Alumnus Bruce Rawson served in several deputy minister roles federally, provincially

1962 graduate was both a Queen’s Counsel and Officer of Order of Canada

Helen Metella - 27 May 2020

Faculty of Law alumnus Bruce S. Rawson, OC, QC, a former deputy minister for both the provincial and federal governments, died on May 15.

Rawson earned his LLB from the University of Alberta in 1962.

In Alberta, he served as the Deputy Minister of Community Health and Social Development. After relocating to Ottawa, he served as a Deputy Minister in multiple positions, including for National Health and Welfare; the Ministry of State for Social Development; Indian Affairs and Northern Development; Western Economic Diversification; and Fisheries and Oceans.

Rawson received the Public Policy Forum Award for distinguished service to Canada and the APEX award for outstanding leadership in the federal public service. He was co-director of the International Joint Commission Inquiry into the Red River Flood and a past chairman of the National Advisory Committee of the Banff School for Management. In 2008, he became the chief federal negotiator for Nova Scotia Comprehensive Claim negotiations.

He was named a Queen's Counsel in 1978, and an Officer to the Order of Canada in 1990. After his retirement, he furthered his career with Rawson Group Initiatives Inc., continuing to consult on and pursue socially relevant issues.

Rawson was born on July 1, 1935, in Saskatoon, SK. and completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Saskatchewan. During his university years he served for one year as President of the National Federation of Canadian University Students (NFCUS), and led the Canadian student delegation at its annual meeting in Moscow.

In a published obituary, his family remembers him as an extraordinary mentor and leader. “Bruce made friends everywhere he went, with people in all contexts, of all ages and backgrounds.”

Rawson is survived by his wife, Mary Raylene Johnson, and their son, Nicolas A. Surrette; as well as by his children, Karen Rawson, Don Rawson and Krista Rawson, who also attended and graduated from the University of Alberta. He was the cherished brother of Eric and his wife, Zivile, whom he considered his sister.

In keeping with his wishes, there will be no visitation or funeral service.