Statement from the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on the retirement of the Chief Justice of Canada


December 15, 2017 – Ottawa, ON – Department of Justice Canada

Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today issued the following statement on the retirement of the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada:

“On behalf of all Canadians, I wish to express my deepest gratitude to Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin. Over the course of her nearly three decades as a member of the Supreme Court of Canada, including almost 18 years as Chief Justice, Beverley McLachlin helped sculpt the contours of our most important constitutional relationships – between the State and its citizens; the provinces and the federal government; and the Crown and Indigenous peoples. 

“Chief Justice McLachlin’s commitment to the rule of law has taken many forms over the course of her career. Her judgments are defined by their clarity and accessibility. She has remained unfaltering in her advocacy for access to justice in our courts. And she has not only advanced public understanding of the importance of empathy and social context in judging, she has also asserted that diversity is an essential component of merit, not a hindrance to it.

“Chief Justice McLachlin never shied from confronting Canada’s most tragic experiences, including the Crown’s treatment of Indigenous peoples. She helped define how reconciliation must take place. Under her leadership, the Supreme Court of Canada has articulated a vision of section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982, through which Indigenous nations can become full partners in Confederation based on a fair and just reconciliation. Because of this leadership, the Supreme Court has been at the forefront of this national conversation, one that we all must engage in as Canadians about how we can work together towards our shared future.

“All Canadians owe an immense debt of gratitude to Chief Justice McLachlin for her exceptional service, dedication and outstanding leadership. Her integrity and wisdom inspired Canadians to trust and respect their highest court, making Canada a globally recognized beacon of justice and legal excellence.”

Quick Facts

  • Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada in 1989, following a career as a legal educator, as a judge with the Vancouver County Court, the Supreme Court of British Columbia and the British Columbia Court of Appeal, and as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
  • She was appointed Chief Justice of Canada in 2000, and is the first woman to hold the position, as well as the longest-serving Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.
  • On Tuesday, December 12, the Prime Minister announced that Justice Richard Wagner would be Chief Justice McLachlin’s successor as Chief Justice.

Associated Links

- 30 - 

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


Follow Department of Justice Canada on Twitter (@JusticeCanadaEn), join us on Facebook or visit our YouTube channel.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: