Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of British Columbia

News release

March 8, 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 Patrice Abrioux, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, is appointed a Justice of the British Columbia Court of Appeal.

Amy D. Francis, a principal at Legacy Tax + Trust Lawyers LLP, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. She replaces Justice G.B. Butler (Vancouver), who was appointed to the British Columbia Court of Appeal on August 29, 2018.

Karen F. Douglas, a partner at Harper Grey LLP, is appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. She replaces Justice R.N. Brown (Chilliwack), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective August 1, 2018. Due to internal Court transfers, the vacancy is located in Vancouver.


Justice Patrice Abrioux was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and immigrated to Canada in 1967. His family resided first in Regina, Saskatchewan and then Victoria, British Columbia. He obtained his B.A. (Hons) from the University of Victoria in 1976 and his LL.B from McGill University in 1980. He was called to the Bar of the Province of British Columbia in 1981. He practiced primarily in the field of civil litigation in Vancouver BC until he was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2011. As a lawyer he was, over many years, a frequent presenter at Continuing Legal Education courses. He has been a member of the Supreme Court’s Education Committee since 2012 and was its Chair until December 2017. He is currently a member of the Court’s Executive Committee.  He has been actively involved in the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice (CIAJ) and has acted as a facilitator at the CIAJ/NJI Federal New Judges Program on several occasions.

Justice Abrioux is fluently bilingual and has presided in proceedings in French as a Supreme Court Judge. In 2012, he received special recognition from La Féderation des Francophones de la Colombie-Britannique and in 2014 was presented with France’s Ordre National du Mérite for his contributions to francophone communities in British Columbia. In December 2018, he was appointed a Deputy Judge for the Supreme Court of Yukon.

Justice Francis was born and raised in Vancouver. She received a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Literature from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1994 and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto in 1999. She was called to the bars of British Columbia and Ontario in 2001. As a junior lawyer, she practiced in the litigation departments of national law firms in both Toronto and Vancouver and worked as a tax litigator for the federal Department of Justice.

Since 2006, Justice Francis has practiced at Legacy Tax + Trust Lawyers, where she has built a litigation career focused on resolving trust and estate disputes. She is ranked as “Consistently Recommended” by Lexpert and is named in Best Lawyers in Canada for Trusts and Estates. For the last three years, she has taught succession law as an adjunct professor at Allard School of Law at UBC. She is a past chair of the Wills and Trusts Section of the British Columbia Branch of the Canadian Bar Association, is a “TEP” designated member of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, and has written and spoken widely on matters relating to trusts and estates.

Justice Francis and her husband, Matthew, have two teenaged daughters. As a family, they enjoy skiing at Whistler and travelling the globe.

Justice Douglas was born in Vancouver, British Columbia.  She has lived in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, and Quebec and travelled extensively within Canada. She received an LL.B from the University of Western Ontario in 1987, after spending part of her third year studying civil law in French at Université Laval in Quebec City. Justice Douglas was called to the Ontario Bar in 1989 and to the British Columbia bar in 1997. She was a litigation associate in McCarthy Tetrault’s Toronto office before relocating to British Columbia in 1997.  She is a litigation partner with Harper Grey LLP in Vancouver, British Columbia where she has practiced since 1997.

Justice Douglas’ civil litigation and administrative practice was focused primarily in the areas of health and privacy law. She has been a frequent speaker in many different forums to a wide variety of audiences including lawyers, students, physicians, residents, and allied health care professionals. Justice Douglas has appeared at all levels of court in British Columbia and successfully responded to leave applications in the Supreme Court of Canada. 

An affinity for animals, a deep appreciation of the great outdoors, and a love of dance, live theatre, and the art of floral design bring balance to Justice Douglas’ life.    

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

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

Page details

Date modified: