Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

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 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.

Clyde Smith, a Partner at Smith & Company Barristers in Kingston, Ontario is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and a Judge ex officio of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He replaces Justice P.A. Douglas (Barrie), who was appointed to the Family Court branch effective November 9, 2017. Please note the Chief Justice has moved this vacancy to Lindsay, Ontario.

Howard Leibovich, Director of the Crown Law Office – Criminal, at the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, and a Judge ex officio of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. He replaces Justice D. Salmers (Oshawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 28, 2018.


Justice Smith was born in Vancouver, British Columbia and grew up in Toronto. He spent ten years between high school and university working in a variety of blue collar jobs which included working for an oil exploration company in the Mackenzie Delta, on a seismic crew in Alberta, and in a logging camp in Haida Gwaii. Justice Smith also spent a number of years in the transportation business where he took the wheel of everything from a Calgary taxi cab to a triple trailer transport truck.

At the age of 27, he enrolled in the liberal arts program at Glendon College, York University in Toronto, where he spent two years studying Canadian history and English literature. He then moved on to study law at Osgoode Hall Law School, where he earned his LLB in 1988. Justice Smith has spent the years since then happily engaged in the practice of criminal law, appearing as defence counsel, and occasionally for the Crown, in all levels of courts in Kingston and elsewhere in eastern Ontario.

Justice Smith has served on the boards of a number of charitable and not-for-profit organizations. He is currently a member of the Ontario Justice Education Network, an instructor in the Introduction to Legal Skills course at Queen’s University Faculty of Law and has written and lectured on the topic of the intersection of criminal and family law and its impact on families and children.

He and his wife Linda share a passion for traveling and Golden Retrievers.

Justice Leibovich was born and raised in Montreal, Quebec and graduated from McGill University’s Faculty of Management with a Bachelor of Commerce. He then received his B.C.L. and L.L.B. from McGill University’s Faculty of Law and moved to Toronto where he began his legal career in 1996 at the Crown Law Office-Criminal. Justice Leibovich has prosecuted criminal cases at all levels of court with the majority of those cases taking place in the Ontario Court of Appeal. He became Director of the Crown Law Office-Criminal in 2011 where, in addition to his litigation practice, he was responsible for the overall operations of the office. Justice Leibovich was the Chair of the Ontario Criminal Conviction Review Committee, with a mandate to examine past cases for potential miscarriages of justice. He was also a member of the Death Investigation Oversight Council, an independent body that oversees Ontario’s death investigation system.

Justice Leibovich is deeply committed to legal education and has regularly trained the police and members of the legal profession and judiciary. In addition, he has created educational programs and courses for Crown counsel, Crown Managers and the provincial Attorney General.

Justice Leibovich regularly volunteers his efforts for his community, serving on the board of the Toronto Heschel School, where he also sits on various of their committees and has coached their softball teams. He is a current coach and board member of the North York Baseball Association. Justice Leibovich and his wife are proud parents of three wonderful 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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