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DATE OF BIRTH: February 1, 1945, in Montreal, Quebec

PROFESSION: Jurist. Member of the Quebec Bar - (1969) (retired lawyer since 2010)



  •  Post-graduate diploma in Comparative Law, received a scholarship from the faculty (1972 - Faculté internationale de Droit comparé, Strasbourg, France)


  • Master of Philosophy, Constitutional Law, received a scholarship from the faculty (1971 - London School of Economics and Political Science, England)


  •  Master’s degree in Administrative Law (LL.M.), Thesis: The disciplinary powers within the Canadian, American, French and British public service, Rotary International Fellowship, (1970 – University of Sheffield, England)


  • Licence in Law (LL.L.), Lomer Gouin award - excellence in civil law; Lord Reading Law Society Award - excellence in civil procedure (1968 - University of Montréal)


  •  Bachelor of Arts (B.A.), (summa cum laude)from the University of Montréal (1964 - Jean-de-Brébeuf College)



  •  Canadian delegate at the World Youth Assembly - (1964)


  • Chair of the interim committee of the Union générale des étudiants du Québec - (1964)


  • President of the Fédération des associations générales des étudiants des collèges classiques du Québec (F.A.G.E.C.C.Q.) - (1963 to 1964)

In 1962, Bill 60 proposed creating a ministry of education and a public teaching network in Quebec. As a student leader, Mr. Joyal called for a public college and university network to be available to everyone at no cost.



  •  Was asked by the French-language CBC/Radio-Canada station RDI to comment on the rebroadcast of the state funeral for the Right Honourable Pierre Elliott Trudeau (October 3, 2000)


  • Co-chair of the regional debates during the Liberal Party of Canada’s leadership convention - (1990)


  • Member of the Electoral Committee for the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) for the federal elections of 1984, 1988, 1993, 1997, 2000 and 2003


  • Chair of the Policy Committee for the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) - (1985); re-elected at the Biennial Conventions of 1987, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1997 and 1999. 


Oversaw the drafting of Policy Committee resolutions for 16 biennial conventions of the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) and the Liberal Party of Canada - from 1985 to 2008


  • Montreal mayoral candidate heading a group of 52 candidates on behalf of the Groupe d’action municipale (GAM) - 1978


  • Vice-President of the Liberal Party of Canada (Quebec) - (1972 to 1974)


  • Special Assistant to the Honourable Jean Marchand, Minister of Regional Economic Development and Minister of Transport - (1971 to 1973)


  • Director of the Mouvement laïque de langue française - (1963 to 1964)



  •  Member of the Special Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons appointed to review the report of the External Panel on Options for a Legislative Response to Carter v. Canada and other recent relevant consultation activities and studies, to consult with Canadians, experts and stakeholders, and make recommendations on the framework of a federal response on physician-assisted dying that respects the Constitution, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and the priorities of Canadians.


  • Member of the following Senate committees:

-     Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee - (since 1997. Chair since 2017)

-     Internal Economy, Budgets and Administration Committee - (1997 to 1999)

-     Banking, Trade and Commerce Committee - (1997 to 2000)

-     National Finance Committee - (1997 to 1999)

-     Transport and Communications Committee - (1997 to 1999)

-     Rules, Procedures and the Rights of Parliament Committee - (since 1997)

-     Human Rights Committee - (2001 to 2003)

-     Conflict of Interest for Senators - (Vice-Chair since 2010; Chair from 2004 to 2009)

-     Special Committee on Anti-terrorism - (Vice-Chair from 2010 to 2013; member from 2007 to 2008)

  •  Sponsor in the Senate of Bill C-38,An Act respecting certain aspects of legal capacity for marriage for civil purposes (same sex-marriage) which was adopted July 20th, 2005.


  • Member of the Art Advisory Working Group of the Senate, responsible for providing advice and oversight as regards the acquisition of heritage assets and works of art for the Senate, exhibiting works of art, drafting policies and guidelines on this topic, and responding to any other questions. – (since 2002)


  • Co-chaired the National Liberal Caucus Task Force on the Future of the Financial Services Sector, which produced a report entitled A Balance of Interests: Access and Fairness for Canadians in the 21st Century (216 p.).

The 216-page report concluded that it would be detrimental to merge banks in Canada. This report was used by the Chrétien government to refuse the merger requests put forward by Canada’s four largest banks. After hearing from 136 witnesses (including the presidents of seven Canadian banks) and holding more than 37 meetings across the country over a five-month period, the Committee made 89 recommendations. - 1998


  • Appointed to the Senate - (1997)


  •  Minister responsible for the Status of Handicapped Persons - (1983)


  • Secretary of State for Canada - (1982 to 1984)

 As the Secretary of State, he announced that the federal government would fund legal challenges under sections 16 to 23 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which address language rights - (1982)

Established the first network of Centres of Excellence in Canadian universities - (1984)


  • Vice-Chair of the Cabinet Committee (Communications) -  (1981 to 1984)


  • Minister of State in the cabinet of the Right Honourable Pierre E. Trudeau - (1981 to 1982)


  • Co-chair of the Special Joint Committee on the Constitution, which was tasked with studying the patriation of the constitution and the entrenchment of a charter of rights and freedoms - (1980 to 1981)

This Committee sat for 357 hours between November 7, 1980, and February 12, 1981. It studied the draft constitutional resolution to patriate Canada’s constitution and entrench a charter of rights and freedoms. The Committee heard 267 witnesses, received close to 1,000 written submissions—briefs, letters and telegrams—and recommended 57 amendments to the original constitutional resolution.


  • Sponsored the resolution creating the Joint Committee of the Senate and the House of Commons on Official Languages - (1980) 


  • Parliamentary Secretary to the President of the Treasury Board - (1980 to 1981)


  • Member of Parliament for Hochelaga–Maisonneuve - (1979 to 1980) - (1980 to 1984)


  • Vice-Chair of the Public Accounts Committee  - (1974 to 1976)


  • Member of Parliament for Maisonneuve–Rosemont - (1974 to 1979)



  •  Member of the Executive Committee of the Canada–France Interparliamentary Association - (since 2008)



  •  Submitted a brief to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, which is putting together the legal foundations of a Federal Court case to obtain from the Court an order for the Government of Canada to conduct a national public inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women. - (2014)


  • Was authorized by the Superior Court of Quebec to intervene with regard to a motion for declaratory judgment, introduced by Ms. Geneviève Motard and Mr. Patrick Taillon, in order to declare unconstitutional the Succession to the Throne Act, 2013 because it contravened s. 41(a) of the Constitution Act, 1982. He submitted his factum on February 7 - (2014)


  • Was authorized by the Supreme Court of Canada to intervene in a reference submitted by the federal government on six issues regarding Senate reform with regard to the Parliament of Canada’s powers under section 44 of the Constitution Act, 1982 and section 91 of the Constitution Act, 1867. He submitted a factum on August 30, 2013 and was heard by the Court on November 13 - (2013) – Decision rendered on April 25, 2014


  • Was authorized by the Quebec Court of Appeal to intervene in a reference submitted by the Government of Quebec on three issues regarding the constitutionality of Senate reform. He submitted a brief on June 28, 2013, and appeared at hearings on September 10 and 11  - (2013) – Decision rendered on October 24, 2013


  • He was authorized by the Supreme Court of Canada to be an intervener in the Canada (House of Commons) v. Vaid case. This case addressed the scope of parliamentary privilege—with regard to the rights of those people recognized as being employees of Parliament—under section 18 of the Constitution Act, 1867. He submitted a brief to the Supreme Court on June 2 - (2004) – The decision was rendered on May 20, 2005


  • During the time he was a Member of Parliament, he took the Canadian Minister of Transport, the Hon. Otto Lang, and Air Canada to court, appearing as an individual before the Superior Court of Quebec, to request the suspension of certain Air Canada language regulations in light of Canada’s Official Languages Act and an interim injunction to correct the unilingual policy of the national airline. - (1976) – Decision rendered on September 14, 1976, and by the Court of Appeal on February 16, 1982



  •  President of International Consultant Targeted Security - (1987)


  • Chair of the Board of Directors for P.A. Conseil International Inc., a management and training consultation firm (Middle East, Africa, Eastern Europe) - (1987)


  • Vice-President of Chambre de commerce Afrique-Canada - (1986 to 1989)


  • President of Urgence-Écoute - (1986)


  • President of Eastelec International Inc. - (1986)


  • Vice-President and Legal Counsel for the export firm SIGID - (1984)


  • Corporate Secretary for Les Centres d'achat Beauward Ltée - (1972-1974)



  • S-237 - An Act for the advancement of the aboriginal languages of Canada and to recognize and respect aboriginal language rights - (May 28, 2009)


  • S-219 (public bill) - An Act to amend the Parliamentary Employment and Staff Relations Act - (June 27, 2006. Reintroduced in 2007, 2008, 2009)


  • S-8 (public bill) - An Act to maintain the principles relating to the role of the Senate as established by the Constitution of Canada - (January 31, 2001)


  • S-31 (public bill) - An Act to better assist the Senate to serve Canadians by restoring its rights, opportunities and functions - (October 19, 1999)



  • Recipient of the Champlain Prize awarded by the France-America Institute for his work co-authored with Serge Bernier, Canada and France in the Great War 1914-1918
  • Lawyer title Emeritus Ad. E. granted by the Barreau du Québec - July 2016



    Specially Elected Fellow. Academy of Social Sciences. The Royal Society of Canada - (2015)




  • Recipient of the Medal of Honour of the Companions of the International Napoleonic Society (INS) -  (2009)

Medal awarded by President Ben Weider who, in July 2008, wished to honour a number of Companions of the INS, those who through their tireless efforts contributed to laid to rest the lies and slandering that sullied the image of the Emperor.


  • Officer of the National Order of the Legion of honor (France)  - (2008)

Granted through decree by French President François Mitterrand on July 11 2008. “one of the highest French honours awarded only to en exceptional few”, François Delattre, ambassador of France in Canada


  • Canadian Royal Heritage Award - Canadian Royal Heritage Trust-(2006)

Hon. Serge Joyal (Montreal, Que.) for his generosity, public spirit and cultural initiative by donating portraits of the Canadian Sovereigns to be displayed in the halls of the Parliament of Canada


  • Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan - (2005)

Conferred to underscore his contributions to understanding the underlying principles of constitutional monarchy in Canada


  • Officer of the National Order of Quebec - (2004)

“He played an important role in the renewal of Quebec’s edication system while head of the Student movement. He was thereafter an MP for the Liberal Part of Canada, parliamentary Secretary, Minister and Secretary of State. Mr. Joyal has been a Senator since 1997. A generous patron of the arts, his involvement in the protection of artistic, historical and cultural heritage of Quebec is exemplary. He has also been engaged in several causes linked to the preservation of French language and cultural expression.”


  • Officer of the Ordre de la Pléiade - (2000)

Order of merit for the 52 international francophone countries, «For his numerous accomplishments in the field of official languages and la Francophonie, and in particular for his relentless efforts on behalf of francophone minority communities in Canada; for his efforts to promote French-language research, the standardization of French terminology, and the computerization of the Bank of Terminology of the Canadian government, one of the most important computerized dictionaries in the World. »


  • Officer of the Order of Canada - (1996)

“Protector of Canada’s heritage, founder of the Joliette art gallery and patron of the arts in general, he has long contributed to the preservation of our art works and culture through his vast knowledge in a number of artistic fields. This generous benefactor also supports a variety of cultural institutions, including the Montreal, Quebec City and Joliette museums. Through his personal involvement and financial assistance, he encourages organizations such as OXFAM, the United Way, the Ballets Jazz de Montréal and various foundations. His contribution to Canadian politics was equally remarkable and clearly illustrated the same sense of character and generosity.”


  • Chevalier of the National Order of the Legion of honor (France) - (1995)

Granted through decree by French President François Mitterrand on May 12 1995 for outstanding services rendered to French language and culture in North America, and for renowned contributions to the development of relations between Canada and France


  • Annual Merit from the Canadian Jewish Congress for defending the rights of Soviet Jews to be able to emigrate, and to their equitable treatment - (1989)


  • Honorary Doctor of Laws from the Université de Moncton, New-Brunswick for contributions to the development of official language linguistic minority communities, and for the recognition of the status of the French language in Canada - (1984)


  • Academic Honour from theAssociation générale des étudiants de l'Université de Montréal (AGEUM) in recognition of contributions benefitting the student community of Quebec - (1962)



  •  Advisory Board member of the Foundation's Princes's Charities Canada - (2015)


  •  Member of the Board of Directors of the Fondation Baxter and Alma Ricard - (2015)


  • Co-chairs the third edition of the charity auction of the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Foundation’s artwork at the Société des arts technologiques alongside Bernand Lamarre to support the development of research and education at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital - (2005)


  • Co-sponsor of « Had I known… » or The Personal Impact of a Criminal Record. Brochure produced by Association des services de réhabilitation sociale du Québec (ASRSQ) -  (2004)


  • Château Ramezay Museum – Chaired the fundraising exhibition -  (December 1999)


  • Alzheimer Society of Montreal – exhibitor during the fundraising exhibition -  (1998)


He has voluntarily presided in numerous auctions to assist several organisations and charities. He has also encouraged several organisations through his attendance and personal and financial contributions, among them:

  •   The Jules and Paul-Émile Léger Foundation
  •  Centraide (Montreal)
  • Friends of the Montreal Contemporary Art Museum Foundation
  •  Laval Arthritis Society
  •  Native Women's Shelter of Montreal Centre
  •  Fondation Farha / Farha Foundation (to assist people living with AIDS)
  •  Paroisse Saint-Stanislas-de-Koska (Montreal) for restoring the Church’s organs and artwork
  •  Hôtel-Dieu of Montreal Foundation
  •  Les Ballets Jazz de Montréal
  •  Fondation du Musée de la Civilisation de Québec
  •  Montreal Mental Health Centre
  •  Artists for Peace
  • "Dernier Recours" Centre (Homeless shelter)