Government of Canada

Government of Canada

January 26, 2015 19:36 ET

Government House Leader Announces New House of Commons Law Clerk

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Jan. 26, 2015) - Today, the Government House Leader, the Honourable Peter Van Loan, announced that Philippe Dufresne has been appointed Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel of the House of Commons.

"Canada's House of Commons, as the elected national legislature of a leading developed democracy, is seen as a model to the world. Over the decades, brilliant, capable clerks have helped parliamentarians make it that way," said Mr. Van Loan. "As a democratic institution, our House of Commons is one of the most enduring around the globe."

The Law Clerk, one of the senior Table Officers in the House, is responsible for providing legal advice to Members of Parliament, House of Commons standing committees and the House Administration, including the Board of Internal Economy.

Mr. Dufresne will manage the Office of the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel which provides legislative assistance to Members of the House of Commons in drafting private Members' bills, motions and amendments.

"Since Confederation, the 13 previous Law Clerks have provided exemplary support to Members of Parliament. Mr. Dufresne's contributions will undoubtedly follow in their footsteps," Mr. Van Loan added.

The appointment of Mr. Dufresne is effective February 9, 2015.

Biographical details are in the attached backgrounder.


Philippe Dufresne

Philippe Dufresne has served, since April 2012, as Senior General Counsel and Director General of the Canadian Human Rights Commission's Protection Branch.

Mr. Dufresne served in a number of other, increasingly more senior, positions at the Commission since 2000, except for a period of time with the former Department of Foreign Affairs as a legal officer responsible for matters related to international criminal tribunals. Prior to that, he practised law in the private sector with the Montréal office of McCarthy Tétrault.

During his time as a student, Mr. Dufresne acquired his first parliamentary employment experience as a tour guide. Since becoming a lawyer, he has appeared before several courts and tribunals, including the Supreme Court of Canada on numerous occasions. He has acted as counsel in cases related to parliamentary privilege, including a leading, unanimous Supreme Court of Canada decision on this subject, Canada (House of Commons) v. Vaid.

Mr. Dufresne has two bachelor's degrees, in common law and civil law, from McGill University. During his career, he has found time to serve his profession and community in various capacities, including being the president of the constitutional and human rights law section of the Canadian Bar Association (Québec Branch), a member of the editorial board for the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association's CCCA Magazine, and as a director of Big Brothers and Big Sisters Ottawa.

A member of the Barreau du Québec, Mr. Dufresne has been a part-time professor in the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Common Law and Queen's University's Faculty of Law.

Contact Information

  • Darlene Stone
    Office of the Government House Leader
    (613) 995-7226