Chancellor's Community Recognition Award
Ted Hughes has chaired numerous commissions of inquiry and led prominent investigations, not only in British Columbia, but also in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Yukon. Most recently, he has made headlines adjudicating a conflict of interest situation in the Northwest Territories.
Born in Saskatoon, Mr. Hughes holds a law degree from the University of Saskatchewan. He married Helen in 1954, and practiced law for a number of years before becoming a judge in 1962. Mr. Hughes was promoted to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench in 1974, where he served until moving to B.C. in 1980 to become a legal advisor to the provincial attorney-general.
In 1983, after being appointed deputy attorney-general, Mr. Hughes chaired a series of public hearings into the government's cuts to legal aid. From 1987 to 1988, he chaired a justice reform committee that led to significant changes to the province’s judicial structure. In 1990, he was appointed B.C.’s first conflict-of-interest commissioner. In 1998, Hughes was appointed to take over an existing inquiry into whether Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers had acted appropriately against protesters at the 1997 Asia-Pacific Summit. He found that the RCMP had made errors in planning for the summit and recommended a series of reforms.
Mr. Hughes has served as a federal chief land claim negotiator in talks with First Nations groups on Vancouver Island. He was appointed federal chief adjudicator in 2003, relating to settlement of claims with respect to alleged harms and abuse arising out of attendance at Indian Residential Schools. In 2005, Mr. Hughes was appointed to review B.C.’s child protection system, and his resulting report in 2006 recommended the creation of an independent body to oversee provincial child welfare. He also advised the government to pay particular attention to the needs of aboriginal communities.
Mr. Hughes’ philanthropic endeavours include chairing Juan de Fuca Hospitals and the CNIB capital fundraising drive, as well as co-chairing the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness from February 2008 to June 2009.
Mr. Hughes, like his wife Helen, is an Officer of the Order of Canada, which he was awarded in 2002, and has an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Victoria. He also shares with her a Lifetime Achievement Award from Leadership Victoria and a Generosity of Spirit Award sponsored by the Victoria Foundation.