A graduate of the University of Western Ontario in 1955 and of the University of Toronto Law School in 1958 when he received his degree of Juris Doctor from the Governing Council of the University of Toronto, Mr. Grafstein was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1960. He lectured in Commercial Law and later instructed in the Bar Admissions Course at Osgoode Hall Law School. He has given lectures to law students on the role of lawyers in civil society and to Certified General Accountants. He served as Chairman of the Media and Communications Law subsection of the Canadian and Ontario Bar Associations.
He was appointed Queen's Counsel by the Province of Ontario in 1972.
In January 1984 he was appointed to the Senate by then Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In July 2007 he was elected Vice President of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly (OSCE PA), the largest governmental human rights organization in the world, consisting of 56 parliamentary states from Vancouver to Vladivostok. He belonged to interparliamentary groups and associations in Europe, Asia and Latin America and was a member of the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. He was Co-chair of the Canada-US Interparliamentary Group, the largest parliamentary group in Canada for 15 years. He was Co-chair of the 1988 Toronto Economic Summit Preparation Committee. He was Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce and during his chairmanship completed 20 reports.
Mr. Grafstein served on every Senate Committee, including the Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and was the longest serving member of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He retired from the Senate on January 2, 2010.
Mr. Grafstein is a Co-founder and advisor to communications and e-commerce corporations in North America, South America and Europe.
Published articles, lectures, panel appearances and conference leadership have been in the areas of technology, television, cable, film, broadcasting and finance – corporate and international.
Mr. Grafstein was a member of the Executive of the 2008 Toronto Olympic Bid Committee. He is a patron of many Arts and Health organizations. He spearheaded the 2001 “Canada Loves New York Weekend,” the Rolling Stones concert in 2003, and the Tsunami Relief Canada for Asia telethon in 2004. He was named an Honourary Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps and an Honourary Fire Chief of New York City by the Canada-US Interparliamentary Group. In 2005 he was named one of Canada’s top 100 Public Intellectuals; and was made Duke of Friulani in Italy. He currently serves on a number of communications media boards.