Robert Prichard is the non-executive chairman of Torys. As chairman, Rob provides advice to clients, contributes to the leadership of the firm and represents Torys in the communities we serve. Rob advises clients on corporate transactions, corporate governance, public policy and government relations, public-private partnerships and higher education. He also serves as a facilitator in multi-stakeholder disputes and negotiations.
Prior to joining Torys in 2010, Rob had careers as a law professor, academic leader and business leader.
He was a professor of law at the University of Toronto from 1976 to 2001, specializing in law and economics. He taught torts, labour law, products liability, economic regulation and economic analysis of law. He also taught at the law schools of Yale (1982-83) and Harvard (1983-84 and 2000-01). He served as Dean of the Law School from 1984 to 1990. He was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2008 and received the University of Toronto Law School’s 2009 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Rob served as the 13th president of the University of Toronto from 1990 to 2000. He also served as chair of the Council of Ontario Universities, on the boards of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada and the International Association of Universities, and on the executive committee of the Association of American Universities. In 2001, Rob received the David Smith Award for his contributions to public policy in higher education and in 2011 received the Champion of Public Education Award.
Rob’s business sector experience includes serving as president and CEO of Torstar Corporation, a leading Canadian media company with newspaper and book publishing businesses, from 2002 to 2009. He serves as the Chairman of BMO Financial Group and as a director of Onex Corporation and George Weston Ltd. (lead director). Rob has previously served as a director of numerous public companies, including Moore Corporation (Chairman), Four Seasons Hotels (lead director), Brascan (now Brookfield Asset Management), Imasco, Charles River Associates, Tesma International, St. Lawrence Cement, 724 Solutions, Gildan Activewear, Biochem Pharma, Enghouse Systems and Visible Genetics.
In the public sector, Rob serves as chairman of Metrolinx, the regional transportation agency of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area, where he served previously as president and CEO from 2009 to 2010. He also serves as a member of both Canada's Economic Advisory Council and Ontario’s Economic Advisory Panel.
In the volunteer sector, Rob serves as a trustee of the Hospital for Sick Children, a director of the Toronto Community Foundation and chair of the Visiting Committee for Harvard Law School. Previously he was Vice-Chair of Canada's Science, Technology and Innovation Council, a trustee of University Health Network, a director of the Royal Ontario Museum, a governor of Upper Canada College, a commissioner of the Ontario Law Reform Commission, a member of the Greater Toronto Task Force (Golden Task Force) and a member of the Advisory Board of the World Bank Institute.
Rob has been recognized by appointment as an officer of the Order of Canada and as a member of the Order of Ontario. He has also received honorary degrees from ten colleges and universities in Canada and the United States.
"Crown Corporations in Canada: The Calculus of Instrument Choice," Public Enterprise in Canada, editor, Toronto: Butterworths, 1983.
Federalism and the Canadian Economic Union, author with Michael Trebilcock, Thomas Courchene and John Whalley, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1983.
Canadian Competition Policy: Essays in Law and Economics, editor with Thomas Wilson and W.T. Stanbury, Toronto: Butterworths, 1979.
Canadian Business Corporations: An Analysis of Recent Legislative Developments, co-author with Frank Iacobucci and Marilyn Pilkington, Agincourt: Canada Law Book, 1977.
University of Toronto Law Journal (Editorial Board)
European Journal of Law and Economics (Board of Editors)
Development Outreach (World Bank Institute, Editorial Board)