Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Nova-Scotia

News release

March 26, 2019 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable David Lametti, 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.

John A. Keith, Q.C., a Partner at Cox & Palmer in Halifax, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, and a judge ex officio of the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal.  He replaces Justice G.M. Warner (Kentville), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 1, 2019.


Justice Keith was born in Montreal, Quebec and raised in Berwick, located in Nova Scotia’s Annapolis Valley. After graduating from Mount Allison University, he studied law at Queen’s University Faculty of Law where he received an
LL. B. in 1991.  He articled with WeirFoulds in Toronto, Ontario and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1993. 

In 1999, Justice Keith returned to Nova Scotia and joined the law firm Cox & Palmer, where he practiced civil litigation for 20 years. Justice Keith has extensive experience as a trial and appellate advocate, appearing at all levels of court in Nova Scotia, and in the superior courts of many other provinces.

Justice Keith was appointed Queen's Counsel in 2014. He is a member of the national Board of Directors for The Advocates’ Society and was recently selected as a fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. Justice Keith has earned the highest AV designation from Martindale Hubbell, a peer-rating organization; is recognized as a preeminent practitioner by Benchmark Litigation; and was named “Lawyer of the Year” in commercial litigation by Best Lawyers. He also received Lexpert’s national excellence in practice award.

Justice Keith serves as a member of the Nova Scotia Supreme Court Liaison Committee, Nova Scotia’s Civil Procedure Rules Subcommittee and the Claims Review Committee for the Lawyer’s Insurance Association of Nova Scotia. He was also a member of the original Steering Committee that drafted Nova Scotia’s current Civil Procedure Rules.

He lives in Bedford, Nova Scotia with his wife Kara and their three children.

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.


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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