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Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry Announces Commission Counsel

CALGARY, Alberta, Oct. 1, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Hon. John Z. Vertes, Commissioner of the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry, has announced the lawyers who will serve as Counsel to the independent public inquiry established by the Government of Alberta, to look into the possibility of improper preferential access to publicly funded health services. Lead counsel will be Michele H. Hollins Q.C., with supporting counsel Jason L. Wilkins, both partners with the Calgary-based firm of Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP.

Ms. Hollins practices in civil litigation, with particular expertise in employment law, shareholder and contract disputes, restrictive covenants, product liability, debtor-creditor issues and other civil litigation matters. Michele has appeared at all levels of court in Alberta, is a past President of the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch, and is currently the CBA National Second Vice-President, scheduled to assume the role of President in 2014-15. Ms. Hollins received her Queen's Counsel designation in 2008, as well as the National Canadian Bar Association's Louis St. Laurent Award in 2010, and is a regular speaker and respected writer on a variety of litigation and advocacy related topics.

Mr. Wilkins' practice includes family law, with expertise in all facets of property disputes, spousal support and child custody related issues, as well as a civil litigation practice. He has significant experience in both judicial and private advocacy and mediations at all levels of court in Alberta, including trial and appellate work. Mr. Wilkins is a long-serving volunteer with Calgary Legal Guidance, receiving the Allan D. Hunter Volunteer of the Year Award in 2008, and is a former board member of Cause Canada.

If evidence is found to substantiate concerns regarding improper preferential access to publicly funded health services, the terms of reference for the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry include a call for recommendations on preventing improper access in the future.

The public inquiry will be conducted in accordance with sections 17 to 22 of the Health Quality Council of Alberta Act and the Commissioner has all the powers, privileges and immunities granted under the Public Inquiries Act.

Information regarding the Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry will be available on an ongoing basis at www.healthaccessinquiry.ca. The website will provide public access to relevant information including the inquiry's terms of reference, news, transcripts of hearings and a public communication feedback form.

MICHELE H. HOLLINS, Q.C.

Michele Hollins is a partner with Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, having joined the firm in 2001 and the partnership in 2004. She has a B.Sc. in Biochemistry from Texas Christian University and completed her law degree in 1992 at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. She did a one-year clerkship to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen's Bench before articling with McCarthy Tetrault in Calgary, and was admitted to the Alberta bar in 1994.

Michele has a varied civil and commercial litigation practice, with a focus on employment law, particularly wrongful dismissal, constructive dismissal, duties of departing employees, non-competition covenants, use of confidential information, and the drafting of employment contracts and policies. Michele also does significant work in general contract and shareholder disputes, debtor-creditor, product liability and other areas.

Michele has appeared at all levels of Alberta Courts and has significant trial and chambers experience. She teaches advocacy skills in the annual LESA Intensive Trial Advocacy course and speaks and writes regularly on a variety of litigation and advocacy related topics. Michele is a past president of the Canadian Bar Association, Alberta Branch, and is currently the national second vice president, scheduled to assume the role of national president in 2014-15. She has previously served on the boards of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and ASSIST, an assistance program for lawyers and their families, and is a current member of the Calgary Stampede Blacksmiths Committee.

Law Practice

Employment Law

Shareholder Disputes

Contract Disputes

Called to the Bar

Alberta, 1994

Education

LL.B., University of Saskatchewan College of Law, 1992

B.Sc., Texas Christian University, Fort Worth, Texas, 1987

Professional Experience and Accolades

Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, 2001-present

Joined partnership of Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, Jan. 2004

Queen's Counsel designation, Jan. 2008

Canadian Bar Association Louis St. Laurent Award, 2010

McCarthy Tetrault LLP, 1993-2001

Articling clerk to Court of Queen's Bench of SK, 1992-93

Memberships

Canadian Bar Association

Calgary Bar Association

Association of Women Lawyers

Squash Alberta

Industry Involvement

Canadian Bar Association

- National President, to be assumed 2014-15

- National Second Vice President, 2011-present

- President, Alberta Branch, 2007-08

- National Board of Directors, 2007-08

- Alberta Executive Committee, 2004-07

LESA Intensive Trial Advocacy Course

- Guest instructor/team leader, 2004-present

Retaining Women in Law Presentation

- Panelist, 2012

Women in Law Leadership Conference

- Panelist, 2011

CBA National Skilled Lawyers Series

- Presenter, 2011

Bar Admission/CPLED

- Instructor, 2002-06, 2008

Community Involvement

Alberta Lawyers Assistance Program (ASSIST),

2009-present

Calgary Stampede Blacksmiths Committee,

2008-present

Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation

- Director, Alberta Chapter, 2002-06

JASON L. WILKINS

Jason Wilkins is a partner with Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, having articled with the firm in 2001, and joined the partnership in 2010. He completed his undergraduate arts degree with distinction in 1995, before earning his law degree at the University of Alberta in 2001 and being admitted to the Alberta bar in 2002.

Jason's practice is primarily in family law, with experience in all facets of property disputes, spousal support, custody/access and child support, with a particular interest in Hague Convention cases. He also maintains a civil litigation practice, including employment law, product liability cases, collections and a variety of other general litigation matters. He has experience in mediations, both judicial and private, and advocacy experience at all levels of Court in Alberta, including significant trial and appellate work.

Jason is a long-serving and dedicated volunteer with Calgary Legal Guidance, receiving the Allan D. Hunter Volunteer of the Year Award in 2008. In addition to numerous fundraising efforts and community development projects, he has served as a board member for Cause Canada.

An avid outdoorsman and sports enthusiast, Jason continues to assist with his family's farm near Peers, AB.

Law Practice

Family Law

Civil Litigation

Called to the Bar

Alberta, 2002

Education

LL.B., University of Alberta, 2001

B.A. with distinction, University of Alberta, 1995

Professional Experience

Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, 2001-present

Joined partnership of Dunphy Best Blocksom LLP, Jan. 2010

Memberships

Canadian Bar Association

Calgary Bar Association

Awards and Recognition

Calgary Legal Guidance

- Allan D. Hunter Volunteer of the Year Award, 2008

Community Involvement

Cause Canada

- Board of Directors

MEDIA CONTACT:

Kelly Doody
Communications Advisor
Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry
Ph: 403-969-0335
Email: media@abhealthinquiry.ca

Sarah Geddes
Communications Advisor
Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry
Ph: 403-802-0200
Email: media@abhealthinquiry.ca

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The following pictures are available for download:

[Image] JASON L. WILKINS
[Image] MICHELE H. HOLLINS, Q.C.
Source: Health Services Preferential Access Inquiry