Calgary

Retired judge to head Alberta queue-jumping health inquiry

A retired judge from the Northwest Territories has been named the head of a public health inquiry in Alberta.

A retired judge from the Northwest Territories has been named the head of a public health inquiry in Alberta.

The Health Quality Council of Alberta says 62-year-old Justice John Vertes will hear allegations that some patients have been allowed to jump the line for treatments and surgeries.

If he finds evidence to support the allegations regarding unfair treatment in Alberta's health care system, the inquiry will have power to make recommendations to prevent improper access in the future.

"We are very pleased that Justice Vertes will be heading up this inquiry," said Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, HQCA chairman of the board of directors.

"He is widely acknowledged as a leading jurist and known for the wisdom and sound guidance he brings to bear on issues of public interest such as aboriginal justice, judicial codes of conduct and legal education."

Vertes retired last year as the senior judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories. He was appointed as a justice in 1991 after 14 years of practice in Yellowknife.

Vertes is out of the country and not available for comment.

Resume of Justice John Z. Vertes

  • Born January 16, 1950, in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Bachelor of Laws, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University (1975).
  • Admitted to the bars of Ontario and the Northwest Territories (1977).
  • Practiced law in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories from 1977 to 1991, primarily in criminal and civil litigation.
  • Appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988.
  • Appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories on September 13, 1991.
  • Also appointed in 1991 as a justice of the Court of Appeal of the Northwest Territories and the Yukon Court of Appeal as well as a judge of the Supreme Court of the Yukon Territory.
  • Appointed a justice of the Nunavut Court of Justice and the Nunavut Court of Appeal in 1999.
  • Retired as the senior judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories on July 1, 2011.
  • Member, Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice, International Commission of Jurists, Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association, and the Canadian Bar Association.

Previously held positions

  • President of the Law Society of the Northwest Territories (1984-85).
  • Member, National Executive Committee of the Canadian Bar Association (1982-84).
  • Board member of the Canadian Bar Insurance Association (1988-91).
  • Board member of the Yellowknife Big Brothers Association (1978-88).
  • Member, governing council of the N.W.T. Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists (1980-86).
  • Representative of the Canadian Bar Association with observer status at the First Ministers' Conferences on Aboriginal Rights (1983 and 1984).
  • Chairman of the N.W.T. Legal Services Board (governing the provision of legal aid services) from 1987-91.
  • President of the Yellowknife Chamber of Commerce (1990-1991).
  • Member, Board of Directors, Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (2002-2004).
  • President of the Canadian Superior Courts Judges Association (2006-2007).
  • "Judge-in-Residence" and holder of the Milvain Visiting Chair in Advocacy at the University of Calgary Law School (September, 2006, to April, 2007).
  • President of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (2009-2011).
  • Member of the Governing Council of the Commonwealth Magistrates and Judges Association (2006-2012).
  • Faculty member of numerous continuing education programs for the National Judicial Institute, the Canadian Bar Association, the Alberta Queen's Bench Judges Education Seminar, the Law Society of the Northwest Territories, and the Federation of Law Societies of Canada National Criminal Law Program.

With files from CBC News