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Brigitte Catellier

March 29, 2022

Roz Bahrami

If there’s one constant in the world of finance, it’s change. And that makes financial law one of the most dynamic, challenging areas of legal practice. In a country like Canada—with its track record of strong regulation and financial stability—rapid change also poses a major challenge: how do we foster financial technology innovation without compromising the protection afforded by our regulatory framework?

Few people are more qualified to address that question than Brigitte Catellier, who has spent the past 30 years as a leader in Canada’s regulated industries, including transportation, media, securities and finance. In all that time, she says, the regulatory landscape has never shifted as fast as it is today. “There’s evolution everywhere,” she says, “and that means regulatory developments affecting every kind of organization in the financial world.”

For example, take the emerging challenges around regulating cryptocurrency. Or the growth of digital banking, and related issues around cybersecurity and privacy. Or the increasing importance, for many consumers, of working with financial institutions that embody environmental, social and governance (ESG) values.

Today, as VP of Corporate Governance with Toronto-based Meridian Credit Union, Catellier keeps on top of all of the above. But her experience goes much deeper, bridging traditional finance and fintech innovation.

She’s spent the past three years as a key part of the team building a new, digital-only bank called motusbank from the ground up. She’s a board member with Governance Professionals of Canada, giving her a national view on regulatory issues from coast to coast. And as an instructor in Osgoode’s LLM in Financial Law, she helps students keep pace with the day-to-day evolution of the financial world in the face of new technology and social pressures.

That commitment to making finance accessible extends to her work as co-director, with Professor Poonam Puri, of Osgoode’s Investor Protection Clinic (IPC). The first clinic of its kind in Canada, the IPC provides legal help to investors who’ve suffered losses, but can’t afford legal assistance.

“It’s a very complex regulatory framework in Canada for investors,” says Catellier. “We help, with volunteer students, on a pro-bono basis. We’re talking about vulnerable people, seniors, newcomers to Canada, people with limited investment knowledge who’ve been misled or given poor guidance.”

The clinic is a popular volunteer experience for Osgoode students. For Catellier, it also demonstrates the importance of diversity in bringing new perspectives to a fast-paced industry: “We have students who come from finance, law, creative industries, regulators,” she says, “and they all bring new ideas to the table.”

Equally important is the breadth of experience Catellier herself brings to the table from across her long career, from decades-old experiences to up-to-the-minute developments. “I’ve updated courses the morning that I give them,” she says, “just to make sure they reflect the most recent information. That’s what I love about Osgoode: how in-depth and thoughtful the programs are, but how accessible they are when paired with real-world, practical experience.”

Want to learn more about the Professional LLM in Financial Law? Sign up for an Information Session!