BC Law Institute Remembers Greg Steele Q.C.

31 January 2017

By Kathleen Cunningham

This week the British Columbia Law Institute family mourns the passing of one of its founding members, Greg Steele Q.C. The legal profession has lost a great champion for law reform. His kindness, generosity and humour will be missed.  As one of the founding members, Greg’s contribution to the formation and sustainment of BCLI was immense.  His contributions at the national level through the Uniform Law Conference of Canada were equally significant. On behalf of the entire BCLI family we wish to express our deepest gratitude to Greg for his contributions to law reform throughout his career and we send our condolences to his wife Susan and his family.

Although Greg is no longer with us, his legacy lives on.

Greg served as our Board Chair from 1997 to 2004 and held other executive roles in subsequent years.  He participated on the project committee “Legal Issues Affecting Seniors”, a project which led to the creation of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, a division of the BCLI.  The CCEL established the Gregory K. Steele, Q.C. Prize in 2005 which is awarded at the Canadian Elder Law conference for the best paper on an Elder Law Topic by a graduate or undergraduate student in law.

Greg was also active with the Federation of Law Reform Agencies of Canada, the organization that facilitates the ongoing relationships between the BCLI and other law reform agencies in Canada.

Greg’s contributions to law reform did not end with BCLI. In the early 1990s he was chair of the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch Committee on Legislation and Law Reform and became the first private bar representatives (Civil section) on the BC delegation to the Uniform Law Conference of Canada (ULCC) in over a decade.  He has served on the ULCC executive and continued to serve on the Advisory Committee on Program Development and Management.  He was invited to be a member of the Canadian delegation to the Hague Conference on Private International Law where he participated in the development of an international convention on judgment enforcement.

Throughout Greg’s engagement with law reform he was always conciliatory and persuasive.  As the tributes poured in over the weekend and on January 30th, his good humour, commitment and strength of character shine through as illustrated in just some of the messages we have received:

  • “He will be greatly missed as a friend and colleague and as a major contributor to law reform in BC and Canada.”
  • I hope that he knew, that on the night that he left us, we were recognizing and celebrating what he and the other founders created 20 years ago. He will be missed.”
  • “Greg’s contribution to every organization he worked with was enormous. I had the privilege of working with him for years on the CLE Board as well as BCLI.”
  • ”Greg was a great friend and leader for BCLI and of law reform generally.”
  • “BCLI has lost more than a founder and a great friend. Our circle has lost a great soul.”
  • “I share the sadness at Greg’s passing. He was one of those whose quiet dedication to reform keeps the law moving forward.”
  • “I had not met Greg until I joined the Board in 2008, but I recognized immediately Greg’s integrity, knowledge, effectiveness, kindness and professionalism.”
  • “We are collectively and many of us personally sad to hear about Greg Steele. We know all too well and recently what it is like to lose a great friend and supporter of law reform. He will be remembered fondly for his commitment to FOLRAC and ULCC.”