Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

News Release

October 20, 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.

Peter G. Bawden, a partner with Rochman Bawden, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto. He replaces Madam Justice B.L. Croll, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 17, 2017.

George A. MacPherson, Director General (Eastern District) for Legal Aid Ontario, 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 Newmarket. He fills a new position authorized under Bill C-44, the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1.


Mr. Justice Peter G. Bawden received his LL.B. from Queen’s University in 1989. He was admitted to the Law Society of Upper Canada in 1991 and has practised as criminal defence counsel in the Greater Toronto Area for over 25 years. He has been a partner at the law firm of Rochman Bawden for the past 18 years.

Justice Bawden’s practice has been devoted to criminal defence. He has been counsel in every type of murder case and has been a guest speaker on homicide-related topics at Crown educational conferences, the Law Society of Upper Canada, the Criminal Lawyers’ Association, and the Ontario Police College.

Justice Bawden has also been an active participant in continuing legal education. He has been both an instructor and a judge at the Osgoode Hall Intensive Trial Advocacy Workshop, as well as a guest editor of the Community Legal Education Manual. He was a Director of the Toronto Lawyers Association and sat on the Area Committee of Legal Aid Ontario. He performed legal aid work throughout his career.

Justice Bawden is also an avid amateur athlete. He is a member of both the Toronto and Mississauga Sport and Social Clubs, where he plays ball hockey and ultimate Frisbee to the best of his skill and ability.

Justice Bawden resides in Toronto with his two children. His partner, Madam Justice Christine Pirraglia, presides in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket.

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

Mr. Justice George A. MacPherson was born and raised in the small farming and fishing community of Launching, Prince Edward Island. He earned his B.B.A., with honours, from St. Francis Xavier University and his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Following his call to the Ontario Bar in 1994, Justice MacPherson went on to practise family law and child protection law, initially in private practice, and later as staff counsel at the Ottawa Family Law Office, Legal Aid Ontario. He then served as counsel at the Children’s Aid Society of Ottawa for seven years before returning to Legal Aid Ontario as Manager of Legal Services for the Eastern District. In 2016, he became Director General for Legal Aid Ontario’s Eastern District. In this role, he managed the delivery of Legal Aid services in family law, criminal law, immigration and refugee law, and prison law in 16 courthouse locations, three provincial institutions and eight federal institutions. Alongside his practice, Justice MacPherson has taught child protection law at the University of Ottawa and advanced civil procedure at Algonquin College.

Justice MacPherson is an active member of his community. He has served on many committees, participated in numerous legal education programs, and assisted in the production of vignettes to facilitate judicial training at the National Judicial Institute. In addition, Justice MacPherson has volunteered his home and his time to “Home for the Holidays,” a charity in support of the Hospice at May Court, and sat on the Board of Directors for Bruce House, a community-based organization that serves individuals living with HIV/AIDS.

Excerpts from Justice MacPherson’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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