Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Alberta

News release

January 31, 2019 - Ottawa, Ontario - Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable David Lametti, 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 Kevin P. Feehan, a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, is appointed a judge of the Court of Appeal of Alberta in Edmonton. He replaces Justice R.L. Berger, who retired effective October 26, 2018.

Tamara Friesen, counsel at Nugent Law Office, is appointed a judge of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Edmonton. She replaces Justice D. Pentelechuk, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal of Alberta on November 1, 2018.

Biographies

Justice Kevin P. Feehan graduated from the University of Alberta Law School in 1978, articled at Milner & Steer, and practiced with that firm through its various iterations (Milner & Steer, Milner Fenerty, Fraser Milner, Fraser Milner Casgrain, FMC LLP and Dentons LLP) for his entire 38-year career. As a civil litigator, he practiced in the areas of constitutional, education, health, insurance, personal injury, corporate commercial, medical negligence, and oil and gas litigation. Justice Feehan has been a sessional instructor in constitutional litigation since 2000 and is the author of more than 200 legal publications. He was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in October 2016.

Justice Feehan has been actively involved in the community as Vice-Chair of St. Joseph’s College at the University of Alberta, Chancellor of Newman Theological College and St. Joseph’s Seminary, Chair of Catholic Social Services and Catholic Charities Societies, Chair of the Edmonton Social Planning Council, President of The Works International Visual Arts Society, and numerous other boards and committees. He is the recipient of both the Queen Elizabeth II Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals, the Alberta Centennial Medal for Public Service, the Royal Lifesaving Society Commonwealth Honourary Life Governor Award, the Alberta Civil Trial Lawyers Association President’s Award, and the Justice James Higgins Award. Justice Feehan was named Best Lawyers in Canada “Lawyer of the Year” in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016 in the areas of personal injury, insurance and medical negligence litigation. He was also named Queen’s Counsel in 2003 and a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers in 2015.

Justice Tamara (Tami) Friesen was born in Lethbridge, Alberta to a teacher and a farmer. She was raised on a steady diet of music, sports, and novels. After attending the University of Alberta for her undergraduate degree, she went on to receive an M.A. in Canadian literature from the University of Guelph. She studied law at the University of Alberta and clerked with both the Alberta Court of Appeal and Court of Queen’s Bench before being called to the Alberta Bar in 2002.

Justice Friesen’s legal career included positions as legal counsel with the Law Society of Alberta and as Director of Legal Research and Writing at the University of Alberta Faculty of Law. She taught professional responsibility as a sessional instructor; volunteered as a guest lecturer and moot judge; spoke at law conferences on a wide variety of topics; and performed pro bono work for the Edmonton Community Legal Clinic.

For the majority of her career, Justice Friesen practiced criminal law as a Crown prosecutor for Alberta Justice, where she worked in each of the General, Specialized, and Appellate branches. For the past five years, she has practiced labour, employment, constitutional and administrative law at Nugent Law Office. She has appeared before a variety of administrative tribunals and at all levels of court, including appearing twice at the Supreme Court of Canada – once on a criminal matter, and once on a labour matter.

Her husband and two daughters are her greatest supporters and the primary source of both her courage and her joy. 

Quick facts

  • Since 2016, the Government of Canada has made over 250 judicial appointments.

  • Canada’s judiciary is internationally renowned and respected for its independence and diversity. In October 2016, the government introduced important reforms to the appointments process, aimed at strengthening the selection process. Of the individuals appointed under the new process, 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.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Célia Canon
Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
613-862-3270

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca


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