A Vernon-raised judge with more than 30 years experience with the Canadian Bar Association has been named the Supreme Court of B.C.’s newest appointee.
Hugh William Veenstra will step into the shoes of Justice K.N. Affleck, who retired last November.
Veenstra was appointed on June 23 and will be situated in Vancouver, where he’s also associate counsel at Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP.
Bill Veenstra was born in Saskatchewan before moving to Vernon, where he graduated from Vernon Secondary School in 1981.
He received a bachelor’s degree in Engineering Science from the University of British Columbia (UBC) before earning a law degree at the University of Victoria, and was called to the B.C. bar in 1992.
After serving as a law clerk for two B.C. Court of Appeal justices in 1990-91, Veenstra started on at a major firm, McCarthy Tétrault in Vancouver, where he spent the early years of his career in law.
An active member of the Canadian Bar Association, Veenstra chaired the National Civil Litigation Section in 2013-14, was president of the B.C. Branch in 2017-18 and was a member of the national Board of Directors in 2019-20.
He was also a member of the B.C. Branch’s Truth and Reconciliation Working Group, co-authoring its 2018 report.
Veenstra’s dedication hasn’t gone unnoticed over the years. In 2015, he was awarded the Canadian Bar Association B.C. Branch (CBABC) President’s Medal, and was one of the 2019 recipients of the B.C. Law Society’s Leadership in Legal Aid.
Outside of the law, Veenstra is known for his involvement with amateur hockey.
A Life Member of the Vancouver Thunderbird Minor Hockey Association, he was a member of the Pacific Coast Amateur Hockey Association (PCAHA) committee on body checking in minor hockey in 2011-12, the same year he won the PCAHA President’s Service Award for outstanding service to amateur hockey.
The PCAHA honoured him again the following season with the Don Ackert Award for Amateur Hockey Executive of the Year.
Veenstra joins a list of more than 390 judges who have been appointed at the Superior Court level since November 2015.