Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Ontario

News Release

September 29, 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.

Bernadette Dietrich, a partner with McCarthy Tétrault, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto. She replaces Mr. Justice Ian V.B. Nordheimer, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on September 14, 2017.


Madam Justice Bernadette Dietrich practised trust and estate law at McCarthy Tétrault for 24 years. During this time, she was privileged to serve a wide range of clients, both individual and corporate, including charitable organizations. In addition to assisting her clients with complex estate and trust planning, she represented them in contentious and litigious matters.

Justice Dietrich’s expertise in trust and estates law will reinforce the Superior Court’s capacity in this fast-growing area of the law. She is a co-author of Widdifield on Executors and Trustees, which is often cited by Canadian courts. She is a member of the editorial board of STEP Inside, published by the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (Canada), of which she is a member. In addition to having written extensively in the area of trusts and estates, Justice Dietrich has been a frequent lecturer and chair of legal education programs. She was an instructor in the Estate Administration Course for the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario and an advisor to the Institute, as well as an instructor for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Bar Admission Course in the Estate Planning and Administration Section. She is a past-chair of the Ontario Bar Association Trusts and Estates Section and a former editor of the section’s Deadbeat publication.

Having grown up in rural Ontario, Justice Dietrich received her LL.B. from the University of Ottawa, and is pleased to have made Toronto her home. In Toronto, among other charitable activities, she has had the opportunity to serve as a director and vice-chair of the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and to be a part of a grassroots charity aimed at providing support to families with Down syndrome children.

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

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 have been 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 15 jurisdictions have been reconstituted. Most recently, Minister Wilson-Raybould announced the composition of five new Judicial Advisory Committees on June 28, 2017.
  • This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment process opened on July 14, 2017. 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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