News release

Mississauga City Solicitor Named President of International Municipal Lawyers Association

Local government | October 27, 2016

Mississauga City Solicitor, Mary Ellen Bench has been named President of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA).

Bench was named President at the annual conference on Sunday, October 2 in San Diego, California. Bench is the second Canadian to hold the position.

“I attended my first IMLA conference nearly 25 years ago and came to rely on IMLA for comparative research on administrative law issues,” said Bench. “I have been an active member since then, and held various roles within the organization. As President, I look forward to advancing our Vision 20/20 Strategic Plan and continuing to meet the expectations of the membership.”

Called to the bar in 1986, Bench has spent most of her career in municipal law, practising at the City of Toronto before coming to the City of Mississauga.

“I am delighted and honoured at the election of Mary Ellen Bench as IMLA President from 2016 to 2017,” said Chuck Thompson, IMLA’s Executive Director. “Bench has been at the forefront of innovation for the Association and has worked diligently in promoting a Canadian presence with Canadian programming at IMLA Annual Conferences. Her expansive knowledge of municipal law and of the challenges cities face in today’s environment make her a leader among and resource for other municipal lawyers throughout North America.”

Bench was one of the first lawyers in Canada to be certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in Municipal Law. She also holds the designation on Certified In-House Counsel granted by the Canadian Corporate Counsel Association and the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. In 2012, she received the International Municipal Lawyers Association’s Bruce A. Noble Award. In 2015, she received the Ontario Bar Association’s Tom Marshall Award for public sector achievements and this year, was the recipient of a 2016 Osgoode Hall Law School Gold Key Award in the Public Sector category.

The IMLA is a non-profit, professional organization based in the Washington D.C. area. IMLA has been an advocate and valuable legal resource for local government attorneys since 1935. For more information, visit

Media Contact:   
Carley Smith DeBenedictis
Senior Communications Advisor
City of Mississauga
905-615-3200, ext. 4203
TTY: 905-896-5151