Board and Committees

The College is lead by a Chief Executive Officer and Registrar along with a Board of Directors. Once fully operational the Board will consist of appointed (4) and elected (3) Directors.
The start-up Board will remain in Office until the new Board takes office, likely in 2022.


Thomas G. Conway - Chair

Thomas G. Conway is a partner at Conway Baxter Wilson LLP, a law firm based in Ottawa, Ontario. Mr. Conway has practised litigation for 30 years and is recognized by his peers as a leading practitioner in corporate and commercial litigation.

From 2012 to 2014, Mr. Conway served as treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, the highest elected office of the largest regulator of the legal professions in Canada. He led several important regulatory initiatives during his tenure at the Law Society. In 2014–2015, he served as president of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, the umbrella organization of Canada’s 14 provincial and territorial regulators.

Mr. Conway is an honorary member of the law societies of Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan. In 2017, the Law Society of Ontario awarded him an LLD (hon. causa) in recognition of his contributions to regulating the legal professions in Canada and to the cause of access to justice.

Jeffrey Astle - Director

Jeffrey Astle is an intellectual property (IP) lawyer, patent and trademark agent, and business executive with over 30 years of experience. Mr. Astle was Associate General Counsel—Intellectual Property for Pratt & Whitney Canada Corp. (P&WC), at its head office in Longueuil, Quebec until his retirement in 2021.

Mr. Astle oversaw P&WC’s IP legal team responsible for implementing the company’s corporate IP strategies and processes, managing its patent and trademark portfolios and IP litigation, and providing legal and business support for IP aspects of all P&WC agreements and IP- and technology-related legal matters.

Mr. Astle joined P&WC in 1994, moving in-house from the Toronto law offices of Smart & Biggar. He is a registered Canadian and U.S. patent agent, is a member of the Law Society of Ontario and is licensed by the Barreau du Québec as corporate counsel. He obtained his BASc in chemical engineering from the University of Windsor (1985), MASc in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto (1987) and LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School (1990).

Mr. Astle is also a Fellow and former president of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), Canada’s professional association of patent agents, trademark agents and lawyers practising IP law.

Karima Bawa - Director

Karima Bawa is a senior fellow with the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). Her research focuses on issues surrounding the commercialization of university research and development and capacity building in intellectual property (IP) strategy for Canadian innovators.
For the past several years, Ms. Bawa has been involved in various initiatives designed to help organizations better protect and leverage their IP rights. Most recently, she joined the Standards Council of Canada Technical Committee as an expert, representing Canada’s interests for the forthcoming IP Management Standard (ISO 50505). Ms. Bawa advises and supports technology start-ups and scale-ups.

Before her role at CIGI, Ms. Bawa was the chief legal officer and general counsel at Research In Motion (BlackBerry). In the 12 years she served at Research In Motion, she was a member of the senior leadership team and oversaw a global legal team. She was also a member of various strategic and operational senior management committees.

Ms. Bawa is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Executive MBA program and BSc program. She also obtained a law degree from the University of British Columbia and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.

Ruth McHugh - Director

Ruth McHugh is an FCPA, an MBA and a governance specialist. As demonstrated throughout her career as a business leader and most recently in her role as chief operating officer at the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta (OAG), she has a proven history of creating a vision, building fantastic teams, sharing stories to inspire stakeholders and delivering results.

Before joining the OAG, Ms. McHugh was chief financial officer and director of operations at the Art Gallery of Alberta and had a distinguished career as director of operations and controller of Company’s Coming Publishing Limited.

Ms. McHugh also served as co-chair of the Alberta Accountants Unification Agency and in that capacity had a major role in creating single chartered professional accountant designation for Alberta. Before that, she served two consecutive terms as board chair for CMA Alberta and a term as vice-chair of the CMA Canada Council of Chairs. In 2011, she was named a Fellow of the Society of Management Accountants of Canada for her distinguished service to the Canadian accounting profession.

Ms. McHugh holds an MBA from Heriot-Watt University and is a graduate of the ICD-Rotman Directors Education Program.

Douglas B. Thompson - Director

Douglas B. Thompson is lawyer (Alberta bar 1976 and B.C. bar 1979), Trademark Agent (since 1979), and Patent Agent (1988). After 10 years of general legal practice, Mr. Thompson decided to focus exclusively on IP law beginning in 1988. Since then, he has helped inventors and companies that develop new products to make the most of their IP.

Mr. Thompson is a founding partner at Thompson Cooper LLP, and senior counsel at Thompson Woodruff Intellectual Property Law. He has been active in numerous organizations, including the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada (IPIC), the Licensing Executives Society (LES), the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME).

Mr. Thompson obtained a law degree from the University of Alberta.


Registration Committee

The Registration Committee assists the Registrar in administering the College’s licensing requirements. The Committee:

  • approves standards for the evaluation of competencies and passing marks for the qualifying examinations; and
  • when requested by an applicant or a licensee, reviews decisions made by the Registrar under the By-laws.  

The Registration Committee is composed of a representative from the Patent Office and Office of the Registrar of Trademarks, licensees and members of the public. When reviewing a decision of the Registrar, the Registration Committee can request additional information, approve applications (with or without conditions), and conduct registration hearings. Decisions of the Registration Committee cannot be appealed to the Board.

Registration Committee: Terms of Reference

Registration Committee: Skills Matrix

Investigations Committee

The Investigations Committee is responsible for supporting the Board’s professional regulation and public protection mandate under the Act, Regulations, By-laws, Policies, Regulatory Objectives, Standards and Principles.  They will do this by:

  • Supporting the ethical and competent delivery of patent and trademark services by licensees
  • Seeking to resolve complaints and educate licensees where appropriate
  • Investigating or directing the investigation of complaints of professional misconduct or incompetence
  • Providing comprehensive, transparent and principled decisions to parties
  • Implementing policies and procedures to support a complaints process that is efficient, effective, fair, transparent and accountable

The Investigations Committee may dismiss or attempt to resolve complaints, issue advice or warnings to licensees, or refer matters to the Discipline Committee where there is evidence of professional misconduct or incompetence.

Investigations Committee: Terms of Reference

Investigations Committee: Skills Matrix

Discipline Committee

The Discipline Committee supports the College’s public protection mandate by hearing complaints (applications) of professional misconduct and/or incompetence referred to it by the Investigations Committee, in accordance with its authority under the Act, Regulations, By-laws and Policies, and with a view to the Regulatory Objectives, Standards and Principles.  The Committee may conduct its work through panels of 3 or 5, with a majority being non-licensees, or by the Chair alone in specified circumstances.

Hearings are conducted in public, and all policies and procedures will be published on the College’s website.  The work of the Discipline Committee will be transparent, fair, efficient, principled and proportionate, with written decisions and reasons supported by evidence that has been considered in a balanced and unbiased manner.  All decisions will be public.

Discipline Committee: Terms of Reference

Discipline Committee: Skills Matrix

Governance and Nominating Committee

Content to come

Audit and Risk Committee

Content to come