Faculty of Law

Faculty of Law
Faculty of Law

Alberta judge wins H.R.S. Ryan Award

Dean Flanagan presents H.R.S. Ryan Alumni award to Justice Jo'Anna Strekaf

Dean Bill Flanagan presents the H.R.S. Ryan Alumni Award to Justice Jo’Anne Strekaf, Law ’80, at the Grant Hall Society Reception held at the Fairmont Palliser in Calgary.

Jo’Anne Strekaf, Law ’80, Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, was presented with the 2013 H.R.S. Ryan Alumni Award at a recent gathering for Calgary area Grant Hall Society members. “We’re pleased to honour her significant contributions to the Law Faculty, the legal profession, and the broader community,” Dean Bill Flanagan told attendees.

“It was a complete surprise, and a real honour, to be recognized by my law school,” says Justice Strekaf. She was appointed a judge in 2007 after a distinguished 27-year career at Bennett Jones LLP in Calgary, where she was a partner in the Litigation Department, a member of the firm's Competition Law Practice and Research Practice Groups, and had been recognized annually by LEXPERT/American Lawyer Guide to the Leading 500 Lawyers in Canada as a top competition/antitrust lawyer.

Concurrently, she also served the Canadian Bar Association—chairing its National Competition Law Section, among other activities—and her alma mater as a Dean’s Council member (2006-09).

The community also knows Justice Strekaf as a driving force behind a school for children with autism. “When my oldest daughter, Mary, was diagnosed with autism in 1996, there were no appropriate school programs in the city,” she says. So she joined four other Calgary families to open the Janus Academy Society and served as its president for eight years (1996-2004). When Mary graduated, Justice Strekaf spearheaded the Community Based Day Program for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a collaboration of the Janus Academy Society, The Ability Hub and Alberta PDD. This two-year pilot project kicked off last September.

The new Ryan winner says Queen’s influenced both her law career and her community work. “I was quite involved with Legal Aid and with the Correctional Law Project,” she recalls. “Both were great student experiences that helped me learn the value of providing legal services and that as a volunteer you always end up getting more than you give.”

To celebrate Justice Strekaf’s award, legal community friends set up an education equity fund in her name at Queen’s Law. Its income will support a program whereby upper-year law students are hired to tutor first-years. For more information and to make a donation, visit https://www.givetoqueens.ca/strekaf

See more photos of the Grant Hall Society event in Calgary.