Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Manitoba

News release

August 31, 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.

The Honourable Karen I. Simonsen, a judge of Her Majesty’s Court of Queen’s Bench for Manitoba, is appointed a Judge of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Manitoba. She replaces Justice M. Monnin, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 1, 2016.


Justice Karen I. Simonsen received her LL.B. from the University of Manitoba in 1981 and was admitted to the Manitoba Bar in 1982. She was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench (General Division) in December 2004.

Justice Simonsen articled with the Winnipeg law firm of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, where she continued to practice civil litigation, as both an associate and partner, until her appointment to the bench.

During her more than 13 years as a trial judge, Justice Simonsen heard a full range of civil, criminal and constitutional cases. She brings this extensive trial experience to the Court of Appeal.

While on the Court of Queen’s Bench, Justice Simonsen contributed to the administration of justice in many ways, including as chair of several committees through which she made important contributions in the area of access to justice. She served as chair of the Court’s e-discovery Committee, the Court’s Small Claims Practices Committee, and the Queen’s Bench Rules Committee. As chair of the Rules Committee, she guided and oversaw comprehensive amendments to the Court’s Rules in civil matters, aimed at addressing issues of efficiency, proportionality and access to justice. Justice Simonsen has also been involved in presentations to the profession about court rules and civil practice.

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.

  • The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 will provide funding of $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 provided 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.

  • In addition, the Government will invest $6 million over two years, beginning in 2018-2019, to support the judicial discipline process through which allegations of judicial misconduct are investigated. In this way, 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.

  • 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:

Célia Canon
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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