Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Ontario

News Release

January 19, 2018 – 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.

Sandra Nishikawa, counsel at the Ontario Human Rights Commission, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto. She replaces Mr. Justice T.L. Archibald, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective December 1, 2017.


Justice Sandra Nishikawa was born and raised in Toronto. She received a B.A. in international relations with a minor in French from the University of Toronto, and went on to earn B.C.L. and LL.B. degrees from the Faculty of Law at McGill University. Justice Nishikawa was called to the bars of Ontario and New York in 1999. In 2009, she completed her LL.M. at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Law with a thesis that examined diversity on administrative tribunals.

Most recently, Justice Nishikawa was counsel at the Ontario Human Rights Commission. Prior to that, she practised civil litigation for 18 years, first at a large firm in New York, then in the Business and Regulatory Division of the Department of Justice Canada, and later at the Civil Remedies for Illicit Activities Office and Crown Law Office – Civil of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. Justice Nishikawa’s areas of practice included commercial, administrative, public and human rights law, and she appeared before all levels of courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Nishikawa’s professional activities have been devoted to the pursuit of equality and inclusion. She was Chair of the Equity Advisory Group of the Law Society of Ontario (formerly the Law Society of Upper Canada). In addition, she served on the Board of Directors of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF) and was VP External (Public) of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. In 2015, she was elected a bencher of the Law Society, and was Vice-Chair of the Equity and Indigenous Affairs Committee. Justice Nishikawa speaks English, French and Japanese.

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

Quick Facts

  • In 2017, the Minister of Justice made 100 appointments and elevations – the most a Minister of Justice has made in one year in at least two decades.
  • Of these appointees, half are women, four are Indigenous, and 16 have self-identified as a member of a visible minority population, LGBTQ2, or a person with a disability.
  • 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. Sixteen Judicial Advisory Committees have been reconstituted to date.


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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