Biography of the Integrity Commissioner
Called to the Bar in 1986, Sherri Walsh is a partner with the law firm Hill Sokalski Walsh Olson LLP. Ms. Walsh’s practice covers virtually all areas of civil litigation with an emphasis on human rights and constitutional law, Indigenous law, employment law, securities and insurance litigation, and administrative law. She has appeared at all levels of court in Manitoba and before the Supreme Court of Canada. Ms. Walsh is frequently retained to conduct investigations for corporations and institutions involving respectful workplace issues. She participates in and conducts mediations and arbitrations and recently issued an arbitration decision under the Manitoba Framework Agreement for Treaty Land Entitlement. She has also been frequently retained in criminal law matters to protect the privacy rights of victims of sexual assault, pursuant to the provisions of the Criminal Code.
Ms. Walsh is the Chief Adjudicator under The Human Rights Code (Manitoba) having been appointed to that position since its creation in 2012.
From 2011 to 2013, Ms. Walsh acted as Commission Counsel to The Honourable Ted Hughes when he presided over the Phoenix Sinclair Inquiry. This public inquiry was established by the Province of Manitoba to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of an Indigenous child who had received services from the provincial child welfare system.
Ms. Walsh is serving a second three year appointment as a Hearing Panel Chair for discipline hearings for the Mutual Fund Dealers Association Prairie Regional Council.
From 2001-2011, Ms. Walsh sat as a part-time Chair of the Appeal Commission for the Workers Compensation Board of Manitoba, representing the public interest.
For eight years, Ms. Walsh taught Introduction to Civil Procedure to 2nd year students at the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba. She has been frequently asked by the Law Society of Manitoba to chair or present Continuing Education Seminars and often serves as an instructor for the Bar Admission course. She was a coach for the Manitoba Faculty of Law School's 2014 team for the Laskin Moot Competition – a bilingual national moot court competition.
Ms. Walsh also taught a course entitled "Poverty and the Law" to students in the Department of Urban and Inner Studies at the University of Winnipeg, in 2014 and 2015.
The value of Ms. Walsh’s work particularly in the areas of social justice and human rights has been recognized by her peers and others.
On January 28, 2016 – the 100th Anniversary of some women in Manitoba receiving the right to vote, Ms. Walsh was awarded the inaugural Nellie award – in recognition of her work to promote social justice, human rights and the rights of women and girls, in Manitoba.
In 2013 she was recognized as the Manitoba Female Litigator of the year by Benchmark Litigation Canada and has consistently been recognized as a Litigation Star by that publication every year
In 2006, she was named a "human rights star" by the Manitoba League of Persons with Disabilities.
In 2000 she received the inaugural Manitoba Human Rights Commitment Award co-sponsored by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, the Manitoba Human Rights Commission and the Community Legal Education Association in recognition of achievements in advancing human rights through the justice system.
In 1999 she received the Manitoba Bar Association's Award for Pro Bono work.
Ms. Walsh is consistently appointed by the Benchers of the Law Society of Manitoba to sit on various standing and ad hoc committees of the Law Society, including the Complaints Investigation Committee, the Discipline Committee, the Committee on Practice and Ethics, and the President’s Special Committees on the Independence of the Legal Profession, Emerging Issues for the Legal Profession, Trust Safety and Entity Regulation.
She is a member of a number of professional associations including the Canadian Bar Association, Manitoba Bar Association, Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba, the International Commission of Jurists (Canadian section) and the ADR Institute of Canada / Institut d’Arbitrage et de Médiation du Canada Inc.
Outside the practice of law, Ms. Walsh has sat on the Boards of a number of non-profit organizations.
She currently sits as a Director on the Boards of the University of Winnipeg Foundation and the Manito Ahbee Festival.
She is a longtime volunteer with Winnipeg Harvest - a non-profit food bank and served as Chair of its Board for four years.