Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Ontario

News release

April 11, 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.

Paul B. Schabas, Partner at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP 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.  Mr. Justice Schabas assumes one of four remaining positions authorized under Bill C-74.


Justice Paul Schabas grew up in Toronto. He studied music and history as an undergraduate and played French horn professionally before obtaining an LL.B. from the University of Toronto in 1984.

Justice Schabas practised criminal law before joining Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto in 1988.  He has had a broad litigation practice with a focus on media and constitutional law. He has been counsel on many leading cases before Ontario’s appellate and trial courts, and in the Supreme Court of Canada.  Notable cases include Morgentaler (1988), Canadian Foundation for Children (2004), and Grant v Torstar (2009).  

From 2016 to 2018 Justice Schabas was the Treasurer (President) of the Law Society of Ontario where he championed diversity and inclusion, access to justice, and reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. He was an elected Bencher of the Society from 2007 to 2016, where he chaired many committees. He has been active in the legal profession and in his community.  Justice Schabas has led several other legal organizations, including the Law Foundation of Ontario, Pro Bono Ontario and the Canadian Media Lawyers Association. In the wider community, he has been on the Boards of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Canadian Journalism Foundation, Family Service Toronto and the National Youth Orchestra.

Justice Schabas writes and speaks frequently on media and constitutional issues in Canada and abroad. He teaches media law at the University of Toronto.  He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers. He has twice been selected one of Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers.

He and his wife, Alison Girling, have three adult 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

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

Page details

Date modified: