Legal Counsel, Federal Department of Justice, Ottawa, ON. Born: Zambia.
Florence is legal counsel with the Department of Justice, Canada. She is a member of the Bar in Ontario, a solicitor of the Court of Appeal of Ontario, and the Superior Court of Justice, and an accomplished public civil servant with 20 years of Federal and Provincial government experience. Specializing in two disciplines of law, human rights law and Aboriginal Law, she currently adjudicates, negotiates and determines appropriate awards for compensation settlements relating to Aboriginal Children’s issues.
Florence was recognized with a Government of Canada merit award for distinguished contribution to the Privy Council Office for supporting and providing advice to the office of the Prime Minister of Canada on issues related to the Prime Minister’s prerogative for appointments to public office, such as successive Deputy Minister shuffles, diplomatic corps and appointments of CEOs to Boards and Agencies. She served in this capacity from 2005-2007.
Background: Was a Policy Advisor with Health Canada before joining the Department of Legal Services Unit as legal counsel for First Nations and Inuit health, and advised on constitutional, charter, health information, self-government and transfer issues; served as a Special Advisor to an Ontario provincial government cabinet minister and Attorney General with responsibilities for judicial appointments and Order-in-Council appointments of members to agencies, boards and commissions (1990-97); served in the Ministry of Labour and Ministry of Citizenship as a Policy Advisor involved with the policy formulation of labour and human rights policy relating to the Pay Equity Act, Employment Standards Act and Employment Equity. She is proud of the increase in diversity (e.g. women, Aboriginal persons, visible minority and people with disabilities) in judicial appointments, from 3% in 1990 to 48% in 1994. She is a former Provincial Prosecutor, and represented the Ministry of Labour before the Ontario Board of Adjudication Tribunal in administrative hearings of Employment Standards Act violations.
Other: Co-founder of a peer support group to foster greater diversity in the workplace at the Department of Justice; is involved with non-profit organization, Women’s Place/Place aux femmes, promoting inclusiveness and women’s economic independence; Co-founder, African Diaspora Association Canada. Before moving to Canada, Florence practised law as Parliamentary Counsel to the Zambian Parliament (1980-1989). In 2001, she was on the team advising the Canadian Government delegation in negotiations at the United Nations World Conference Against Racism.
Works: World Conference Against Racism and the Human Rights Issues inter pares (Justice Canada).
Education: National Accreditation (1994); Certificate Legislative Drafting, University of Ottawa (1986); Certificate Parliamentary Practice & Procedure, London, UK (1983); LLB, University of Zambia (1980).
Honours: Featured in the first issue of the Canada Public Service Agency magazine, it’s my day 2009; inclusion in Who’s Who in Black Canada 2 (2006).
Favourite book? President Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope which phrase comes from his 2004 Democratic Convention keynote address. This address, in part, made him the party’s young symbol of hope, and inspired people of all walks of life, including myself. This was later demonstrated by his presidency.
Favourite quote? “If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” – Maya Angelou
Given the chance, what would you love to do that you haven’t done yet? In spite of my voyages to more than 50 countries, I have yet to visit Egypt.
Who or what inspires you? Maya Angelou inspires me. She is phenomenally awesome. She lifts my mind, soul and body.
Why do you do what you do? I do what I do because I have a simplisctic view of the world. Helping others is like helping yourself.