John Tait Award of Excellence

The John Tait Award of Excellence was established in 1998 to honour, recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of Public Sector Lawyers in Canada. Originally named the Inukshuk Award of Excellence, it was renamed in August 1999 to honour an outstanding lawyer, public servant and friend who passed away in the summer of 1999.

The Award will be presented to a public sector lawyer or law office that has achieved the highest standards of professional conduct and competence and made significant contributions to social justice or community affairs, and that exemplifies preeminent public service.


  • Nominees may be current or former public sector lawyers (e.g., lawyers working for crown corporations, legal aid offices, or legal services of boards, commissions or agencies).
  • Nominees may be lawyers employed in organizations fully funded by any level of government.
  • Nominees will exhibit one or more of (a) high standards of professional conduct and competence, (b) excellence and leadership, (c) commitment and service to the public, or (d) achievements in social justice or community affairs, and/or exemplary performance in public sector legal service.
  • Nominees need not be a CBA member.
  • Members of the current PSL Executive and PSL Awards Committee are not eligible for this award.
  • There are no posthumous awards.

Nomination Procedure

  • Nominations shall take the form of a letter stating the reasons for the nomination, including a description of the exemplary performance and/or service, the time frame involved and the impact.
  • The letter shall contain full name, address, telephone and e-mail address, as well as the number of years in practice of the nominee and the nominator.
  • Each nomination shall include three reference letters (including name, title and phone number) from people familiar with the nominee's performance. The references need not be from CBA members. However, the nominator must be a CBA member.
  • The nominee's written consent and curriculum vitae shall be included with the nomination.
  • Completed nominations must be submitted online and include all the above-noted documents.

Deadline for Applications: Thursday, November 30, 2023

Apply online

Selection Process

The award is administered by the PSL Awards Committee. All nominees will be notified. The Committee may decide not to offer an award in any one year.


The award is a statue of Inukshuk, a stone formation traditionally built by the Inuit used as a direction finder and regarded as a symbol of showing the way.

Recent Winners

  • 2022 — John B.D. Logan, K.C. (Saint John, NB)
  • 2021 — Dean I. Scaletta (Winnipeg, MB) 
  • 2020 — John Mark Keyes (Ottawa, ON)
  • 2019 — Donna Miller (Winnipeg, MB)
  • 2016 — Mark Aitken (Yellowknife, NT)
  • 2015 — Christian Whalen (Fredericton, NB)