Horace Krever, who led inquiries on medical records and blood system, remembered
TORONTO — An Ontario judge known for leading national inquiries on Canada's blood donation system and the privacy of medical records is being remembered for his unwavering commitment to justice.
Horace Krever, a former lawyer, law professor and judge, died in Toronto on April 30 at the age 94.
Krever was known for chairing multiple inquiries, but one of the most famous ones was the 1977 Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Confidentiality of Health Information, which made medical records private.
He also led the Commission of Inquiry on the Blood System in Canada, which investigated how the blood donation system became contaminated with the human immunodeficiency virus and hepatitis C virus during the 1980s.
Kat Lanteigne, the co-founder of a group that advocates for the recommendations Krever made in the blood system inquiry, says she has been getting calls and emails from tainted blood survivors since his death encouraging her group to keep carrying on Krever's work.
"The attention to detail that Justice Krever oversaw in his inquiry, and the time that he gave to people who had been impacted, was unseen in Canada," Lanteigne, of BloodWatch, said through tears in a phone interview.
"In many ways, he was their advocate, and a steward and a protector of justice and truth. He is ultimately revered by so many because he was unwavering in his commitment to justice."
Krever's work was so thorough, the 1993 public inquiry into the Canadian blood system also became known as the "Krever Inquiry."
At the time, the inquiry learned at least 2,000 recipients of blood and blood products contracted HIV between 1980 and 1985 and 30,000 transfusion recipients were infected with hepatitis C, a potentially debilitating liver disease, between 1980 and 1990. Approximately 8,000 of those who received tainted blood products were expected to die as a result.
The inquiry's final report made a series of recommendations that changed the way donated blood is screened and processed in Canada.
"Justice Krever's recommendations have now been adapted internationally, which is unprecedented in public health and we are honoured to continue his work," Lanteigne said.
Lawyer Harvey Strosberg, who worked with Krever on the health information inquiry and later became his friend, says the former judge always stuck to his principles and was a kind man.
During the high-profile inquiries that made him a household name, Strosberg said, Krever also showed himself to be someone who was unpretentious.
"At the time, justices had limousines," Strosberg said. "Horace took the subway. He walked everywhere."
He also recalled calling Krever in 1998, as then-president of the Law Society of Ontario, to offer him an honorary LLD, a doctor of laws degree, for his years of work -- the highest form of appreciation the law society offers.
"Horace said the law society doesn't have jurisdiction to deliver an LLD," Strosberg said with a laugh.
"Just so Horace."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 8, 2023.
Fakiha Baig, The Canadian Press