The Honourable Colin McKinnon, Q.C. was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1996. Prior to his almost 23 years of service as a trial judge, Mr. McKinnon practiced law as a trial lawyer and was certified as a Specialist in both Civil Litigation and Criminal Law, one of approximately 40 lawyers in Ontario to hold both certificates. He appeared at every level of court and numerous administrative tribunals. Mr. McKinnon served as an Assistant Crown Attorney before becoming a defence counsel. He conducted civil litigation for both plaintiffs and insurance defendants, and appeared on numerous occasions before the Ontario and Canada Labour Boards. Mr. McKinnon was considered a specialist in Police Law, representing numerous Police Service Boards in Ontario. For two years he served as Commission Counsel in an inquiry into RCMP activities (the “Cogger Inquiry”).
Since his appointment to the court in 1996 up until his retirement in late 2018 Mr. McKinnon was one of a small handful of designated judges in the City of Ottawa authorized to approve Infant Settlements. In that capacity he dealt with hundreds of cases involving serious personal injury, including medical malpractice cases, with the responsibility of determining whether the proposed settlements were in the best interests of the affected minors.
Mr. McKinnon served as President of the County of Carleton Law Association, Chair of the Presidents of the County and District Law Associations of Ontario, and a Bencher of the Law Society of Ontario. For eight years he was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Ottawa Law School, teaching Trial Advocacy, Professional Ethics and Evidence. He served as President of the Ontario Superior Court Judges Association. He was awarded the “Carleton Medal” for “great diligence, high ideals and outstanding leadership in the practice of law”.
Over his career, Mr. McKinnon has tried thousands of cases, and as a judge regularly sat on the Divisional Court of Appeal, hearing civil and administrative law appeals. He was also invited to sit on the Court of Appeal as an ‘ad hoc’ judge. Mr. McKinnon is renowned for his ability to grasp issues quickly, listen politely, treat counsel and witnesses with respect, focus on the big picture and render judgments in a timely manner. He is regarded as an expert in the law of evidence. Mr. McKinnon has presided over many high-profile criminal cases, including charges of homicide, terrorism and commercial fraud. He has proven to be extremely adept at settling cases. He has heard, settled and decided cases on a myriad of subjects, including commercial disputes, breach of contract, personal injury, medical malpractice, professional liability, construction, wrongful dismissal and insurance claims, interpretation of wills, boundary disputes, family law and estate litigation.
Colin is also the Founding Trustee and President of the Africa Reads Trust Charity —
an organization created to provide books, computers and access to learning for children in an impoverished part of the Easter Cape Region of South Africa.