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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

Learn more about Indigenous Education and Cultural Services

Cheryl Foy's headshot

Cheryl Foy

University Secretary and General Counsel

An in-house counsellor strategically enhances corporate governance in Ontario Tech.



  • Bachelor of Laws Queen’s University, Kingston
  • Honours Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston

An Introduction to University Governance

Published book, Irwin Law, April 2021

Effective governance is now more important than ever to ensure that universities preserve the autonomy fundamental to the vital role they play in our society. These exciting institutions are at the forefront of research and teaching and are expected to be drivers and facilitators of social and technological change, innovation, commercialization, and knowledge transfer. As educators and recipients of significant public funds, they are the focus of public opinion and close financial scrutiny, and must work to comply with ever-changing government policy and increasing regulation.

This book is for those who want to learn more about and participate in university governance. The governance context for universities is unique, and playing a positive and effective role in university governance requires understanding this exceptionality: important concepts, the complex stakeholder context, decision-making structures, and the allocation of responsibilities within the university sector.

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Women general counsel do 'lean in'

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2014-09-05

Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, has been both embraced and criticized. Around the table, as a newly formed general counsel chapter of the Women’s Law Association of Ontario gathered to meet recently, there was no criticism. The comments were all positive. The phrase “lean in” was used regularly with the expectation that we all understood what was meant. The first president of the chapter, Julia Shin Doi, general counsel at Ryerson University, has quoted the line from the book, “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” as being a source of inspiration to her.

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Avoid hiring and keeping a dud

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2013-03-11

There are two areas in which organizations hiring lawyers need help: assessing the legal skills of applicants for legal roles and evaluating the performance of the lawyer as a legal adviser.

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In-house counsel wanted: Lawyers without courage need not apply

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2013-02-25

Each time a corporate scandal hits an organization like a tsunami, think about what the in-house lawyers were doing before when it hit, and after.

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Associations in Canada provide the basics but fall short

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2013-01-14

There is, predictably and understandably, more interest in specific issues than in the profession as a whole. In-house lawyers are not unique in focusing on more immediate matters: Have I fulfilled my mandatory continuing professional development obligations? Do I have the information and skills I need to do my job well? Do I feel part of a community? Are my professional networks intact? As I look around, however, I see relatively few of us are interested in the evolution of the role of in-house lawyers and I’d hazard a pretty educated guess fewer still care about the political organization of in-house lawyers or the associations and other groups that represent in-house lawyers.

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A call to arms on professional regulation

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-12-10

The in-house practice of law differs dramatically from the practice of the traditional private practice lawyer. I agree with those of you who say internal and external lawyers have more in common than we don’t, but I don’t agree with those who use that as a reason to subsume the in-house lawyers within the larger group for all purposes. This is not a column about “piling on” to criticize outside counsel. I believe we should all work to ensure the relationship between in-house lawyers and private practice lawyers (between all lawyers for that matter) is collegial and respectful.

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It's not enough to keep up with the private practice Joneses

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-11-12

It is clear that in-house lawyers now play pivotal and influential roles in the corporate world. In his blog, Ben Heineman recently noted: “The general counsel, not the senior partner in the law firm, is now often the go-to counsellor for the chief executive and the board on law, ethics, public policy, corporate citizenship, and country and geopolitical risk. The general counsel is now a core member of the top management team and offers advice not just on law and related matters but helps shape discussion and debate about business issues. Because ‘business in society’ issues pose so much risk (and in some cases opportunity), the general counsel is viewed in many companies as having the same stature as the chief financial officer. Company legal departments are staffed not just by broad generalists but by outstanding specialists in all the areas covered by private firms, including litigation, tax, trade, mergers and acquisitions, labour and employment, intellectual property, environmental law.”

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most ethical of all?

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-10-08

At any given time, it is important to be able to look yourself in the eye and believe you are doing the right thing. The “right thing” is a course of conduct we pursue with few or no reservations. The “right thing” is a behaviour we would have no hesitation disclosing to those we want to think well of us. As in-house counsel, we should always be trying to do the right thing for our organizations and ensuring our colleagues do the same.

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For in-house lawyers, there is an 'I' in 'team'

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-08-13

We use the words “team” and “teamwork” all the time in business. I think back to football analogies and rowing analogies used by my former CEOs. I recently watched the Olympic women’s soccer. After my immense disappointment at the Canadian team’s loss to the United States, the sense of admiration for the grit and determination shown by the Canadian women, the anger and disappointment at the decisions made by the Norwegian referee when Canada was in the lead and showing great momentum, I mused about why we use sports analogies so often in business and why, in so many cases, the analogies do not neatly apply in the business context.

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Build relationships but don't make friends

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-07-09

Just before completing this column, I read that the general counsel of Yahoo Inc. announced his resignation effective July 9. The article about the resignation states, “with the general counsel’s impromptu exit, all eyes are back on the company.” As resignation has to be the last resort for any general counsel, I wonder how many people have any appreciation for the internal battles fought and the pressures faced by any GC in the period before he or she makes the decision to resign.

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Calm risk-takers will rule the world

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-06-11

If you’re easily excited and not a mischief-maker, the world of in-house leadership is apparently not for you. This is according to a report produced by a legal search firm that mined its own data on the skill sets of executive candidates as compared with the success of these same candidates when placed into roles within organizations.

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CLOs, you need to become progressive people managers

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-05-14

After years of trying to manage the multiple responsibilities of a full-time and demanding senior in-house role, with those of mother and spouse, a friend of mine recently decided to resign from her job. She tried to make it work, including negotiating with her employer to reduce her hours. Her efforts were to no avail. That decision took courage and is to be congratulated as my friend, when forced, chose a path in keeping with her priorities of the family first. What irritates me is that she had to make the choice in the first place. It is a significant loss to her employer and a loss to the in-house community.

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Tips on training your colleagues

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-04-09

I know at first glance the notion of “training your colleagues” may seem a little offensive and perhaps condescending. I intend to be neither. One of the things I try to be very aware of as a parent is how my behaviour creates incentives or disincentives for my child’s actions. I work hard not to reinforce negative behaviour. I don’t give in when tears come falling from my child’s beautiful brown eyes. Even though it would be easier to acquiesce, I don’t do it to stop my child’s whining, perfectly pitched (it seems) to push me over the edge. Conversely, I try to stand my ground when I am the target of a mercenary sweetness designed to persuade me to do something I’ve already said I won’t or to reverse a consequence flowing from my child’s poor behaviour.

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Don't leave your humanity at the office door

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-03-12

We regularly lose our humanity — not completely, but for moments at a time. What I mean by “humanity” is our ability to relate to those around us as human beings and to treat them with the respect with which we would like to be treated. We step behind the wheels of our cars and assume the role of the driver in a hurry — impatient with those who get in our way.

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Keeping an eye on insurance

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-02-13

Insurance — getting the right kind, properly fulfilling the associated obligations, and taking advantage of the coverage when it exists — represents an ongoing challenge for companies without a competent insurance expert. It is incumbent on you as an in-house lawyer to become familiar with the company’s policies of insurance. You cannot do your job properly unless you do this. Most of our clients either misunderstand or have a limited understanding of their insurance policies.

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Defining the boundaries of in-house counsel

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2012-01-09

A friend and former colleague, who has spent many years as general counsel to several organizations, recently moved into a role as chief operating officer. There is a piece in this month’s Canadian Lawyer InHouse magazine about Riccardo Trecroce, who also at one point in his career moved into the role of chief executive officer. These moves are still relatively few in number but certainly not unheard of.

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Look for creative solutions to external legal bills

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2011-12-12

A friend and former colleague, who has spent many years as general counsel to several organizations, recently moved into a role as chief operating officer. There is a piece in this month’s Canadian Lawyer InHouse magazine about Riccardo Trecroce, who also at one point in his career moved into the role of chief executive officer. These moves are still relatively few in number but certainly not unheard of.

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Get to know how you play with others

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2011-11-14

Getting to know who you are, what you’re good or not so good at, what your blind spots are, and how others perceive you is one of the best things you can do to enhance your effectiveness in any in-house role.

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Flexing the negotiation muscle

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2011-10-10

Every businessperson prides him or herself on being able to negotiate well. Very few do. As in-house counsel, you are in the best position to improve your company’s approach to negotiations. Blast the myth that in-house counsel simply “paper the deals” — we don’t (at least not if we’re doing our jobs well). So what do you need to do to move the negotiation skills bar upward in your organization?

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Managing great expectations

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2011-09-12

I have spent most of my in-house career as the only lawyer and general counsel and most often I have been the first full-time lawyer in the organization. I have recently assumed the role of GC at my third organization. I have had many conversations over the years with other in-house counsel in similar positions about our shared experiences.

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Associations, what are you good for?!

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2011-08-08

What’s all the fuss? Does Canadian in-house counsel really need an association representing in-house counsel?

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Knowing a good risk

Canadian Lawyer Magazine  online

 2011-07-04

With this column, Canadian Lawyer InHouse welcomes Cheryl Foy, who will be writing a monthly online column about the issues facing in-house counsel across the country.

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Cheryl was awarded the Women’s Law Association of Ontario, General Counsel Award in 2020 for her leadership and her commitment
to the success of women in law. She is a 2021 finalist in the Canadian General Counsel Awards, in the category of Innovation.
Cheryl is a founder and the Past President of Women General Counsel Canada, a national organization established by female general counsel (GC) who recognize that the role of GC is a unique leadership role bridging law and business and also that women in the GC role have common challenges and opportunities.
She has served on a number of boards and currently serves as Investment Committee Chair, Executive Committee member, and Board member for the Canadian Universities Reciprocal Insurance Exchange. Cheryl serves on the Editorial Advisory Board for Canadian Lawyer.