Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Manitoba

News release

October 9, 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.

Jeffrey F. Harris, a partner at Myers Weinberg LLP, is appointed a judge of Her Majesty’s Court of Queen’s Bench for Manitoba in Winnipeg. He replaces Justice K.I. Simonsen, who was appointed to the Manitoba Court of Appeal on August 29, 2018.

Connie F. Petersen, principal at Petersen King, is appointed a judge of Her Majesty’s Court of Queen’s Bench for Manitoba (Family Division) in Winnipeg. She replaces Justice D.M. Little, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective March 2, 2017.

Annette J.R. Horst, a supervising attorney at Legal Aid Manitoba, is appointed a judge of Her Majesty’s Court of Queen’s Bench for Manitoba (Family Division) in Winnipeg. She replaces Justice M.E. Goldberg, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 16, 2017.


Justice Jeffrey F. Harris obtained his B.A. in 1974, his B.Ed. in 1976, and his LL.B. in 1982, all from the University of Manitoba. He articled at Pollock and Company in Winnipeg and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1983. In 1987, he was one of the founding partners of Keyser, Baragar, Harris and Sadana (later Keyser, Harris) where he practised until 1996. At that time, he joined the firm now known as Myers LLP, where he was practising at the time of his appointment.

Early in his career, Justice Harris maintained a practice focused on criminal, civil and family litigation. His work later evolved to focus on Indigenous legal issues, including claims negotiations, settlement trusts and child protection. He has acted as outside general counsel for two First Nation child and family service agencies and has represented agencies in several inquests. He has appeared at most levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

Throughout his career, Justice Harris has been active in the Canadian and Manitoba Bar Associations, serving as President of the Manitoba Bar Association (MBA), and as Chair of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) and MBA Aboriginal Law Sections, in addition to serving in many programs and on committees of both associations. Justice Harris has presented several papers for the CBA, the MBA and other professional organizations on Indigenous legal issues. As a member of the Speakers’ Bureau of the Treaty Relations Commission of Manitoba since its inception, he has presented to numerous community, school and government groups about the historical and constitutional importance of Treaties and how they shape our relationship with Indigenous people in Canada.

Justice Harris and his spouse, Suzanne Mulaire, have three incredible children and three beautiful grandchildren, with whom they spend as much time as possible. In his down-time, Justice Harris enjoys time at the family cottage, training for half-marathons, cycling and scuba diving.

Justice Connie F. Petersen received her LL.B. from the University of Manitoba in 1996 and was admitted to the Manitoba Bar in 1997.

She articled with the Winnipeg law firm of Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, where she subsequently practised family law as an associate. In 2005, she founded Petersen King, a boutique family law firm, where she continued to practise until her appointment to the bench.

Justice Petersen is committed to the legal profession and was an executive member of the Family Law Section of the Manitoba Bar Association. She has assisted in the education of law students over the years, both as a sessional instructor of the Clinical Family Law course at the University of Manitoba and as a facilitator in the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education program through the Law Society of Manitoba. Prior to that, she was a lecturer on family law in the bar admission course. She has also been actively involved in Collaborative Practice Manitoba, having served on its board and on several committees. In addition, Justice Petersen has been a regular presenter and panelist on various family law matters throughout her career.

Justice Annette J.R. Horst received her LL.B. from the University of Manitoba in 1998 and was admitted to the Manitoba Bar in 1999.

Justice Horst began her legal career articling with Legal Aid Manitoba in The Pas, Manitoba. After her call to the Bar, she moved to Brandon, maintaining a general practice with Roy, Johnston & Co. In 2002, she returned to Legal Aid Manitoba in The Pas, where she practiced family and child protection law. In 2015, she relocated to Winnipeg and continued her practice with Legal Aid Manitoba in the areas of family and child protection law.

In addition to her practice, Justice Horst has maintained her volunteer commitments with numerous professional and local community organizations. She has held numerous leadership positions within the legal community, including serving as President of the Manitoba Bar Association, National Treasurer of the Canadian Bar Association, and a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba. She has served on many different committees through her professional organizations, including the Law Society’s Discipline Committee and Access to Justice Stakeholders Committee.

Justice Horst has also volunteered her time outside of the law, most recently on the boards of Marigold Preschool in The Pas and the Westoba Credit Union Board of Directors in Brandon.

Quick facts

  • Since taking office, the Minister of Justice has made over 200 judicial appointments, including 100 in 2017 – the most a Minister of Justice has made in one year in at least two decades. Of the individuals appointed, over half are women, eight are Indigenous, 18 have self-identified as a member of a visible minority population, 12 identify as LGBTQ2, and three identify as 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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