On August 31, 2019, Judge Tina Dion was the honoured recipient of the Law and Justice Award at the 24th annual Aboriginal Role Models of Alberta awards gala. The event is presented by the Enoch Cree Nation and held each year on their lands.
Because Judge Dion was nominated for the award before she was appointed a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia in May, 2019, the award was bestowed on her in her former capacity as Dr. Tina Dion, Q.C..
Judge Dion is of Cree descent, born and raised in Treaty 6 territory in Alberta, and a member of the Kehewin Cree Nation. She completed her undergraduate degree from the University of Alberta in 1994 and graduated from the University of British Columbia Faculty of Law in 1997. After serving as the first Canadian law clerk to the Justices of the Navajo Supreme Court in 1998, she was called to the BC Bar in 1999 and later to the Alberta Bar in 2014. As a lawyer, Judge Dion articled and worked with a criminal boutique firm before joining the litigation group of a national firm.
Judge Dion also acted for six years as the Director of Legal Services and in-house counsel to a now self-governing First Nation in BC, assisting with the transition from an Indian Act style of governance to a self-governing model. From 2001 to 2014 she was an adjunct professor at UBC’s Allard School of Law. Before being appointed to the Provincial Court she worked in the areas of litigation, governance, regulatory, environmental and Aboriginal law in private practice.
In 2008 Judge Dion obtained a PhD in Law, and in 2016 she was appointed Queen's Counsel.
Active in the Canadian Bar Association, she was the Aboriginal Lawyers representative to the Canadian Bar Association BC Branch (CBABC) Executive Committee from 2016 to 2018, and chaired its Aboriginal Lawyers Forum, whose mandate is to increase the stature and influence of Indigenous lawyers. She was also an elected member of the CBABC Provincial Council (Westminster County) until 2019, and chaired its Truth and Reconciliation Working Group.
Judge Dion also served as vice-chair of the board of governors of the Justice Institute of BC and on the board of the College of Registered Psychiatric Nurses of BC. She received the 2016/17 President's medal from the CBABC, as well as the Courage in Law Award in 2017 from the Indigenous Law Students Association at UBC Allard Hall Law School.
With her stellar accomplishments and record of public service it is easy to understand why Judge Dion was honoured as a role model!
Congratulations, Judge Dion!