Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of British Columbia

News Release

May 12, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment 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. 

W. Paul Riley, Q.C., Senior General Counsel with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. He replaces Madam Justice C.J. Ross, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 1, 2016.


After earning his LL.B. from Dalhousie University in 1995, Mr. Justice W. Paul Riley articled with the federal Department of Justice in Vancouver. From 1997 until his appointment to the bench, Mr. Justice Riley practised as Crown counsel with what is now the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. In 2007, he became the head of the British Columbia Regional Office’s appeals group. He has conducted hundreds of appeals in the British Columbia Court of Appeal and appeared over a dozen times as lead counsel in the Supreme Court of Canada in cases involving important issues of criminal and constitutional law.

Mr. Justice Riley was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014. He has served on numerous committees, including the PPSC’s National Litigation Committee and the British Columbia Court of Appeal’s Criminal Appeals Advisory Committee. Moreover, he has served his local community by working at an Access Pro Bono legal clinic and by volunteering one night per week at the Salvation Army’s Gateway of Hope homeless shelter. Mr. Justice Riley is also an avid distance runner. He ran competitively in university, has since completed numerous marathons, and at one point maintained a streak of 9.5 years of running at least once per day, but is now content to share this enthusiasm with other avid runners in his family.

Excerpts from Justice Riley’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 ten jurisdictions have been reconstituted. Most recently, Minister Wilson-Raybould announced the composition of three new Judicial Advisory Committees on April 13, 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:

Kathleen Davis
Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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