Meet Daniel Bourque, 2019-20 CCCA Chair

  • September 02, 2019
  • Karen Sadler

Meet Daniel Bourque, 2019-20 CCCA Chair

From mountain tops to center stage, the new CCCA Chair knows how to walk on the wild side.

“I have many interests and hobbies outside of law, which may explain why I chose the in-house path,” says Daniel Bourque, the 2019-20 CCCA Chair. “I like to travel to unusual places, I’m an avid long-distance runner, I’m a mountaineer and I’m an actor.”

Those unusual places? Myanmar, Vietnam, Ghana and the fabled city of Djenné in Mali. Those running routes? The Ottawa and Hamilton marathons. Those mountains? Mont-Blanc (the highest mountain in the Alps), Chimborazo (the highest peak in Ecuador) and Cotopaxi (the highest active volcano in the Andes). And those acting roles? They range from performing with the University of Ottawa theatre department to small roles in off-Broadway plays and extras parts in movies filming in New York City.

Though Bourque’s acting days may be over, he has his growing career, family life, travel and more athletic hobbies to keep him busy. How does he balance it all?

“I think work-life balance becomes easier as you get more tenured in your career. You're more efficient at work and you handle stress better,” he explains. “I think you can be dedicated to your career and your family at the same time. It sometimes takes a bit of creativity, but it's within everyone's reach. I personally make a point of having breakfast and dinner with my son and my partner every day unless I'm travelling.” 

When he became Chair on September 1, 2019, Bourque was Senior Counsel at TD, working in the Global Contracts Group of the Legal Department. He is now Associate General Counsel with KPMG Canada.

“I like the fact that IT is an area in constant evolution,” he says. “With the advent of AI, the added security afforded by disintermediated databases supported by Blockchain, the increasing workflow automation and consumers’ expectation to have frictionless online experiences, we’re navigating in an everchanging environment.”

Bourque also feels fortunate to work at TD, as they have an “unparalleled commitment to diversity and inclusion. As a Francophone living in Ontario and as a member of the LBGTQ community, that’s extremely important to me.”

As for what initially drew him to the in-house counsel role, he cites wanting more variety in his job and more balance in his life. After 15 years in private practice, he was recruited by Dorothy Quann, then VP & General Counsel at Xerox Canada, in 2011 to help support its Services Group. “I immediately fell in love with the practice of law in-house,” he enthuses.

Every in-house counsel understands the challenges in balancing the business and legal aspects of the role. From Bourque’s experience, “to be an effective internal counsel, you need to have a deep understanding of your organization, and you need to be open-minded, creative and able to come up with solutions that will advance the objectives of the enterprise while complying with the law. It can be a tall order.”

He goes on to say that “if you’re providing sound advice, it should factor into both the business and legal risk. It’s important to know your audience and convey your recommendations in a way that will be clearly understood.” He also cautions against using legal jargon and getting caught up in issues that have little or no bearing on a deal.

The new Chair of the CCCA has been an active volunteer on both the National Executive Committee and the Ontario Chapter of the CCCA since 2014. He understands the importance of connecting with peers both regionally and across the entire country.

Bourque also sits on the Board of the Make-a-Wish Foundation of Canada, an organization that grants wishes to children facing life threatening illnesses. As he explains, “When children are battling a critical illness, so much of normal childhood is taken away from them. A wish allows these kids the opportunity to look outside of their illness, restoring a sense of childhood and normalcy to both the child and their family.”

When asked about the direction of the in-house profession and the legal community more widely, Bourque is highly optimistic. “Organizations are seeing the value of having internal counsel who can provide legal services at a fraction of the cost that an external provider would charge,” he begins. “We often hear that technology and outsourcing are threats to lawyers’ livelihood, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. New areas of practice are constantly emerging as the world becomes more complex. Privacy, e-discovery, cybersecurity, AI and social media are all practice areas that didn’t exist 15-20 years ago. And document discovery in litigation is a gigantic challenge in the digital age. All of these things create work for lawyers!”

Bourque predicts that “there will be more outsourcing of low-complexity work like corporate due diligence and document discovery, with AI playing a greater role when lawyers are providing opinions.” He adds that the CCCA is working to help members handle these coming changes by ensuring our programs and services take into account these advances in technology and the ways in which in-house counsel can collaborate with experts in related fields.

As for his goals during his year as Chair, Bourque plans to help increase membership, specifically in provinces where high growth potential has been identified, like Quebec, British Columbia and the Maritimes. This will be accomplished by continuing to invest in the CCCA’s unique, tailored programming, and more focused community outreach.

And if you haven’t renewed your membership yet, he urges you to do so as soon as possible, as it provides you support at every stage of your in-house career, including a professionally run Mentoring Program, the largest annual conference for in-house counsel in Canada, and the flagship Business Leadership Program for In-House Counsel, offered in partnership with the Rotman School of Management.

Reflecting back on some of his favourite moments with the CCCA, Bourque highlights meeting peers from across the country and volunteering as a mentor with the CCCA’s Mentoring Program three different times. “I’ve found it to be one of the most rewarding aspects of my involvement with the CCCA,” he smiles.

No stranger to the limelight, Daniel Bourque is ready to be your voice this year!

Karen Sadler is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator with the CCCA, currently on leave.