Colonel-Maître® Michel William Drapeau

(613) 236-2657 x200

Languages:  French, English
Security Classification: Secret Level



  • Lawyer and Public Notary. Called to the Ontario Bar in February 2002.
  • Professor (Adjunct) , Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario. Since 2009.
  • Holds a Civil Law (LL.L)  and Common Law (LL.B.) degrees.
  • Member of the OBA Council – 2014-2016 and 2016-2018.
  • Authored or co-authored several legal texts.
  • Experienced in providing ‘expert testimony‘ in Canadian military law in motor vehicle injury claims.
  • Served in the Royal Canadian Army Service Corps (R.C.A.S.C.) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) between 1959 and 1993.
  • Retired in 1993 in the rank of colonel.
  • Following retirement from the Canadian military, served for two years as an executive in the Federal Public Service of Canada


  • Bar Admission Course. Law Society of Upper Canada                                       2001-2002
  • LL.B. [Common Law] (Cum laude) University of Ottawa                                     2000
  • LL.L. ([Droit civil] (Cum laude) Université d’Ottawa                                              1999
  • Third year standing Bachelor of Commerce. Sir George Williams University 1971

Colonel-Maître® Michel W. Drapeau is a graduate of the following military institutions:

  • Canadian Forces Command and Staff College (Toronto)                                 1975
  • U.S. Armed Forces Staff College, (Norfolk, Virginia)                                           1977
  • U.S. Army Military Comptrollership School (Indianapolis)                                1977
  • National Defence College (Kingston Ontario)                                                      1988


  • Canadian Bar Association – National Council                                                      2014-2016
  • Ontario Bar Association    – Provincial Council                                                    2014-
  • Board of Governors, Saint-Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario                              2012-
    • President, Audit Committee, Saint-Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario      2017-
  • Board of Directors, The Saint Thomas More Lawyers’ Guild of Ottawa          2008-
  • Board of Governors, Royal Military College (Saint-Jean)                                    2008-2012


1.  Legal texts:          

  • Drapeau, Michel and Juneau, Joshua.  CALLING THE HOUSE TO ORDER: After 70 years of peace, it is time for greater civilian control over the Canadian military criminal justice system. (July 2017) – International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law
  • Drapeau, Michel and Hon. Létourneau  Gilles. BEHIND THE TIMES:  Reforming the Canadian Military Criminal Justice System, (March 2017)

   Published by Carswell

  • Hon. Gilles Létourneau, Professor Michel W. Drapeau. Military Justice In Action. (2011) [Second edition published in February 2015]
  • Hon. Gilles  Létourneau, Professor Michel W. Drapeau. Canadian Military Law Annotated. (2005)
  • Drapeau-Racicot. Federal Access to Information and Privacy Legislation Annotated. (17th Edition, 2018) – Soft Cover
  • Drapeau-Racicot. Federal Access to Information and Privacy Legislation. Hard Cover. Supplemented four times a year.
  • Drapeau-Racicot. Fundamentals of Privacy and Freedom of Information in Canada. (2010)
  • Drapeau-Racicot .Protection Privacy in the Canadian Private and Health Sectors. (8th Edition, 2014)
  • Drapeau. Canadian Encyclopedic Digest, 4th Edition– Military Law. (2010)

       Published by CCH Canadian Limited

  • Public Security Law Guide. [Volume I: Commentary on Public Security Cases and Decisions]; [Volume II: Federal and Provincial Legislation and Regulations] – (2002) – Colonel Drapeau served on the CCH Advisory Board set-up for the publication of this legal text.

 2.  Legal Periodicals:

  • Drapeau, Michel W. “Canadian Military Law: Sentencing under the National Defence Act: Perspectives and Musings of a Former Soldier“, Canadian Bar Review, Volume 82, Volume One, (2003) at 391.
  • Drapeau, Michel W. “What happens When Canadian Soldiers Commit Crime Abroad” delivered at an international Criminal Law conference sponsored by the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice  titled ” The Highway to the International Criminal Court: All Roads Lead to Rome. (2004) at 593

  3. Other periodicals.  Professor Drapeau regularly writes opinion pieces for publication in the following: a) the Hill Times, a weekly newspaper covering the Canadian government, the federal public service and federal policies; b) the military magazine, Esprit de Corps.  

He is also a regular blogger on the Yale University blog on Global Military Justice Reform.


Colonel-Maître® Michel W. Drapeau was born and raised in Sillery, Province of Québec.

A member of the Law Society of Upper Canada (LSUC). He is in the private practice of law in all areas of administrative law, in particular, access to information and privacy law, human rights law, employment law (grievances, workplace harassment), security, military/veterans law as well as civil litigation. He has appeared before the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court, the Federal Court of Canada, the Ontario Superior Court, the Quebec Superior Court and a host of administrative tribunals including the 2004-2006 Commission of Inquiry into the actions of Canadian Officials in Relation to Maher Arar and the 2012-2013 Fynes Public Hearings by the Military Police Complaints Commission.

In recognition of his research, teaching and publication of several legal texts, in May 2009 the Board of Governors, University of Ottawa has appointed Colonel-Maître® Drapeau as Professor [Adjunct], Common Law Section, Faculty of Law. His term has been renewed until 2020. Professor Drapeau lectures at the graduate and undergraduate levels at the Faculty of Law of the University of Ottawa:

  •     Access to Information and Privacy Law:    [DCL 5732 C and CML 4504B]; and
  •     Canadian Military Law:                                   [DCL 5123B and CML 3149].

Between 2006 and 2011, Professor Drapeau has lectured on Public Administration and the Law at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ottawa.  Between 2003-2010, he has lectured on Media and the Law to journalism students at the Cité Collégiale, Ottawa. During the past decade, he has also lectured on public law before several audiences, including members of the Ontario, Québec and Manitoba Bars. Professor Drapeau is regularly called upon to testify before Canadian parliamentary committees on access to information, military law and parliamentary privilege. He has also been invited to address various professional, academic and industry bodies on a wide range of military law and access to information law topics.

In September 2011, Colonel-Maître® Drapeau appeared as a guest speaker at the Conférence in Rhodes, Greece on “Military Jurisdictions” by the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War. In August and September 2013, he appeared before a US Congressional Panel on Response Systems on Military Justice in Washington, D.C., USA. In October 2013, he presented a paper at a Global Seminar on Military Justice Reform at Yale Law School. In July 2017 he presented a paper titled “CALLING THE HOUSE TO ORDER” before the 30th Annual Conference of the International Society of Reform of the Criminal Law held in San Francisco, California between July 8 and 13, 2017.

Professor Drapeau has written extensively, in the French and English languages, in the fields of military and veterans law as well as access to information and privacy law. His most recent book: Military Justice in Action was co-authored with the Honorable Mr. Justice (retired) Gilles Létourneau.  He is a regular contributor to Hill Times [the Canadian Parliament precinct’s weekly] and, the Canadian military magazine, Esprit de Corps.

Professor Drapeau has also been often called upon to testify before Canadian Parliamentary committees (House of Commons and the Senate) on issues related to: Canadian military law, access to information and privacy, parliamentary privilege and, Afghan detainees issues. He has been invited to address various professional, academic and industry bodies on a wide range of military law and access to information law topics.

In November 2015, he organized the first Conference on Military Justice hosted in an academic setting in Canada. The conference titled “Winds of Change” brought judges, jurists, practitioners, scholars, students and persons of interest into a forum to debate and exchange ideas for the reform of Canadian Military Law so as to bring it more in line with not only traditional Canadian legal doctrine and principles but in harmony with fundamental reforms enacted by a great majority of our allies. Reforms which have led to the shrinking of military jurisdiction in favor of increased civilian capacity and a FAIRER system that affords rights to our military personnel.

In 2017, he appeared as a panelist at the Annual Conference of the International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law at which he also presented a paper titled “Calling the House to Order.”


Colonel-Maître®  Drapeau was first enrolled in the Canadian Army (Voltigeurs de Québec) in 1959.

On commissioning in 1962, he joined the Regular Force where he served until August 1993 when, holding the rank of Colonel, he voluntarily retired and was honourably released from military service after accumulating 34 years of service. During his service as a combat logistician, Colonel-Maître® Drapeau served at home and abroad in a number of command and staff appointments, at various ranks, and within various echelons  all the way up to the Office of the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff at National Defence Headquarters [NDHQ].

During the last four years of his military service, Colonel Drapeau occupied the dual positions of Director, National Defence Headquarters (NDHQ) Secretariat and, Secretary, Armed Forces Council. His last appointment was as  Special Assistant to the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff.


In 1984, Colonel-Maître® Drapeau was seconded to the then federal Department of the Secretary of State to act as Deputy Coordinator of the Royal Visit by Her Majesty the Queen and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh to Canada (New Brunswick, Ontario, Manitoba).

On retirement from the military, Colonel-Maître® Drapeau went on to serve at the executive level in the Public Service of Canada for two years at NDHQ as the Director, Corporate Administration and acting Director General Corporate Management Services.


In the 1997 General Election, he campaigned as a Progressive-Conservative [PC] candidate in the Ottawa riding of Orléans promoting accountability and transparency in the management of the public business. In 1998, he successfully chaired the Eastern Ontario/Western Quebec’s leadership campaign of the Right Honorable Joe Clark for election as Leader of the then Progressive Conservative Party of Canada.


Colonel-Maître® Drapeau is a member of various organizations including the following

  • International Society for Military Law and the Law of War
  • International Society for the Reform of Criminal Law
  • American Bar Association
  • Association of Military Court Advocates – United Kingdom
  • Law Society of Upper Canada (Bar of Ontario)
  • Canadian Bar Association
  • Ontario Bar Association   (Also serves on OBA Council)
  • Association des juristes d’expression française de l’Ontario (AJEFO)
  • Canadian Civil Liberties Association
  • Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice
  • County of Carleton Law Association
  • Canadian Association of Law Teachers
  • Royal Military Colleges Club of Canada (RMC Club)
  • Québec Garrison Club – Québec City (Member Emeritus)
  • Hylands Golf Club – Ottawa
  • Army Ottawa Officers’ Mess


Since retirement from the Canadian military, Colonel-Maître® Drapeau has gained a national profile as a bilingual media analyst and columnist on defence and military affairs  He is available to provide expert commentary in English and French on strategic, security, defence and military affairs on electronic and print media. He also has expertise in the access to information (freedom of information} and privacy law domains.


  • In 1990, he has been appointed to the Order of Military Merit (Grade: Officer) [OMM].
  • In 1992, he was awarded the Commemorative Medal for the 125th Anniversary of the Confederation of Canada.
  • In 2002, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal.
  • In 2012, he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal marking the 60th anniversary of her accession to the Throne as Queen of Canada.


Michel  was born the third in a family of eight children. In March 1964, he married Nicole Bélanger-Drapeau, a dietitian. They have one son, Me Daniel S. Drapeau, who practices Intellectual Property law (DrapeauLex) in Montréal, Province of Québec.