Esteemed lawyers receive Order of British Columbia

  • August 03, 2021

From the Province of British Columbia

Sixteen exceptional people will be appointed to the Order of British Columbia, the Province’s highest form of recognition, Lt. Gov. Janet Austin, chancellor of the order, has announced.

“As representative of the Crown in British Columbia and as Chancellor of the Order of British Columbia, I am delighted to welcome 16 new members to the order,” Austin said. “Their extraordinary leadership has been a source of strength for communities across the province. In difficult times, they have connected us through art, culture, public service and more. As we move with optimism toward the future, their achievements will be a foundation of success for future generations. It is with great honour I share congratulations to these remarkable individuals.”

This year, 257 British Columbians were nominated. Since its inception, 475 British Columbians have been appointed to the Order of B.C. Members have been appointed from all regions of the province and in numbers generally proportionate to a region’s population.

“Each one of this year’s Order of British Columbia recipients has made tremendous contributions to their communities,” said Premier John Horgan. “I want to extend my congratulations and honour them for their leadership and dedication as community leaders. Trailblazers in medicine, that carried us through an incredibly difficult pandemic with expertise, grace and of course, kindness. Inspiring philanthropists, determined protectors of the environment and powerful Indigenous leaders. We are all truly grateful for your leadership.”

This year’s recipients are:

  • Chief Joe Alphonse of Tsilhqot’in Nation
  • Joe Average, MGC, of Vancouver
  • Brenda Baptiste of Osoyoos
  • Frances Belzberg, OC, of Vancouver
  • Dr. Debra Braithwaite of Victoria
  • Ajay Dilawri of Vancouver
  • Debra Doucette (Hewson) of the District of North Vancouver
  • Dr. Bonnie J. Fraser Henry of Victoria
  • Carol A. Lee of Vancouver
  • James McEwen, OC, of Vancouver
  • Andrew Petter, CM, QC, of Victoria | Bio
  • Dolph Schluter of Vancouver
  • Dr. Poul Sorensen of Vancouver
  • Arran and Ratana Stephens of Vancouver
  • Marvin Storrow, QC, of Vancouver | Bio

Over the years, the B.C. government has worked to increase awareness of the Province’s highest honour to ensure that outstanding people from all walks of life and from all parts of the province have an opportunity to be honoured. The Province has received more than 6,200 public nominations for the Order of B.C. over the past 32 years.

Recipients of the Order of B.C. are selected by an independent advisory council. The 2021 advisory council consisted of:

  • Robert J. Bauman (chair), Chief Justice of British Columbia;
  • Raj Chouhan, Speaker of the Legislative Assembly;
  • Philip Steenkamp, PhD, president and vice-chancellor, Royal Roads University;
  • Silas Brownsey, deputy minister, Intergovernmental Relations Secretariat;
  • Brian Frenkel, president, Union of British Columbia Municipalities;
  • Shirley Chan, OBC 2020; and
  • Ruth Williams, OBC 2020.

The Order of B.C. investiture ceremony for 2020 and 2021 recipients and invited guests is tentatively scheduled to be held at Government House in Victoria in December 2021.

Biographies of Recipients

Professor Andrew Petter, CM, QC (Victoria) |

Andrew Petter has always viewed the future not as a gift but as an opportunity. Over a lifetime of service to the province, his visionary leadership has had a transformative impact on B.C. in public policy, legal education, university engagement and community betterment.

As a provincial cabinet minister, Petter led efforts to end legal discrimination against same-sex couples, establish the BC Treaty Commission, develop a mandate for the Nisga’a treaty negotiations, and create B.C.’s first Forest Practices Code. These initiatives enhanced human rights, advanced reconciliation, and positioned B.C. as a leader in environmental protection.

As dean of law at the University of Victoria, Petter established UVIC Law as a trailblazer in Indigenous legal education with enriched programming and ground-breaking initiatives like the Akitsiraq Law School that extended the reach of legal education to Indigenous peoples in the high Arctic.

As president and vice-chancellor of Simon Fraser University, Petter oversaw the development and implementation of a strategic vision that established SFU as Canada’s “engaged university.” Under his leadership, SFU expanded co-operative education and community-based learning, developed an innovative strategy to support sustainable growth and social infrastructure, and became a catalyst for community dialogue and development. In addition to being named Canada’s top comprehensive university by Maclean’s Magazine for nine of his 10 years, in 2020 SFU was ranked first in the world by Times Higher Education for its impact on sustainable cities and communities.

Finally, as MLA and minister responsible for the Provincial Capital Commission, Petter made enormous contributions to enhancing the quality of life of the Capital Region. Everyone who uses the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails, visits the restored St. Ann’s Academy, hikes Gowlland-Tod Provincial Park, or draws water from the enlarged Sooke Water Supply Area owes Petter a huge debt of gratitude for his vision and tenacity in seeing these and other community projects to completion.

In everything he has done, Andrew has been guided by an abiding faith in the power of public institutions to achieve transformative change. His contribution to B.C.’s economic and civic life has been recognized nationally and locally. His many honours range from Public Policy Forum’s Peter Lougheed Award for exceptional leadership in public policy to honorary citizenship in the 11 City of Victoria. In 2019, he was inducted into the Order of Canada in recognition of his contributions to public policy and his leadership in advancing university-community engagement and higher education throughout the country.

Marvin Storrow, QC (Vancouver) |

Apart from his extraordinary achievements at the Supreme Court of Canada, Marvin Storrow is a senior litigation partner practicing a diverse realm of law. An ardent author and speaker, he contributes greatly to the knowledge of a wide range of legal matters and concerns.

He served or serves 23 professional associations provincially, nationally and internationally. A lifetime supporter of Legal Aid, early in Storrow's career a chairman of the Legal Aid Society said he completed one out of every seven legal aid cases in B.C.

A community leader, Storrow continues to volunteer and offer services pro bono. He and his family support educational endowments for First Nations people and other learners at several post-secondary institutions.

His 15 awards include: the Milvain Award to a leading Canadian barrister; Goyer Award for exceptional contributions to law in B.C.; four lifetime achievement awards; and five honorary degrees.

Storrow's milestone cases and judgments remain highly studied and quoted foundational references for constitutional protection to Aboriginal rights. Sparrow (1990) was the first case to consider the scope of protection accorded to Aboriginal rights under the Constitution Act, 1982. Guerin (1984) influenced both Aboriginal and fiduciary law. The late chief justice Lance Finch of the B.C. Court of Appeal said, “It is difficult more than 20 years after the event to comprehend the ability, tenacity, courage and conviction necessary to take this case from an initial, casual conversation with Chief Delbert Guerin, all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada and ultimate success. Marvin has all those qualities and more. It is of such lawyers, that our legal history is made.”

Delgamuukw (1997) was the first Supreme Court of Canada case to confirm the nature and scope of Aboriginal title rights in Canada. Thomas Woods, one of the 40 panellists wrote that Storrow's successes in this area “fundamentally altered the legal and political landscape in 15 Canada.”

Anna Fung, a past president of the Law Society of BC believes Storrow's accomplishments contributed to a wider push to recognize Indigenous rights and title across Canada. “It would be fair to say that the work of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was made possible at least in part due to the ground-breaking achievement that Storrow accomplished in gaining legal acceptance of Aboriginal rights and title in Canada over the past several decades.”