Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

News Release

June 23, 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 P. Andras Schreck, a judge of the Ontario Court of Justice, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto. He replaces Madam Justice N.L. Backhouse, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 6, 2017.

Markus Koehnen, a partner at McMillan LLP, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto. He replaces Mr. Justice F.J.C. Newbould, who resigned effective June 1, 2017.

Darlene L. Summers, a sole practitioner with Thompson Summers Family Law, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario and a member of the Family Court in Ottawa. She replaces Madam Justice V.J. MacKinnon, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 5, 2016.

Cynthia Petersen, a partner at Goldblatt Partners LLP, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Brampton. She replaces Madam Justice M. Donohue, whom the Chief Justice has transferred to Hamilton.

Sally A. Gomery, a senior partner at Norton Rose Fulbright LLP, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Ottawa, effective July 1, 2017. She replaces Mr. Justice R.J. Smith, who will become a supernumerary judge effective July 1, 2017.

Biographies

Justice P. Andras Schreck graduated from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1994. Prior to his appointment to the Ontario Court of Justice in 2014, he practised law for 18 years and was a partner in the law firms of Schreck Presser LLP and Schreck & Greene, where he acted for clients at all levels of court, primarily in the areas of criminal and constitutional law. He has argued more than 100 appeals in the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, including a number of significant constitutional cases. Justice Schreck has been an adjunct professor in the law of evidence at both the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School. He is a frequent lecturer in continuing legal education programs for lawyers and judges on topics such as criminal and constitutional law and the law of evidence, both in Canada and internationally. He was a Director and Vice-President of the Ontario Criminal Lawyers’ Association. 

Justice Schreck has been a member of the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children’s Family-Centred Care Advisory Council, the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network legal strategy committee, and the Board of Directors of the Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted. He was also a member of the Ontario Court of Appeal Duty Counsel Program, assisting unrepresented individuals in the Court of Appeal. He is currently a member of the board of trustees of a small independent girls’ school. 

Excerpts from Justice Schreck’s judicial application will be available shortly.

Before being appointed to the bench, Justice Markus Koehnen practised complex commercial litigation at McMillan LLP for 29 years, during which he appeared before courts of all levels, securities commissions, and international arbitration tribunals. His practice led him to work with a wide variety of legal and social cultures, including those of China, Iran, and Nigeria. He was active in the International Bar Association, where he served as chair of the Litigation Committee. Justice Koehnen is the author of Oppression and Related Remedies, which has been cited frequently by courts throughout Canada, including the Supreme Court of Canada. In addition, he has contributed to various books dealing with director and officer liability, privilege, and arbitration.

Justice Koehnen was born to immigrant parents and grew up in modest circumstances in Toronto. He was the first of his extended family to attend university, earning a B.A. and LL.B. from the University of Toronto and a diplôme d’études approfondies in international economic law from the Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators and a long-time contributor to the director education program run by the Institute of Corporate Directors and the Rotman School of Management. Justice Koehnen’s wife came to Canada as an Ismaili refugee from Uganda. They have two children and live outside Toronto.

Excerpts from Justice Koehnen’s judicial application will be available shortly.

After working in the insurance industry in Ottawa and Edmonton, Justice Darlene L. Summers received her undergraduate degree (1985) and law degree (1988) from Queen’s University in Kingston. From the beginning of her legal career with Burke-Robertson in Ottawa, where she became a managing partner, she practised exclusively family law. In 2002, she joined Steinberg Thompson d’Artios Rockman Summers, and ten years ago, co-founded the firm of Thompson Summers, Family Law. Her practice touched all aspects of family law, and she handled files in Nunavut as well as Ontario.

Justice Summers’ contribution to legal education includes teaching, judging student moot and negotiation competitions, conference presentations, and panel discussions on family law and professionalism issues. In the community, she volunteered for a number of years as a board member and member of the executive committee of Family Services Ottawa (previously the Family Service Centre of Ottawa-Carleton) and worked on a fundraising committee for the Ottawa chapter of Dress for Success, a charitable organization that assists women in their return to paid employment by providing work attire and a network of support.

Born and raised in the small community of Winchester, Ontario, with two sisters, Justice Summers is proud of her rural heritage.

Excerpts from Justice Summers’s judicial application will be available shortly.

Justice Cynthia Petersen was born and raised in a bilingual home in Châteauguay, Quebec. After obtaining an LL.M. from Harvard University (1990), she began her legal career as a professor at the University of Ottawa. Her early scholarship on systemic racism in the jury-selection process was cited in Ontario court decisions that led to changes in the criminal justice system. 

After five years in academia, Justice Petersen shifted gears, moved to Toronto and joined Goldblatt Partners LLP, where she practised labour law, human rights law, and Charter litigation for 22 years. Widely regarded as one of the country’s leading constitutional litigators, she appeared before the Supreme Court and numerous courts of appeal in landmark Charter cases that helped to shape Canada’s equality jurisprudence. She is renowned for her work in combating discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and is a prominent figure within Canada’s LGBT communities. She has received numerous honours throughout her career and is an inductee of Canada’s Queer Hall of Fame (2011).

In addition to her advocacy, Justice Petersen has extensive experience in roles that require impartiality. She has conducted investigations into harassment complaints, acted as a mediator, and sat on the Canadian Judicial Council’s Committee of Inquiry into the conduct of Justice Robin Camp (2016). As Discrimination and Harassment Counsel for the Law Society of Upper Canada (2002-2017), she provided dispute resolution services to parties involved in complaints about lawyers’ and paralegals’ conduct. Throughout her career, Justice Petersen has remained committed to education. This has included leading anti-homophobia workshops for the National Judicial Institute, lecturing and teaching in faculties of law, and mentoring young lawyers and articling students.

Excerpts from Justice Petersen’s judicial application will be available shortly.

After receiving degrees in common law and civil law from McGill University, Justice Sally A. Gomery articled at the Supreme Court of Canada, first with the Honourable Frank Iacobucci and then with the Honourable Claire L’Heureux-Dubé. She began her practice at McCarthy Tétrault in Montreal. Moving to Ottawa a few years later, she became a partner at Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose Fulbright) in 2000.

Raised within a family that loved to debate, Justice Gomery gravitated naturally to litigation. She was recognized for her exceptional written and oral advocacy skills, representing clients in English and in French before courts in Ontario and Quebec and across Canada. A mentor to many young lawyers and students, she acted as a skills instructor for the Advocates’ Society. 

During 26 years as a civil litigator, Justice Gomery handled a wide array of disputes, but was particularly active in the areas of insurance, medical malpractice and health sector regulation, and class action defence. She also advised on procurement and led investigations of potential wrongdoing within organizations and companies. She was the head of her firm’s Business Ethics and Anti-Corruption team.

Justice Gomery has a deep commitment to diversity and inclusion, and led efforts within her firm and the legal profession to promote equality of opportunity for all individuals. As a director on a variety of not-for-profit boards, she advocated for women, persons with disabilities, the homeless, refugees, and youth. She has also served as Vice-Chancellor of the Anglican diocese of Ottawa.

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

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 includes 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 will 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.
  • 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.

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Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Kathleen Davis

Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor

Office of the Minister of Justice

613-992-4621

 

Media Relations

Department of Justice Canada

613-957-4207

media@justice.gc.ca


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