Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of British Columbia
February 7, 2018 – 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.
The Honourable Susan A. Griffin, a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, is appointed a Justice of the British Columbia Court of Appeal and a Judge of the Yukon Court of Appeal. She replaces Mr. Justice R.B.T. Goepel, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 30, 2016.
Diane MacDonald, general counsel for the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver. She replaces Mr. Justice P.D. Leask, who retired effective September 18, 2017.
Madam Justice Susan A. Griffin has had a distinguished career as a superior court judge. Prior to her elevation to the Court of Appeal, she served for ten years on the Supreme Court of British Columbia, where she heard a full range of criminal, family, constitutional and civil cases. Justice Griffin is known for her work ethic, her thorough attention to the evidence, her ability to resolve complex legal issues, and for having a compassionate approach to vulnerable witnesses.
Prior to being appointed to the bench, Justice Griffin practised in the area of civil litigation for 23 years and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2005. Throughout her career, she has been engaged in legal education and writing. She is co-author of a leading text entitled The Conduct of Civil Litigation in British Columbia. Recognized for her dedication to mentoring younger lawyers, Justice Griffin has also taught numerous legal advocacy programs. She had a leading hand in developing an award-winning video series on advocacy skills for junior litigators (CLEBC Advocacy Toolkit). She also served on committees supporting the administration of the courts.
Justice Griffin grew up in rural Ontario but moved to Vancouver following graduation from the Faculty of Law, University of Toronto, in 1984. Having obtained her law degree at a young age, she later took a sabbatical to obtain an LL.M. from the London School of Economics and Political Science. There she focused on international law, including human rights, and won two top prizes. Justice Griffin has an ongoing interest in understanding the experiences of historically marginalized persons, and has written and spoken about the importance of recognizing and rejecting implicit assumptions, biases and stereotypes.
Madam Justice Diane MacDonald received her B.A. from Simon Fraser University and her LL.B. from Dalhousie University and began practising law in 1995. After articling with Alexander Holburn Beaudin and Lang, she completed a Ph.D. in law and public policy at Northeastern University. She then practised with Victory Square Law Office and subsequently with the B.C. Teachers’ Federation, where she was General Counsel since 2008.
Justice MacDonald’s primary focus has been in the areas of labour law, constitutional law and human rights. She has acted as legal counsel before arbitrators, various administrative tribunals, professional disciplinary bodies, and at all levels of court. In 2014, Justice MacDonald acted as co-counsel on a s.15 Charter case, arguing for substantive equality for women claiming pregnancy and parental benefits, in which the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in her client’s favour. Justice MacDonald recently acted as co-counsel before the Supreme Court of Canada on a successful s. 2(d) Charter case regarding the duty to consult in good faith.
Justice MacDonald is committed to legal education and lifelong learning. She has published articles and regularly speaks at conferences across Canada for organizations including the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), the Continuing Legal Education Society of B.C., Lancaster House, and the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers. She is also a mentor through the CBA’s Women Lawyers Forum. Justice MacDonald has Métis ancestry and has been an active volunteer in her local community.
Excerpts from Justice MacDonald’s judicial application are available.
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:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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