Ian Baxter

Those of you who are as old (or nearly as old) as I am will be saddened to hear of the death of Ian Baxter. I came across his death notice in the Globe & Mail yesterday. (It’s re-published today.) The family has said that there will be no memorial service.

I remember Ian as a careful scholar with a delightful sense of humour and a man of great modesty. He was the principal author of the report of the old Law Reform Commission of Ontario which was the basis for the radical changes in family law represented by the Family Law Reform Act. I had a small part to play in that project and I remember Ian’s technique of providing examples of how the proposed reforms would work by using examples involving Mr. & Mrs. Bear, Dog, Cat, Wolf, etc. He was well-known as a banking lawyer. He and I differed radically (but always pleasantly) on the proper approach to conflicts—those who know me will not be surprised by that fact!

By pure coincidence, just the day before, I had come across a photograph of the faculty at University of Toronto in about 1968 or 1969. (Jim Milner was still alive and Ronnie MacDonald was dean.)

If anyone has any memories of Ian, perhaps he or she could share them.


  1. Ian also wrote on Electronic payment systems, to my surprise. An eclectic mind.

    And not to detract from the Research Team that Ian led in the 1960s, but by the time the OLRC published its Report on Family Property Law in 1973, and even more by the time of the Family Law Reform Act of 1978 was passed by the Legislature, the thinking on the issues had evolved considerably. That’s why we didn’t go the route of Equalizing Claims.

    At the end of the day, there is likely more of Allan Leal’s prose in the Report than Ian’s.

    May they both rest in peace.

  2. I came across your entry while looking for online information about Ian’s passing.

    It has been truly one of the most enjoyable parts of my business career to have been able to know and work with the Baxter’s on their many art and poetry projects over the past twelve years.

    I will always remember Ian for his positive attitude towards life and his delightful sense of humour. Ian and I shared an interest in computer technology and politics and enjoyed many exchanges. He had a remarkable ability to find humour in any situation or conversation and get everyone in the room chuckling, even into his nineties. He had a sharp mind and enjoyed life right up until his last days. The world would be a better place if we could have more like Ian Baxter – I’ll miss him very much.

    It is my understanding that in accordance with Ian’s wishes condolences can be sent to gwed@bellnet.ca

  3. Hi there,

    is that Ian who was (originally) from Scotland and who was married to Vera?

  4. Yes, this is that Ian.