Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Saskatchewan
June 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.
Michael D. Tochor, a partner at MLT Aikins LLP in Regina, is appointed a judge of Her Majesty’s Court of Queen’s Bench for Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. He replaces Mr. Justice N.G. Gabrielson, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 28, 2018.
Justice Michael D. Tochor obtained his B.A. and LL.B. degrees from the University of Saskatchewan, and was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1984. Before his appointment to the judiciary, he was a partner in the Regina Litigation Group of MLT Aikins LLP.
Justice Tochor has been extensively involved in administrative and public law matters and acted on behalf of various regulatory bodies and for clients appearing before administrative tribunals. He was also Chair of the Saskatchewan Police Commission from 2002 to 2008. A significant part of his practice involved acting in labour arbitrations and in occupational health and safety matters. Justice Tochor has appeared before Saskatchewan courts and tribunals, as well as the Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Tochor also has significant criminal trial and appellate experience that includes both jury and non-jury trials. He has published and presented extensively on criminal law issues for periodicals and various legal education seminars. Justice Tochor has been a faculty member of the National Criminal Law Program since 2000, and he has also presented annually since 1998 at the Law Society of Saskatchewan’s bar admission course through the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education.
Justice Tochor was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2004. He was named in Best Lawyers in Canada and was also named a “Litigation Star” by Benchmark Canada.
Justice Tochor’s community involvement includes being a founding member of The Book Project, which has delivered over 27,000 books to several correctional institutions in Saskatchewan. He was Chairperson of the Wascana Golf and Country Club (2016 – 2018), and currently represents Saskatchewan on the Board of Directors of the RCMP Foundation, an Ottawa-based charitable organization focusing on Indigenous youth at risk.
- 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.
- The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 proposes $77.2 million over four years to support the expansion of unified family courts, beginning in 2019-2020. This investment in the family justice system will create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
- In addition, Budget 2018 proposes funding for a further seven judicial positions in Saskatchewan and Ontario, at a cost of $17.1 million over five years.
- The funding outlined in Budget 2018 comes on top of resources allocated under Budget 2017, which created 28 new judicial positions across the country.
- Additionally, the Government will ensure that a robust process remains in place to allow Canadians to voice their concerns and submit complaints about judicial conduct to the Canadian Judicial Council and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. This investment of $6 million over two years, beginning in 2018-2019, will support the judicial discipline process through which allegations of judicial misconduct are investigated.
- 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.
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