The Honorable Edward (Ted) Hughes is a retired judge with a reputation for being a wise and fair arbiter. He is best known for overseeing prominent investigations and inquiries in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.
He practised law for 10 years before his appointment as a district court judge and subsequent promotion to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench and appointment as Queen’s Counsel. He later stepped down from the bench to take up the role of legal specialist to B.C.’s attorney-general and was appointed deputy attorney general in 1983.
Ted was B.C.’s first conflict of interest commissioner, serving from 1990 to 1997. He served as chief adjudicator for an alternative dispute resolution process involving survivors of abuse in Canada’s residential school system from 2003 to 2008.
In addition to that work, he led numerous investigations and commissions of inquiry. Notably, in 2005-06, following the violent death of a child in foster care, the B.C. government asked him to examine the province’s method of reviewing child deaths. He reported significant challenges in the child welfare system and made a number of recommendations for change, including that the government pay greater attention to the needs of the aboriginal community and that the government create an independent body to oversee child welfare services. The Office of the Representative for Children and Youth was established after the release of his report.
At present he is serving as commissioner of a public inquiry in Manitoba, looking at the functioning of the child welfare system in that province.
His devotion to public service also includes leadership roles in health care. He has acted as chair for the Saskatoon City Hospital board of governors, the Saskatchewan Cancer Foundation, Juan de Fuca Hospitals in Victoria and the Vancouver Island CNIB capital fundraising drive. He has served terms as president of the Saskatchewan Health Care Association and the Canadian Hospital Association. He also actively advocates for the Victoria homeless, acting in 2008 and 2009 with the mayor of Victoria as co-chair of the Greater Victoria Coalition to End Homelessness.
He holds honorary degrees from the University of Saskatchewan and the University of Victoria. Royal Roads awarded Ted and his wife Helen Hughes with the 2009 Chancellor’s Community Recognition Award. He has also been honoured with the Victoria Foundation’s Generosity of Spirit Award, Leadership Victoria’s Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2012 Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal. In 2003, he was named as an officer of the Order of Canada.