Biography of the Integrity Commissioner and team
Called to the Bar in 1986, Ms. Walsh is the Managing Partner of the law firm Hill Sokalski Walsh LLP. She is a litigator, arbitrator and adjudicator and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America.
Ms. Walsh was appointed to be the City of Winnipeg’s first Integrity Commissioner in 2017.
In 2021 Ms. Walsh was appointed to be the Province of Manitoba’s first Municipal Codes of Conduct Appeals Director.
Since 2012 Ms. Walsh has served as a Hearing Panel Chair for discipline proceedings of the Mutual Fund Dealers Association of Canada (“MFDA”) and in 2019, she was appointed to be a member of the Hearing Panel for the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC). She continues to serve in these roles since the MFDA and IIROC were amalgamated to become the Canadian Investment Regulatory Organization (“CIRO”), in January 2023.
Ms. Walsh was appointed in 2019 as a member of the Investigation Unit of the Sport Dispute Resolution Centre of Canada (SDRCC).
In 2022, she was appointed as a member of the Investigation Unit for the Office of the Sport Integrity Commissioner (“OSIC”).
Ms. Walsh served as an adjudicator under The Human Rights Code (Manitoba) from 2007 to 2019 and was the first Chief Adjudicator, serving in that role from 2012 to 2019.
Ms. Walsh also acts as an Adjudicator under the Manitoba Framework Agreement for Treaty Land Entitlement.
From 2011 to 2013, Ms. Walsh acted as Commission Counsel to the Inquiry into the Circumstances Surrounding the Death of Phoenix Sinclair - a public inquiry which was established by the Province of Manitoba to examine the circumstances surrounding the death of a First Nations child who had received services from the Province's child welfare system, with a mandate to make recommendations to better protect Manitoba children. The Inquiry's report: The Legacy of Phoenix Sinclair - Achieving the Best for All Our Children was published in 2014.
Ms. Walsh also conducts respectful workplace investigations for corporations, post-secondary education institutions and national sports organizations and has often been retained to protect the privacy interests of victims of sexual assault in criminal matters.
From 2003 to 2009, Ms. Walsh taught a mandatory second year course at the Faculty of Law, University of Manitoba on "Introduction to Civil Procedure". She also taught a course on "Poverty and the Law" to students in the Department of Urban and Inner City Studies at the University of Winnipeg, in 2014 and 2015.
She has frequently presented and chaired continuing education sessions for the Law Society of Manitoba and the Manitoba Council of Administrative Tribunals and has often served as an instructor for the Law Society's Bar Admission Course.
Recognition and awards
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.
In 2022, Ms. Walsh was given the inaugural award for Outstanding Achievement by the University of Manitoba Faculty of Law.
In 2021, Ms. Walsh was a recipient of the 150 Manitoba Women Trailblazer Award.
In 2016, she 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, since.
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 1998, she was awarded the Manitoba Bar Association's Award for Pro Bono work.
Ms. Walsh is a member of the Manitoba and Canadian Bar Associations, the ADR Institute of Manitoba and Canada, the Association of Workplace Investigators, the International Commission of Jurists and the Association des juristes d'expression française du Manitoba.
Ms. Walsh is also a member of the Canadian Bar Association’s Committee on Lobbying and Ethics.
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 the food bank, Winnipeg Harvest/Harvest Manitoba and served as Chair of its Board, for four years.
Integrity Commissioner’s team
Ryan Nerbas is an associate at the law firm Hill Sokalski Walsh LLP. He joined the firm as a summer student in 2018, shortly after the establishment of the office of the Integrity Commissioner. Mr. Nerbas completed his articles at the firm and was called to the Bar in 2020.
Since joining the firm, Mr. Nerbas has worked closely with Ms. Walsh in matters in her role as Integrity Commissioner for the City of Winnipeg.