Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

News Release

April 7, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

The Honourable David M. Paciocco, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa, is appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He replaces Mr. Justice J.I. Laskin, who elected supernumerary status effective September 1, 2016.

Deborah Swartz, a sole practitioner in Kingston, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and a member of the Family Court in Kingston effective April 10, 2017. She will replace Madam Justice C. Robertson, who will become a supernumerary judge effective April 10, 2017.


Prior to Mr. Justice David M. Paciocco’s elevation to the Court of Appeal, he sat as a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice in Ottawa. Considered one of Canada’s pre-eminent legal minds in the law of evidence and criminal procedure, his appointment to the Ontario Court of Justice was widely applauded. Throughout his career as an academic and judge, his work has been widely cited by the Supreme Court of Canada, Canadian courts of all levels, the Privy Council, and courts in New Zealand and Australia.

Born in Sault Ste. Marie, in a family with Italian roots, and with a maternal grandmother with status in an American Chippewa band, Justice Paciocco earned his law degree from the University of Western Ontario and then pursued graduate studies at the University of Oxford, where he received a B.C.L. During the entire tenure of his academic career as a professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, he concurrently worked as an Assistant Crown Attorney and then as a criminal defence lawyer at Edelson Clifford d’Angelo LLP. These dual roles informed his work, both as Commission Counsel to the Taman Inquiry into the Investigation and Prosecution of Derek Harvey-Zenk and his prolific academic writing. He has authored or co-authored five books, including the treatise The Law of Evidence, and more than 150 academic chapters and articles. Justice Paciocco has received numerous awards for his contribution to the law, including the Mundell Medal (2002) and a honourary doctorate from Laurentian University (2005).

Excerpts from Mr. Justice Paciocco’s judicial application can be accessed at the following link.

After obtaining her LL.B. from Queen’s University, Madam Justice Deborah Swartz went on to practise as an associate at Bishop Law Office in Kingston. There, she maintained a broad practice, including criminal and family law, civil litigation, and estate litigation. In 2006, she opened her own firm as a sole practitioner focusing on family law, mediation, family arbitration, and parenting coordination. During this time, she acted for children and young people through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. She has assisted unrepresented litigants for over 20 years as Duty Counsel and in the Family Law Information Centre.  

Justice Swartz’s dedication to her community runs deep. She has served on numerous committees of the Frontenac County Law Association, was a placement supervisor for Queen’s Clinical Family Law students, was a leader in the Kingston Collaborative Family Law Group, and served on the Kingston Superior Court Bench and Bar Committee. While serving her community, Justice Swartz has also maintained a hobby farm and apiary with her husband. She is a farm member of the International Fainting Goat Association and the Ontario Beekeeping Association.

Excerpts from Madam Justice Swartz’s judicial application can be accessed at the following link.

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 proposes additional funding of $55 million over five years beginning in 2017-2018 and $15.5 million per year thereafter for 28 new federally-appointed judges. Of these new positions, 12 would be allotted to Alberta and one to the Yukon, with the remaining 15 being assigned to a pool for needs in other jurisdictions.
  • To ensure a judiciary that is responsive, ethical and sensitive to the evolving needs of Canadian society, the Canadian Judicial Council will receive $2.7 million over five years and $0.5 million ongoing thereafter. This will support programming on judicial education, ethics and conduct, including in relation to gender and cultural sensitivity.
  • Today’s appointments are separate from the Budget 2017 announcement.
  • Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
  • The Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada play a key role in evaluating judicial applications. There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
  • Significant reforms to the role and structure of the Judicial Advisory Committees, aimed at enhancing the independence and transparency of the process, were announced on October 20, 2016.
  • The Judicial Advisory Committees in seven jurisdictions, including Alberta, were reconstituted and announced on January 19, 2017.  
  • This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment 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.


For more information, media may contact:

David Taylor
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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