NWT’s Karen Wilford receives national legal aid award

Karen Wilford has been recognized nationally with an award for her long-term commitment to legal aid.

Wilford, executive director of the Legal Aid Commission of the Northwest Territories, is this year’s recipient of the Canadian Bar Association’s Legal Aid Leader award, the association announced last week.

In a news release, the CBA said Wilford’s initial two-year contract delivering legal aid services in Cambridge Bay had “turned into a lifelong commitment.”


Wilford has also served as the NWT’s children’s lawyer and is currently chair of the Association of Legal Aid Plans of Canada.

“She practised in family law throughout her career, with a particular interest in children’s law, child protection and the delivery of services to marginalized clients,” the CBA stated.

Since moving to Yellowknife, Wilford has served as president of the territory’s law society. She is the NWT’s representative to the council of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada and co-chairs the federation’s advisory committee regarding the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

The association said Wilford had committed to advancing the TRC’s 94 calls to action through initiatives within the legal profession and at the Yellowknife United Church.

Wilford is not the first NWT recipient of the Legal Aid Leader award, which recognizes Canadian lawyers “who have made a significant contribution to providing access to justice to people in need.”


Jeannette Savoie, a legal aid staff lawyer in Yellowknife, won the award in 2016.