Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

News release

February 3, 2020 - 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 judicial application process established in 2016. This 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 Suzanne Stevenson, a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, is appointed Senior Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court branch. Madam Justice Stevenson replaces Mr. Justice George Czutrin who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 30, 2020.

The Honourable Stephen E. Firestone, a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, is appointed Regional Senior Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario for the Toronto Region. Mr. Justice Firestone fills the Regional Senior Judge position vacated by Mr. Justice G. Morawetz (Toronto), who was elevated to the position of Chief Justice effective July 1, 2019.

Andrew Pinto, Partner at Pinto James LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Mr. Justice Pinto replaces Mr. Justice S.E. Firestone, who was appointed Regional Senior Judge of the Superior Court of Justice for the Toronto Region.

Kathleen Erin Cullin, Counsel at Wallbridge, Wallbridge in Timmins, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Cullin fills one of three remaining positions authorized under the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1.

Biographies

Justice Stevenson was appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in 2011.

She received a Bachelor of Arts from McMaster University in 1988 and a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1991, and she was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1993.

Justice Stevenson practised with Robert Martin (now Martin & Hillyer) from 1993 to 2004 and was self-employed, practising in association at Martin & Hillyer, from 2004 to 2011. Her main area of practice was family law and wills.  

Justice Stevenson was a member of the Canadian Bar Association, Halton County Law Association, Hamilton Halton Collaborative Law Practice Group and International Academy of Collaborative Professionals, and an associate member of the Hamilton Law Association. She has also been a guest lecturer on family law at Queen’s University Law School for the Trial Advocacy course.

Justice Firestone was appointed judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in 2013.

He received a Bachelor of Arts from York University in 1983 and a Bachelor of Law from the University of Windsor Law School in 1986. He was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1988.

Justice Firestone was a partner with Lackman, Firestone Law Offices from 1995 to 2013. He was a lawyer with Iacono, Brown, Barristers & Solicitiors from 1990 to 1995, and with Sommers & Roth from 1988 to 1990. His practice focused on civil litigation with an emphasis on personal injury, accident benefits and professional negligence.

Justice Firestone was a course instructor at Sheridan College and a guest lecturer at the University of Windsor Faculty of Law and Osgoode Hall Law School. He is past director of the Advocates Society, and he was President of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association and Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division. He co-authored the Personal Injury Practice Manual and Ontario Motor Vehicle Insurance Practice Manual, and he authored Motor Vehicle Insurance Law and Commentary. He has written numerous articles and papers on these subjects.

Justice Pinto practised civil litigation, workplace law and administrative law. He obtained an Electrical Engineering degree from Queen’s University and an LL.B. from the University of Windsor in 1993.

Called to the Bar in 1995, Justice Pinto practised with Scott & Aylen Toronto before opening his own practice in 1998. He was a partner with Eberts Symes Street Pinto & Jull LLP and Pinto James (formerly Pinto Wray James) LLP. He has appeared before all levels of court including the Supreme Court of Canada, and before numerous administrative tribunals. He taught administrative law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Toronto and guest lectured at several other Canadian universities. Since 2007, he has been Co-Chair of the University of Toronto’s Academic Integrity Tribunal. 

In 2011, Justice Pinto was appointed by the Attorney General of Ontario to conduct a major review of the changes to Ontario’s human rights system. In 2018, he was appointed Chair of the Board of Governors of the Law Commission of Ontario after serving on the Commission’s Board since 2012. 

Justice Pinto is a 2018 recipient of a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Windsor, and a 2008 recipient of a Lawyer of the Year Award from the South Asian Bar Association Toronto. He was born in Pakistan, the youngest of 5 children, to parents of Indian origin. He moved to Canada at the age of 11 after living in the Middle East. Justice Pinto and his spouse, Joseph Cheng, a lawyer with the Department of Justice Canada, have two children.

Justice Cullin was born and raised in Timmins, Ontario. She studied at Western University, where she completed an Honors Bachelor of Arts in Psychology in 1992 and an LL.B. in 1995. While at Western Law, she was awarded the Newton Rowell Scholarship.

Justice Cullin was called to the Bar in 1997 and began her career at Evans, Bragagnolo & Sullivan LLP in Timmins and became a partner of the firm in 1998. Her practice consisted of family, criminal and civil litigation, and included work as a Crown Agent conducting prosecutions on behalf of the Attorney General of Canada.

In 2002, Justice Cullin joined Wallbridge, Wallbridge, where her practice was restricted to Plaintiff’s civil litigation, including medical malpractice. While her practice was based in the firm’s offices in northeastern Ontario and Ottawa, it brought her to various locations across Ontario. In 2015, she was certified as a specialist in Civil Litigation by the Law Society of Ontario.

In addition to her practice, Justice Cullin was a director of the Advocates’ Society. She was actively involved in delivering professional development programs throughout the province, acting as Co-Chair of the Law Society of Ontario’s Solo and Small Firm Conference, Co-Chair of the Ontario Bar Association’s 2020 Institute conference and Co-Chair of Colloquium, northeastern Ontario’s annual Legal Education Conference. In 2018, Justice Cullin received a Lexpert Zenith Award in recognition of her contributions to the profession.

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 provides 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 creates 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.

  • 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.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-6568
rachel.rappaport@justice.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

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