René Dussault, O.C., O.Q., Ad. E.

For his outstanding contribution to law and the justice system in Québec and for his constant promotion of civil equality and the concept of sharing in Québec society, the Honourable René Dussault, professor, legal advisor, senior civil servant, judge, advocate and administrator, has been presented with the 2012 Prix de la Justice award by the Minister of Justice, Bertand St-Arnaud.

René Dussault graduated from Université Laval in law and obtained a doctorate from the London School of Economics and Political Science, before teaching law at the university level at the Faculty of Law at Université Laval and École nationale d’administration publique.

After acting as legal advisor to the Commission of Inquiry on Health and Social Welfare, Mtre. Dussault was asked to coordinate the drafting of the Professional Code. As a natural extension of this work he became, in 1973, the founding president of the Office des professions.

He began a passionate campaign to promote integrity in the professions and strengthen protection for the users of professional services, leaving his personal mark on the organization and regulation of the professions.

René Dussault was appointed Deputy Minister of Justice in 1977, and left a lasting memory, especially among government legal experts, for his efforts to guarantee the integrity of their work.

While a judge at the Court of Appeal, Mtre. Dussault played a prominent role on the Canadian stage during the 1990s when he co-chaired the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples. As part of the Commission’s sweeping mandate, he was able  to lift the barriers between cultures and to identify durable solutions, while promoting education and health for young Aboriginals.

The Royal Commission’s report, which he co-signed in 1996, contributed to a significant improvement in relations between the federal and provincial governments and Canada’s Aboriginal peoples.

René Dussault left an indelible mark and an enduring legacy at all the organizations for which he worked in the course of his career.

Mtre. Dussault has been involved in various areas of the law, and his actions and work have always been characterized by judicious choices, in-depth analysis and an innovative approach. As a result, his book, Administrative Law: A Treatise, the first and second editions of which he authored and co-authored respectively, has had a considerable influence and has become an authoritative reference in the field.

In a new departure, after publishing an incisive article in 2007 on the urgent need to act in connection with organ donations, Mtre. Dussault focused all his energy on this humanitarian cause. Since 2010, he has been the president of the board of directors of Transplant Québec, the organization mandated by the government to coordinate organ donations in Québec.

René Dussault will be remembered as an inspiring example of a jurist, public administrator and humanist who, with an unfailing commitment to the wellbeing of the community, devoted a career spanning fifty years to promoting the values of social equality and civil justice.

The Minister of Justice, Bertrand St-Arnaud, presenting the 2012 Prix de la justice medal to the Honourable René Dussault.

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