Membership and Admissions Committee including as Chairperson, and on the Executive Committee; her support and dedication to Law Society initiatives, such as the partnership with the Manitoba CPLED Bar Admission Course, has given students-at-law the opportunity to complete all admission requirements in Nunavut. In addition, Ms. Hollis has invested much time and effort in the Canadian Lawyers Insurance Association’s governance review by participating in the work of the Expense Committee.
Overall, her long-term support and guidance has made a significant difference at various levels. As Ms. Hollis embarks on a new chapter, she will be missed not only on a professional level but on a personal level as well.
On behalf of the Law Society Executive and its members, we are honored to have Ms. Hollis as a member of the Nunavut Bar. We are pleased to award her with the Neil Sharkey 2014 Volunteer Award for her long-term service and invaluable and numerous contributions.
The Law Society of Nunavut Executive Members are pleased to announce the 2013 Recipient of the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award Ms. Sandra Omik.
Ms. Sandra Omik is awarded the Neil Sharkey Volunteer Award for her long-standing dedication to the Nunavut Law Foundation. Ms. Omik served two terms, including an extended term to facilitate a smooth transition until a new Director was appointed, demonstrating her strong commitment and active role in the Foundation.
Ms. Omik was instrumental in initiating as well as undertaking extensive research to create terms of reference for the Foundation’s grant and award policies, which are the basis of the Foundation’s mandate. All the hard work Ms. Omik undertook will soon materialize as the Foundation’s new revised terms will be available over the summer. Moreover, Ms. Omik has been the voice of reason and fairness in all of the decision making process. Overall, Ms. Omik’s long-term support and guidance has brought the Foundation to a better place. Her presence on the Foundation’s Board will be missed not only on a professional level but on a personal level as well.
On behalf of the Law Society Executive and its members, we are honored to have Ms. Omik as a member of the Nunavut Bar. We are pleased to award her with the Neil Sharkey 2013 Volunteer Award for her long-term service and invaluable contributions to the Nunavut Law Foundation.
2008 – Calvin J. Clark
2006 – Neil A. Sharkey, Q.C.
2005 – Susan L. Hardy