Bora Laskin was born in Fort William (Thunder Bay), Ontario, on October 5, 1912. He was the son of Max Laskin and Bluma Zingel. After graduating with a B.A. from the University of Toronto in 1933, he enrolled at Osgoode Hall Law School. From 1933 to 1936, he served his articles and continued to study at the University of Toronto, earning an M.A. in 1935 and an LL.B. in 1936.
The following year, he received an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. Upon his return to Toronto that year, he was called to the bar and began his legal career writing headnotes for The Canadian Abridgement. In 1940 he embarked on a teaching career that spanned 25 years, mostly at the University of Toronto except for four years at Osgoode Hall (1945-49). He was the author of many legal texts, including Canadian Constitutional Law, and was associate editor of Dominion Law Reports and Canadian Criminal Cases for 23 years.
He was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1965 and to the Supreme Court of Canada on March 19, 1970. On December 27, 1973, he was named Chief Justice of Canada. He served on the Supreme Court for 14 years.
Chief Justice Laskin died on March 26, 1984, at the age of 71.