Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Alberta

News release

April 6, 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.

Jane Sidnell, Q.C., a partner at Rose LLP in Calgary, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Madam Justice Sidnell replaces Madam Justice S. Hunt McDonald (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 9, 2019.

Barbara Johnston, Q.C., a partner at Dentons in Calgary, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta. Madam Justice Johnston replaces Mr. Justice J.T. McCarthy (Calgary), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 6, 2020.


Justice Jane Sidnell, Q.C., earned her undergraduate degree in Architectural Science from what was then the Ryerson Polytechnical Institute. After working at an architectural firm, being a building code official, and running her own home design business, she graduated from the University of Calgary Faculty of Law in 1992.

After articling with the Alberta Courts, Madam Justice Sidnell joined the Calgary office of a firm that later became Miller Thomson LLP to complete her articles and then practised there, becoming a partner, until 2007. From 2007 to 2013 she was a partner in the Calgary office of Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP (now Dentons). In 2013, she was a founding partner of the Calgary law firm of Rose LLP. With over 25 years of experience, Justice Sidnell has appeared before all levels of court in Alberta and before the Supreme Court of Canada, and has had the opportunity to be an advocate and decision maker in arbitrations.

Justice Sidnell is a Fellow and past governor of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers, an association of lawyers dedicated to excellence in the practice of construction law. She is a member of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Bar Association’s Law for the Future Fund and the Alberta executive committee of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, Canada branch. She has enjoyed being involved with numerous charities and industry and community associations over the past 25 years.

Outside of the practice of law, Justice Sidnell has a passion for the arts and enjoys sea kayaking and scuba diving with her family.

Justice Barbara Johnston, Q.C., holds a Bachelor of Arts (History and Economics) degree from the University of Alberta, a Bachelor of Laws degree from Queen’s University, and a Master of Laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. She is a past president of the Canadian Association of Counsel to Employers and a Fellow of the College of Labor and Employment Lawyers. She is Vice-Chair of the Queen’s Alberta Alumni Council for the Faculty of Law.

Justice Johnston’s practice focused on labour, employment, human rights, health and safety, constitutional, administrative and privacy law. She has represented clients before all levels of court and many administrative tribunals, including the Supreme Court of Canada, the Court of Appeal of Alberta, the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta, the Alberta Labour Relations Board, Human Rights Panels, Boards of Arbitration and Federal Labour Adjudicators.

Justice Johnston has been recognized by Chambers Global (Band 1), the Best Lawyers in Canada, Acritas Star Lawyers, Legal 500, the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, Who's Who Legal: Canada, and the Lexpert Guide to the Leading US/Canada Cross-Border Litigation Lawyers in Canada – “Canadian Litigation Lawyers to Watch,” and as a Lexpert Rising Star. She also received the Lexpert Zenith Award for mid-career excellence.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 350 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 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.

  • 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.


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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