Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Ontario

News release

June 27, 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.

The Honourable Julie A. Thorburn, a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, is appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and a Judge ex officio of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, effective September 2, 2019. Madam Justice Thorburn will fill the future vacancy of Mr. Justice P. Rouleau, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 1, 2019. 


Justice Thorburn was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in September 2006.  She hears civil and criminal law proceedings in English and French and is the team lead for Ontario’s Divisional Court.

Justice Thorburn is a graduate of l’Université de Montréal (Bac. Int. Chant) and Queen’s University (LLB). She has a Certificat en droit international privé from The Hague Academy of International Law and an A.R.C.T. in Performance Piano, and she was Silver Medalist in Voice from the Royal Conservatory of Music.

Justice Thorburn was a law clerk with the Supreme Court of Ontario. She joined Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP, where she was a partner, department head, and member of the executive committee. She was Chair of the Ontario Bar Association media and communications law section and a member of the litigation committee of the Intellectual Property Institute of Canada.

She is Past President of the International Association of Women Judges, Canadian Chapter, and is now a member of its International Board of Directors. She also served as a Director of the Ontario Superior Court Judges Association.

She has been a sessional lecturer on Civil Procedure Workshops at Osgoode Hall Law School, an arbitrator selected by the American Film Marketing Association, and a French language mediator. She served as Director of charitable corporations such as Tafelmusik and the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

Justice Thorburn co-authored the Report to the Attorney General of Ontario Enhancing Access to Justice in French (2015), and she is a regular speaker with l’Association des juristes d’expression francaise de l’Ontario. She is also co-author of The Law of Confidential Business Information, and a contributing author of Digital Democracy, Policy and Politics in the Wired World, Oxford Univ. Press, and Canada Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act.

She is bilingual in English and French, proficient in Italian, and has some knowledge of German. She and her husband Roderick have two wonderful children.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 300 judges have been appointed since November 2015. These exceptional jurists represent the diversity that strengthens Canada. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of visible minorities, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S and those who self-identify as having a disability.

  • 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:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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