Rose Toodick Boyko

It’s a long way from a trapline in Northern British Columbia to a respected position on a Canadian judge’s bench – but Rose Toodick Boyko has excelled at every step along the way. She was the first Aboriginal woman to be appointed to a superior court in Canada when made a Judge of the Ontario Court of Justice (General Division) in 1994. She now presides over criminal and civil trials and hears lower court appeals. Before that, she served at the highest levels of the Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development and has been a shining star in Canada’s public service since the early 1980s. A Tsek’Ehne First Nation member, Justice Boyko completed high school in Prince George, B.C. and then Montreal before joining the nursing profession, becoming among the first of a generation of nurses destined to forever positively impact First Nations peoples. Her work took her to nursing stations in remote Cree communities around James Bay. From there, she was thrown into the thick of it, serving in critical care areas in Kingston General Hospital. Justice Boyko has long been active in the Aboriginal Nurses Association of Canada. After that, she set her sights upon the law, receiving a B.A. from one of Canada’s greatest universities, Queen’s, and then earning her law degree at the same institution three years later. Her law school dean has praised her constant efforts at advancing the interests of Aboriginal law students and reaching out to Aboriginal law graduates. She’s never too busy to meet with students, serving as both a role model and mentor. The Honourable Madame Justice Rose Toodick Boyko was a 1999 National Aboriginal Achievement Award recipient in the Law and Justice category.