YALDEN, Maxwell F.
Max Yalden passed away on the morning of February 9, 2015, at the Ottawa Hospital. Deeply beloved husband for over 60 years of Janice Yalden. Loving father of Robert and the late Cicely Yalden. Devoted father-in-law and grandfather to Pearl Eliadis and Zoë Yalden.
Max was born in Toronto on April 12, 1930. After receiving his BA from Victoria College, University of Toronto in 1952, he attended the University of Paris, and then completed graduate studies in philosophy at the University of Michigan, receiving his MA in 1954 and Ph.D. in l956.
Max was a devoted Canadian public servant. He joined the Department of External Affairs in 1956 and was posted to Moscow in 1958. In 1960, he served on the Canadian Delegation to the Geneva Conference on Disarmament and was with the Department's Disarmament Division in Ottawa until 1963. Max was then posted to the Canadian Embassy in Paris as first secretary and became counsellor in 1965. He returned to Ottawa in 1967, as special advisor to the Under-Secretary of State for External Affairs.
From 1969 to 1973, Max served as Assistant Under-Secretary of State in the Department of the Secretary of State. He was then appointed Deputy Minister of Communications in May 1973, serving in that position until September 1977.
In 1977 Max was appointed Commissioner of Official Languages, a position he held for seven years. He was profoundly committed to official bilingualism and was instrumental in advancing its acceptance across Canada.
In 1984, he was appointed Canadian Ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg.
In 1987, Max was named Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, a position he held for a decade. He worked tirelessly for human rights in Canada, with notable accomplishments in a number of areas including the inclusion of sexual orientation as a prohibited ground of discrimination in the Canadian Human Rights Act and the advancement of Canadians' understanding of discrimination facing our Aboriginal peoples.
In 1996 and 2000, Max was elected to the United Nations Human Rights Committee and served in that capacity for eight years. He was the author of Transforming Rights - Reflections from the Front Lines (University of Toronto Press, 2009) and a member of the Honorary Board of Equitas - International Centre for Human Rights Education.
Max was named a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Commandeur de l'ordre de la Pléaide. He also received honorary doctorates from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.
A private burial was held and a memorial service will take place at a later date. Donations may be made to the Ottawa Hospital or the University of Ottawa Heart Institute.
Tuesday February 17, 2015
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