Government of Canada Designates Senior Judges in the Territories as Chief Justices

News Release

Changes to the Judges Act are about fairness and equal recognition of powers across jurisdictions

November 14, 2017 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today highlighted long-awaited amendments to the Judges Act introduced as part of Bill C-63, the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 2. These amendments would change the designation of “Senior Judge,” currently in use in the three territories, to “Chief Justice.” In addition, future chief justices of the territorial superior courts would be appointed through the same process as their provincial counterparts.

Senior judges of the territorial superior trial courts perform the same functions and receive the same compensation as their provincial counterparts, who are known as chief justices. The change recognizes the critical role that senior judges in the territorial superior trial courts play in delivering justice in the North.


“The impact of this amendment goes beyond titles – it is about fairness and a recognition that the powers and responsibilities are the same for all heads of courts, regardless of jurisdiction.”

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The three senior judges fulfil the same duties to the court and to the public as their provincial chief justice counterparts. They also receive the same remuneration for this work. The proposed amendments will harmonize the title of chief justice across all provinces and territories and remove distinctions between otherwise equivalent positions.

  • The current senior judges will become the first chief justices of their respective courts.

  • There are no additional costs associated with the proposed changes.


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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