Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Alberta

News release

November 5, 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 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.

The Honourable Elizabeth A. Hughes, a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, is appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Calgary. She replaces Justice M.S. Paperny, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective June 30, 2017.

The Honourable Dawn Pentelechuk, a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, is appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Edmonton. She replaces Justice B. L. Veldhuis who has transferred to Calgary.


Justice Elizabeth Hughes obtained her B.A. and LL.B. in 1981 from the University of Saskatchewan and was called to the Bar of British Columbia in 1982 and the Bar of Alberta in 1987. She was the first female Chief Crown Prosecutor in Calgary at the time of her appointment to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in 2001.

As a lawyer, Justice Hughes volunteered extensively in the areas of domestic violence and child abuse. She was a member of the National Executive of the Criminal Section of the Canadian Bar Association (CBA), as well as an executive member of the Calgary Bar Association. In 1999, she joined the faculty of the National Criminal Law Program, where she was a faculty member until 2010.

Since being appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench, Justice Hughes has been involved in a variety of policy and governance committees of the Court, including as a past chair of the Criminal Steering Committee. She is currently the co-chair of both the Education Committee and the Calgary Student and Legal Counsel Committee, and a member of the Strategic Planning Committee.

Justice Hughes continues to be actively involved in judicial education with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and the Canadian Judicial Council’s Specimen Jury Instruction Committee. Her work with the NJI includes giving presentations at, and organizing, judicial education seminars. She also teaches with the New Judges Program.

In addition, she has served on the executives of the Judges Counselling Program and the CBA’s Judges’ Forum.

Justice Hughes is a Deputy Judge in the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut, and has conducted jury trials in all three jurisdictions.

Justice Dawn Pentelechuk received her law degree from the University of Alberta in 1986, at the age of 21. Following her admission to the Alberta Bar in 1987, she spent her entire legal career as a civil litigator in Edmonton, practising at Duncan Craig LLP, Schlosser Nikel Pentelechuk Wood, and Cleall Pahl (now McAllister LLP). Her practice included commercial, insurance, personal injury and employment law. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2007.

In November 2013, Justice Pentelechuk was appointed to the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench. During her five years on the Court, she heard a full variety of civil, commercial, criminal, and family matters. She took great satisfaction in helping parties, particularly in family matters, resolve their disputes through the Court’s various resolution initiatives.

Motivated by her keen interest in the mentoring and education of law students and lawyers, Justice Pentelechuk served as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta law school, the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Legal Education Society of Alberta. As the mother of five children, Justice Pentelechuk is well versed in the challenges of balancing career and family and often speaks on issues relating to women in the profession.

Born in Edmonton, Justice Pentelechuk was raised in a farming family that valued hard work, stewardship, and independent thinking. She is married to Mark Asbell, a labour arbitrator and mediator.

Quick facts

  • 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:

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

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

Search for related information by keyword: LW Law | Department of Justice Canada | Canada | Justice | general public | news releases

Page details

Date modified: