Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Ontario
November 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 appointment under the new judicial application process introduced 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.
Benjamin Zarnett, a partner at Goodmans LLP, is appointed Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He replaces Justice S.E. Pepall, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 6, 2018.
Justice Benjamin Zarnett was born and raised in Toronto. He studied political science and philosophy at the University of Toronto before attending Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated as the Bronze Medalist in 1975. He was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1977.
Throughout his career, Justice Zarnett practiced trial and appellate advocacy. His cases ranged across a wide spectrum of issues including corporate, commercial and securities law, shareholder rights, pension rights, professional liability, class actions, insolvency law, taxation, real estate, intellectual property and broadcasting policy. His clients included individuals, law firms, court-appointed officers, companies, financial institutions, Crown corporations and public interest advocacy organizations. Justice Zarnett was counsel in fifteen appeals in the Supreme Court of Canada and numerous cases before Ontario’s appellate and trial courts, as well as appeals in the Federal Court of Appeal and the appellate courts of Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador. At the time of his appointment, he was a member of the litigation group at Goodmans LLP in Toronto, where he had been a partner since 1990.
Justice Zarnett is a former President of the Advocates’ Society, a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and a member of the Supreme Court Advocacy Institute. For his contributions to the justice system, he was awarded the Law Society of Ontario Medal (its highest award) in 2006, the Toronto Lawyers Association Award of Distinction in 2007, and the Ontario Bar Association Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation in 2009.
He and his wife Susie have two children and two grandchildren.
Since taking office, the Minister of Justice has made over 230 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, 20 identify as visible minorities, 13 identify as LGBTQ2, and three identify as persons with disabilities.
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:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
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