Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Québec
October 1, 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 the diversity of the Canadian population, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
The Honourable Guy Cournoyer, a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montréal, is appointed a puisne judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec. Mr. Justice Cournoyer replaces Mr. Justice N. Kasirer, who was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada on September 16, 2019.
Sophie Lavallée, a professor of the Faculty of Law at Université Laval in Québec, is appointed a puisne judge of the Court of Appeal of Quebec. Madam Justice Lavallée replaces Madam Justice D. Bélanger, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 25, 2020.
Tiziana Di Donato, a counsel at Morency, Société d’avocats in Montréal, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montréal. Madam Justice Di Donato replaces Mr. Justice A. Prévost (Montréal), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective December 9, 2019.
Marie-Hélène Montminy, a partner at Carter Gourdeau Avocats s.e.n.c.r.l. in Québec, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Québec. Madam Justice Montminy replaces Mr. Justice D. Jacques (Québec), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 5, 2020.
Alexander Pless, Senior General Counsel at the Department of Justice Canada in Montréal, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montréal. Mr. Justice Pless replaces Mr. Justice B. Emery (Montréal), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective December 12, 2019.
Katheryne Alexandra Desfossés, a lawyer at Cain Lamarre in Drummondville, is appointed a puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montréal. Madam Justice Desfossés replaces Madam Justice C. Hallée (Montréal) who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 30, 2020.
“I wish the new appointees continued success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Quebecers well in their new positions.”
The Honorable David Lametti
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice Guy Cournoyer received a Bachelor of Laws degree in 1986 from the Université du Québec à Montréal and was admitted to the Bar of Quebec in 1987.
In 2007, Mr. Justice Cournoyer was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec (Montréal). At the time of his appointment, he was a partner with Shadley Battista, s.e.n.c., where he had developed his bilingual practice expertise in the areas of criminal law, military and disciplinary law, and the law and practice of public inquiries. In addition to acting as counsel for the Order of Quebec Optometrists and the Order of Quebec Dentists, Justice Cournoyer was a special counsel to the Gomery Commission and the Commission of Inquiry concerning la Sûreté du Québec (Poitras Commission). He also served as president of the Quebec Association of Defence Lawyers, president and vice-president of the Montreal Association of Defence Lawyers, and member of the Permanent Committee on Criminal Law of the Bar of Quebec .
Justice Cournoyer is also the author of several publications on criminal, military and disciplinary law.
Justice Sophie Lavallée has been a professor in the Faculty of Law at Université Laval since 2001, and served as law clerk at the Superior Court of Quebec (1996-98). She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in law from Université Laval and her doctorate from Université de Montréal and Université de Nice.
Called to the Barreau du Québec in 1997, Madam Justice Lavallée has regularly served as legal counsel on matters of environmental law and land use planning, notably for the Ministère de l’Environnement du Québec and the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. She was awarded the Prix Minerve for her PhD dissertation on environmental law. She was co-author of the 4th edition of La Preuve civile with Professor Jean-Claude Royer and co-published a monograph on environmental law with Professor Jean-Maurice Arbour, which won the Quebec Bar Foundation award.
The author of numerous articles on environmental law and land use planning, Justice Lavallée has spoken at conferences in Canada and abroad. She has been a visiting professor at Université Paris-Sorbonne, Université catholique de Louvain, the Université de Strasbourg, and Université d’Aix-Marseille. In 2019, with her team, she received the Institut d’administration publique de Québec award for scientific contribution to Quebec public administration. She is a member of several boards of directors and scientific councils and a governor and member of the jury for the Quebec Bar Foundation essay contest.
Justice Lavallée and her spouse, Louis-Philippe Bélair, are the proud parents of two boys, Olivier and Nathan.
Justice Tiziana Di Donato received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Université de Sherbrooke in 1992 and was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1994. She also earned a common law certificate from Dalhousie University in 1991. She is perfectly trilingual (English, French and Italian).
Madam Justice Di Donato began her practice at Desjardins Ducharme and became a partner in the firm in 2002. She joined the Morency law firm in 2010 and has over 25 years of experience in civil and commercial litigation, particularly in banking law, corporate insolvency and redress, as well as shareholder disputes, disputes involving non-competition and non-solicitation restrictive covenants, injunctions, and other extraordinary remedies and proceedings, including Anton Piller Orders.
During her career, Justice Di Donato has been committed to the advancement of the legal profession, the new generation of practitioners, and her community. She has served on various committees of the Barreau du Québec and the Barreau de Montréal, most recently on the Barreau de Montréal’s liaison committee with the Superior Court, Commercial Chamber, and as a mentor and member of its mentoring committee. She is also a member of the board of directors of the Chœur des enfants de Montréal and is actively involved in the Canadian Italian Business and Professional Association and the Association of Quebec Women in Finance.
Justice Marie-Hélène Montminy was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1999 after receiving a Bachelor of Laws degree from Université Laval in 1998.
Madam Justice Montminy began her practice with Pouliot L’Ecuyer in civil and commercial litigation and bankruptcy and insolvency law. She joined the Joli-Coeur Lacasse team in early 2007 following the merger of these two firms. At the time of her appointment, Justice Montminy was a partner with Carter Gourdeau, where she had been practising as a litigator since 2011, primarily in insurance law. This practice led to work in several other areas of law, including civil law, professional and municipal liability, and construction law. She has argued before all levels of court in Quebec.
Justice Montminy has been very involved for several years in recruiting and training interns and mentoring young lawyers.
Justice Alexander Pless received a BA in philosophy from McGill University in 1994. He received an LL B and BCL from McGill’s Faculty of Law in 1998 and a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University in 2005. He was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1999.
Mr. Justice Pless has dedicated his career to public service and teaching. After completing his articles with the Quebec Regional Office of the Department of Justice Canada in 1999, he joined the office as litigation counsel and was appointed Senior General Counsel in 2019. He has pleaded before all levels of courts and was among the group of Department of Justice lawyers selected to represent the Attorney General of Canada before the Supreme Court of Canada. His areas of expertise include constitutional law, administrative law, civil litigation, and Crown liability.
For the past nine years, Justice Pless has taught Judicial Review of Administrative Action and Constitutional Law, in English and in French, at McGill University, and he was appointed adjunct professor in 2019. He is a frequently invited speaker and has published numerous articles and book chapters on a variety of subjects in public law and advocacy. Throughout his career, Justice Pless has been active within his community. He served more than a decade on the board of the McGill Legal Information Clinic. More recently, he has been active with the Advocates’ Society.
Justice Pless and his spouse, Elisabeth—a scientist and teacher—are the proud parents of three children. An accomplished carpenter, he enjoys woodworking with his children.
Justice Katheryne Alexandra Desfossés received a Bachelor of Laws degree from Université Laval in 2002 and was called to the Barreau du Québec in 2003.
Madam Justice Desfossés began her legal career in 2003 and served as alaw clerk to the judges of the Tax Court of Canada. In 2004, she continued her career as a lawyer with Irving Mitchell & Associates (now IMK) in Montréal in the field of civil and commercial litigation. In 2011, she joined Cain Lamarre Casgrain Wells (now Cain Lamarre) in Drummondville, where she practised as a civil and commercial litigation lawyer in the Montréal area, Estrie, and Centre-du-Québec regions.
Along with her practice, Justice Desfossés has been a lecturer at Université de Sherbrooke since 2007 and at the school of the Barreau de Sherbrooke since 2009. She received the Université de Sherbrooke’s Recognition for Teaching Quality award as a lecturer in the Faculty of Law. She is also the author of a paper on the performance of an obligation and of three volumes on the performance of an obligation, the transfer or change of an obligation, and the extinction and restitution of prestations, as well as articles on certain decisions in Quebec civil law.
Justice Desfossés has been a member of the board of directors of the Drummondville CEGEP, and currently sits on the board of directors of the Fondation de l’église St-Georges.
At the Superior Court level, more than 400 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 provides 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:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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