Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces  judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

News release

October 5, 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.

Roger Chown, a partner at Carroll Heyd Chown LLP in Barrie, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Mr. Justice Chown replaces Mr. Justice J.R. Sproat (Owen Sound), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 26, 2018.

Joanne Bruhn, a sole practitioner in Barrie, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court Branch in Newmarket. Madam Justice Bruhn fills the remaining position authorized under the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1.


 “I wish Justices Chown and Brunh  continued success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Ontarians well as members of the Superior Court of Justice.”

The Honorable David Lametti
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Roger Chown was born and raised in St. Catharines. He studied Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University, graduating in 1985. He worked as an engineer at a nuclear station and earned his Professional Engineer designation before deciding on a career change that took him into the law. He earned his law degree from the University of Windsor in 1991.

After articling and working as a lawyer in Toronto until 1994, Mr. Justice Chown moved to Barrie to join what was then Carroll Heyd. His main area of practice was civil litigation, primarily insurance-related litigation.

Justice Chown actively volunteered in several professional organizations, notably the Advocates’ Society and Canadian Defence Lawyers. He served on the Board of Directors of the Advocates’ Society from 2008 to 2011 and then on numerous committees and task forces of the Society until 2019. He helped draft multiple submissions on legislative reforms in the insurance and personal injury area. He was appointed a Director of Canadian Defence Lawyers in 2018, and he has also served on its Public Policy Secretariat. Justice Chown enjoys teaching and mentoring. He was a co-chair of the Advocates’ Society’s Court House Series program in Barrie from its inaugural program in 2016 until 2020. He has been a frequent speaker at legal education programs, often on advocacy and legal technology topics. 

Justice Chown is a tech fanatic and a fitness enthusiast. He enjoys cycling and whitewater canoe trips. He is married and has two grown children.

Justice Joanne Bruhn earned a B.A. from Queen’s University in 1991 and an LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario in 1994. She was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1996.

Madam Justice Bruhn has been a sole practitioner in Barrie, Ontario, since 1997. Her practice focused primarily on family law and mediation services. She has represented financially disadvantaged clients through the Legal Aid Ontario certificate and duty counsel programs, as well as children in family law and child-protection proceedings through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Since 2008, Justice Bruhn has been assisting parties in resolving their family law issues as a comprehensive mediator with the Barrie Mediation Centre and a member of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She has also worked as a Dispute Resolution Officer in Central East Ontario since 2010.

Justice Bruhn has been involved in the legal community for many years in her roles as Vice-President and Treasurer of the Simcoe County Family Law Lawyers’ Association and through her work as a member of the Legal Aid Area Committee. She has also been a member of the Simcoe County Law Association since 1998.

When not at work, Justice Bruhn enjoys volunteering in the community and spending time with friends and family, including her two wonderful children.

Quick facts

  • 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:

Rachel Rappaport
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: