John W. Conroy Q.C. Receives the 2015 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award


For Immediate Release 

Vancouver, February 03, 2016 – Today, Mr. Howard Sapers, Correctional Investigator of Canada, presented Mr. John Conroy Q.C. with the 2015 Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award. 

“In a career spanning more than four decades, Mr. Conroy has literally written the book on Canadian prison law,” stated Mr. Sapers. “In a series of legal challenges and test cases, Mr. Conroy has impressed upon the highest courts of the land that constitutional rights to liberty, security and citizenship do not end at the prison gate. His belief that the duty to act fairly extends without prejudice to the treatment of prisoners helped establish a number of precedents in the administration of federal correctional law. Disciplinary hearings, inmate searches, prison visits, sentence calculation, voting rights of federal inmates, the rights of federally sentenced women offenders and, more recently, numerous cases involving the international transfer of prisoners, have all benefited from Mr. Conroy’s advocacy. I am pleased to present this award in recognition of a lifetime of remarkable achievement and contribution to correctional law and prison reform in Canada.”

Mr. Conroy was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1972.  He is a founding and/or active member of several national and international professional associations, such as the Canadian Prison Lawyers Association, the West Coast Prison Justice Association (BC Prisoner’s Legal Services) and is on the board of the International Society for the Reform of the Criminal Law.  He is a member of the Canadian Bar Association National Criminal Justice Section Committee on Imprisonment and Release, which he chaired for many years.  In 2014, Mr. Conroy was presented with the Excellence in Legal Advocacy - Individual Award by the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

Mr. Conroy has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, the Federal Court of Canada Trial and Appellate courts and British Columbia courts at all levels, as well as before a number of Royal Commissions, Parliamentary Committees and other inquiries in the areas of criminal law, constitutional law and administrative law.  Notable prison law cases include: Martineau v. Matsqui Institution (1980), Cardinal and Oswald v. The Queen (1986), Horii v. Correctional Service of Canada et. al. (1991), Mooring v. National Parole Board (1996), Sauvé v. Canada (2002) and Whaling v. Canada (2012).  Appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1996 for exceptional merit and contribution to the legal profession, Mr. Conroy continues to actively advocate for reform of Canada’s drug laws, including treating addiction as a health rather than criminal justice issue.

The Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award was established in honour of Mr. Ed McIsaac, who served as Executive Director of the Office of the Correctional Investigator for 18 years.  Each recipient of the award receives a reproduction of a sculpture by Ms. Audrey Greyeyes, a Cree artist from Muskeg Lake Cree Nation, entitled Medicine Man .It symbolizes wisdom, clarity of thought, and leadership, traits reflecting Mr. McIsaac’s character and career.

Presented annually since 2009, there are six other recipients of the award: Michael Jackson, Mary Campbell, Kim Pate, Jean-Claude Bernheim, Graham Stewart and Elizabeth Parkinson.

Details on nomination procedures for the Ed McIsaac Human Rights in Corrections Award are available on the Office’s website at .


For more information contact:  
Ivan Zinger, J.D., Ph.D.  
Executive Director and General Counsel  
Office of the Correctional Investigator  
Tel: (613) 990-2690 


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