Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Alberta

News Release

February 22, 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.

Marta E. Burns, senior litigation counsel with the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, is appointed a justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Edmonton. She replaces Madam Justice D.A. Sulyma, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 1, 2018.

Biography

Madam Justice Marta E. Burns holds degrees in commerce (1984) from Queen’s University and in law (1988) from the University of Alberta. She articled with the Honourable Justice J.E. Côté at the Alberta Court of Appeal and with (then soon to be) His Honour Judge David J. Tilley at Witten Binder. Justice Burns’s legal career has been evenly split between private practice (as a student, associate and partner with Witten LLP) and public practice (at the Department of Justice Canada and Alberta Justice). Her litigation practice included tax, commercial, pension, labour and employment law – including administrative law – and appearances before many tribunals. Justice Burns has litigated at all levels of courts in Alberta, as well as the Tax Court of Canada, the federal courts and the Supreme Court of Canada.

Justice Burns has tirelessly contributed to both the legal profession and the community. She taught bar admission courses and was a guest speaker at the University of Alberta, at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, and at various Canadian Bar Association meetings. She was extensively involved in organizations for the various sports in which her children participated, including ski racing and cheerleading. She has been a Big Sister, has tutored prison inmates, and was an agency speaker, account executive and employee campaign chair for the United Way. She has raised funds for causes including Alberta Heart and Stroke, Alberta Juvenile Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. For over 20 years, Justice Burns has been dedicated to the WINGS of Providence Society, a second-stage shelter for women and children fleeing family violence, on behalf of which she led two capital campaigns and oversaw construction of two housing complexes. In 2013, she received the Government of Alberta’s Inspiration Lifetime Achievement Award for her work to eradicate family violence.

Excerpts from Justice Burns’ 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.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

David Taylor
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca


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