Alum Sheila Block, LLB ’72 and D.Univ. ’14, appointed to the Order of Canada

Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
Awards and Distinctions
Faculty of Law - Common Law Section
SBlock_Order of Canada
On December 29, 2022, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon, Governor General of Canada, announced 99 new appointments to the Order of Canada. Among the appointees was alum Sheila Block, who has been named a Member of the Order “for her trailblazing contributions to law in Canada and abroad, and for her wide-ranging advocacy.”

Block was an inaugural member of the Common Law Honour Society and in 2014 she received an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Ottawa.

After receiving an LLB with gold medal distinction from uOttawa in 1972, she established herself as one of Canada’s most successful and sought-after lawyers. She was one of the first female lawyers, and later first female partners, at her firm, Torys LLP. Over the years she has been integral to building the firm’s governance and culture.

Block is a senior trial and appellate counsel with a broad civil litigation practice, including corporate/commercial and securities litigation, intellectual property, defamation, and administrative law cases. She has spent her forty+ year career advocating for significant changes and advancements in Canadian law and has appeared as counsel at all levels of court in Canada and before international arbitrations and other tribunals. Her work has made a positive impact on access to justice and women in the Canadian legal community.  

Her career accomplishments have been recognized with numerous awards, including the Advocates’ Society Medal, the Law Society Medal, the OBA Award of Excellence in Civil Litigation, and the University of Ottawa Meritas Tabaret Award for Alumni Achievement, to name a few. She is also a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the International Society of Barristers.

Block has spoken and written extensively on advocacy and civil litigation. She has taught advocacy in Canada, the United States and internationally, as well as for the U.N. War Crimes Tribunal in Rwanda and the Special Court in Sierra Leone, and she has conducted advocacy programs in Switzerland, France, England, Brazil and India.  
In addition to a stellar career as a litigator, advocate and teacher, Block has also served on many volunteer boards, committees and societies, including serving as chair of Touching Tiny Lives Foundation; trustee and president of the Harold G. Fox Foundation; founder and trustee of the Foundation for International Arbitration Advocacy, Geneva; member of the advisory board of the Children’s Aid Foundation; member of the President’s Council of the University of Ottawa; and member of the advisory board of the University of Toronto’s Program on Ethics and the Law.

The Order of Canada is one of our country’s highest honours, recognizing extraordinary and sustained contributions to our nation.  To read more about this year’s appointments please visit the Governor General of Canada’s website.