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The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) and Massey College are thrilled to present the third installment of the RSC Dialogues @ Massey series, Water is Life: Sustainability of Our Oceans.

In recent decades, issues like contamination of our oceans from petrochemical spills, as well as the disposal of polyethylene materials into these bodies of water, have had a significant impact on the environment and our well-being. Although humanity has benefited greatly from industrial activities of the last few centuries, we are now confronted with the challenge and responsibility to balance industrial imperatives that support human consumption and the need to improve the way we treat the waters that give us life. At this event, speakers will explore the topic of water sustainability with focus on habitats, climate change, and Indigenous sovereignty.



William Cheung is a Professor and the Director of the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries at the University of British Columbia, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Ocean Sustainability and Global Change. Dr. Cheung is recognized internationally for his research on the interconnections among climate change, food security and biodiversity conservation in marine environments. As a marine ecologist and fisheries scientist, Dr. Cheung’s work addresses policy-relevant research questions through a transdisciplinary lens that encompasses oceanography, ecology, economics, and social sciences. He has been active in international and regional initiatives that bridge science and policy, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

Julie LaRoche (FRSC) is a marine microbiologist who uses biochemical and molecular biological approaches to unravel the factors that control primary productivity in the ocean. She has developed and applied several widely used molecular biological approaches that have had long-lasting impact on our understanding of nutrient limitation in phytoplankton and other marine microbes, especially with respect to iron limitation, which is prominent in large areas of the surface ocean.

Frank Deer, President, College of New Scholars (RSC)

Frank Deer is Professor, Canada Research Chair, and Associate Dean in the Faculty of Education of the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Frank is Kanienkeha’ka from Kahnawake, a community that lies just south of Tiotia’ke in the eastern region of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy.


Justice Julie Thorburn was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in June 2019. She was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in September 2006 and Deputy Judge of the Northwest Territories in 2009. Prior to her appointment to the Court of Appeal, she was the Team Lead of the Divisional Court. She is a graduate of l’Université de Montréal (Bac. Int. Chant) and Queen’s University (LLB). She has a Certificat en droit international privé from The Hague Academy of International Law, an A.R.C.T. in Performance Piano and the Silver Medal in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music. She was a law clerk with then Supreme Court of Ontario (now the Superior Court of Justice) and a partner with Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP. She is a member of the coa-parkedrd of Directors of the International Association of Women judges (an association of over 900 judges from around the world), and Past President of the Canadian chapter. Until her appointment to the Court of Appeal, she was a member of the coa-parkedrd of Directors of the Ontario Superior Court Judges Association. She is co-author of the Report, Améliorer l’accès a la justice en français (2015) prepared at the request of the Attorney General of Ontario to improve access to justice for French speaking litigants. Until her appointment to the Court of Appeal, she was a member of the Attorney General’s Committee on francophone affairs. She was a sessional Lecturer Civil Procedure Workshops, at Osgoode Hall Law School from 1993 to 1997, and is co-author of The Law of Confidential Business Information, Canada Law Book, 1998 (co-author K. Fairbairn), and a contributing author of Digital Democracy, Policy and Politics in the Wired World, Oxford University Press, 1998, Ontario Courtroom Procedure (4th Ed.), 2016, and Canada Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (Thomson, Carswell). She has lived in Canada, France and Italy and works in both official languages.