Mayor Jim Watson presented the Key to the City to Ronald F. Caza at a ceremony at City Hall this evening, in recognition of his illustrious and distinguished legal career and his dedication to Ottawa’s francophone community.
Born in Chelmsford Ontario, Ronald Caza came to Ottawa to study Law at the University of Ottawa. He never left, working at various firms in Ottawa throughout his career before starting his own boutique firm, Caza Saikaley s.r.l./LLP. One of Mr. Caza’s most famous cases was Lalonde v. Ontario. Defending minority language rights, Mr. Caza was able to help stop the closing of the Montfort Hospital. The landmark win brought Ottawa’s Francophone community together and kept Ontario’s only French-language teaching hospital open.
Mr. Caza has successfully argued other language rights cases and has won numerous awards for his work as a lawyer. He was awarded the Order of Ontario in 2017, the province’s highest honour, for his advocacy work for Francophone culture and language rights.
Mr. Caza has also been very active in the Ottawa community. He has chaired the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations, including United Way Ottawa, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale (RGA) and Écho d’un peuple. He currently chairs the boards of directors of the Montfort Foundation, Unique FM and the Dominican University College. He has helped raise millions of dollars for the Shenkman Arts Centre and Project STEP.
“Ronald Caza has been a strong voice for Ottawa his entire career. While he is be remembered most for his work to save the Montfort Hospital and his commitment to our Francophone community, he has done so much more for the City. From volunteer work to fundraising, Mr. Caza has always strived to make Ottawa a better place for all residents.”
Mayor Jim Watson, City of Ottawa
- The Key to the City is Ottawa’s most prestigious award.
- An ornamental key is presented to esteemed residents, visitors and others whom the City wishes to honour. This practice evokes medieval walled cities, the gates of which would be guarded during the day and locked at night. The key symbolizes the freedom of the recipient to enter and leave the city at will, as a trusted friend of residents.
- Previous recipients include:
- Author and lawyer Maureen McTeer
- Figure skater Patrick Chan
- Former politician Paul W. Dewar
- Organ donor advocate Hélène Campbell
- President and CEO of the National Arts Centre Peter A. Herrndorf
- The Right Honourable David Johnston and Mrs. Sharon Johnston
- Her Royal Highness Princess Elizabeth (now Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II)
- Her Royal Highness Princess Margriet of the Netherlands
- Author Margaret Atwood
- Photographers Yousuf and Malak Karsh
- The Community Foundation of Ottawa
- Actress Sandra Oh
- Former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson
- The Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, former Chief Justice of Canada
- Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek
- Journalist Michel Picard
Bio - Mr. Ronald F. Caza
Raised in the small Franco-Ontarian village of Chelmsford, Mr. Caza earned an Honours BA degree in Economics and Philosophy from Laurentian University and a Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Ottawa.
Mr. Caza’s practice covers all aspects of civil litigation, with no single area of specialization. He began his career at an Ottawa law firm, eventually becoming Chief Partner of the Ottawa office and a member of the National Management Committee at one of Canada’s largest firms—Heenan Blaikie. Today, he is a partner at the boutique law firm Caza Saikaley s.r.l./LLP. For nearly a decade, Mr. Caza taught civil procedure in the Faculty of Law’s French Common Law Program at the University of Ottawa. He is also a member of the Common Law Honour Society at the University of Ottawa. Over the course of his career, Mr. Caza has argued cases in all regions of the country and at all levels, including before the Supreme Court of Canada. He has defended minority language rights in a number of important cases, including Lalonde vs. Ontario (the Montfort Hospital case), DesRochers vs. Industry Canada and Nguyen vs. Quebec.
Mr. Caza has earned many distinctions, including an appointment to the AJEFO’s Ordre du mérite, an honorary diploma from Collège Boréal and an honorary doctorate from Laurentian University.
Mr. Caza has chaired the boards of directors of several non-profit organizations, including United Way Ottawa, the Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la capitale nationale (RGA) and Écho d’un peuple. Furthermore, he has played a key role in multiple fundraising campaigns. For instance, he chaired the campaign that raised $3 million for the Shenkman Arts Centre in Orléans. He also co-chaired the $6 million Project STEP campaign in support of building two residential facilities (one French and one English) to support adolescents with drug and alcohol addictions. Mr. Caza currently chairs the board of directors of the Montfort Foundation, Unique FM (a Francophone community radio station) and the Dominican University College.
In 2012, Mr. Caza’s peers selected him for inclusion in Benchmark Canada’s list of the country’s best corporate and business lawyers. In 2015, Benchmark Canada recognized him as one of the province’s top litigators. In 2016, he received the prestigious Law Society Medal from the Law Society of Ontario, in recognition of his outstanding service in accordance with the highest ideals of the legal profession. In 2017, Mr. Caza was officially appointed to the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour, for having shown outstanding qualities of individual excellence and achievement as a strong advocate for the language rights and culture of Franco-Ontariens.
Above all, he is the proud grandfather of Fahsai, Loïq and Violet.