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Bio (Kathleen M. Birney)

Board of Governors Member

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Kathleen M. Birney

Kathleen M. Birney

Chair and Chancellor

Lieutenant Governor in Council appointee

Kathleen M. Birney joined the Royal Roads University Board of Governors as a Lieutenant Governor in Council appointee in 2013 and has served as the chair of the Governance and Nominating Committee since April 2016. She was elected to the role of chancellor and board chair by the university’s Board of Governors effective June 13, 2017.

Called and admitted to the British Columbia bar in 1994, Birney is a senior litigation counsel at Cox Taylor in Victoria, where she regularly advises public interest groups and corporate and individual landowners on land use and development issues as well as environmental and regulatory concerns.

After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology from Simon Fraser University in 1982, Birney worked as a correctional officer at the Burnaby Youth Custody Service Centre as she continued her education in administrative management at the British Columbia Institute of Technology. Later, she worked as a legal secretary at a national law firm where she planned her career as a lawyer. She graduated from the University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Laws in 1992 and has practiced in Victoria since then.

With extensive experience representing clients in jury trials, appeals, administrative tribunals, mediations and judicial reviews of administrative decisions, Birney has appeared in all levels of courts in the Canadian justice system, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Birney’s professional practice has included a broad scope of legal matters from family law to human rights law and she has published on topics including environmental issues in property transactions, use of the Rules of Court and the legal risks of search and rescue. Her volunteer service to the legal profession has included roles as an elected member of the Canadian Bar Association Council and chair of the Family Law section, judging law student presentations, and authoring and presenting papers at continuing legal education conferences.

A long-time advocate for environmental conservation and physical fitness, Birney combines those passions as a dedicated volunteer. She is a past vice-president of the Vancouver Island Spine Trail Association, a not-for-profit society building a wilderness trail which will span the length of Vancouver Island. She is the president of the Prairie Inn Harriers, the largest running club in Canada, and serves as race director of the Harriers Pioneer 8K road race, an annual event which attracts more than 700 runners and which raises money for charitable purposes.