Government of Canada announces judicial appointments and reforms the appointments process to increase openness and transparency

News Release

October 20, 2016 – Ottawa, ON – Department of Justice Canada

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, today announced 24 judicial appointments – as well as new measures to strengthen the role of Judicial Advisory Committees in the judicial appointment process. These measures will increase the openness, transparency, accountability, and diversity of Canada’s judiciary.

While the Judicial Advisory Committees (JACs) will remain at the heart of the appointment process, changes will be made – effective immediately – to reform the process. These changes include:

  • reconstituted committees that better reflect the diversity of our great country
  • revised committee mandates to increase the independence of their processes; and
  • an open selection process for the three members of each committee who represent the general public – a measure which aims to ensure that Canadians are properly represented in the appointment process.

Moving forward, all judicial appointments made by the Government of Canada, excluding Supreme Court of Canada appointments, will be completed under the reformed appointments process.

With today’s announcement, Canada continues to demonstrate its commitment to a robust, highly-qualified, diverse, and independent judiciary.

Quote

“We have moved to fill urgent judicial vacancies by drawing on existing lists of recommended candidates. The government is confident in the outstanding quality of these appointees and their dedication to delivering just outcomes for Canadians.”

“We know that the quality of Canada’s judiciary is second to none. The measures we are introducing today will make the judicial appointments process more open, transparent and accountable for future appointments, resulting in a judiciary that is more reflective of Canada’s diversity.”

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick Facts

  • There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
  • The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs administers the Judicial Advisory Committees. The Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, established in 1978, reports directly to the Minister of Justice and provides administrative support to Judicial Advisory Committees. Its role is to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and assess the qualification of lawyers applying for federal judicial appointments.
  • Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
  • This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointments process announced on August 2, 2016. Nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada are selected by the Prime Minister from a thoroughly-vetted list of candidates.
  • The new processes for judicial appointments and the JACs will replace the changes introduced in 2006.

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Contacts

Valérie Gervais
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations
Department of Justice
613-957-4207

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