Bob Rae is a Senior Partner at Olthuis Kleer Townshend LLP. He works with First Nations across Canada as legal counsel, advisor, negotiator and arbitrator.
Bob brings decades of experience as a lawyer and public leader at the highest levels of government. He also has a strong background in negotiations, strategic planning and community and economic development. Bob's legal practice focuses on First Nations, Aboriginal and Governance issues.
Bob acts as Advisor to the Matawa Chiefs Tribal Council respecting the potential development of the area in northwestern Ontario known as The Ring of Fire. He is also Chairman of the First Nations Limited Partnership (FNLP) in British Columbia, in addition to providing legal and strategic advice.
Bob was elected eleven times to the House of Commons and the Ontario Legislature between 1978 and 2013. He served as Ontario's 21st Premier from 1990 to 1995 and Interim Federal Leader and foreign affairs critic for the Liberal Party of Canada from 2011-2013, a time of significant restructuring. In 2011, he was chosen by his colleagues as Parliamentarian of the Year.
Bob resigned from Parliament in 2013 to return to legal practice, and in particular, to use his legal, political and strategic skills to assist First Nations communities.
Throughout his career, Bob has been strongly committed to advancing Aboriginal rights and the critically important goal of reconciliation between Aboriginal people and all Canadians. Bob participated in the negotiations which resulted in the inclusion of Aboriginal rights in Section 35 of Canada's Constitution in 1982, and also represented Ontario in the negotiations for the Charlottetown Accord. While Premier of Ontario, he developed the Statement of Relationship which set the framework for a new political relationship based on mutual respect and consultation between First Nations and the province. He also served as a mediator during the Burnt Church fishing dispute in New Brunswick.
Bob graduated as a Rhodes Scholar from Oxford University in 1971 and University of Toronto Law School in 1979. He was named Queen's Council in 1984. He has received numerous honorary degrees and awards from universities, colleges and a wide assortment of organizations across Canada and abroad for his public service. He was appointed to the Privy Council of Canada in 1998, named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2000 and received the Order of Ontario in 2004.
In addition to his legal practice, Bob teaches at the University of Toronto as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the School of Public Policy and Governance. He is a Senior Advisor with the Castlemain Group, which provides industry-leading advisory services to First Nations focused on management, finance, technology solutions and strategic communications.
Bob is past President and founding Chairman of the Forum of Federations (where he remains a Fellow) and served as Chairman of the Institute of Research on Public Policy. Bob has served and continues to serve on the Boards of a number of public companies, arts and sports organizations and charities. He was Chancellor of Wilfrid Laurier University from 2002 to 2007.