Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces a judicial appointment in Yukon

News release

November 19, 2020 – 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 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.

Karen Wenckebach, Legal Counsel at the Government of Yukon in Whitehorse, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of Yukon. Madam Justice Wenckebach replaces Madam Justice S. Duncan, who was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Yukon effective September 30, 2020.


 “I wish Justice Wenckebach continued success as she takes on her new role. I am confident she will serve Yukoners well as a member of the Supreme Court of Yukon.”

—The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Karen Wenckebach, the daughter of Argentinian immigrants, was born in Calgary, Alberta, and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. She began her post-secondary education at McGill University, where she earned a B.A. in History with a Minor in Women’s Studies, followed by a Special Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work. After working as a crisis counsellor, she continued her studies at Osgoode Hall Law School. She earned an LL.B. in 2002, and was called to the bar in Ontario in 2003.

Madam Justice Wenckebach began her career as a law clerk to the justices and judges of the Yukon Supreme Court and Territorial Court. After taking time off to begin a family, she joined the Yukon Legal Services Society in 2007 and practised family, poverty, and criminal law. She continued her career with the Government of Yukon, serving as legal counsel from 2013. During this time, she specialized in labour, human rights, and administrative law.

Justice Wenckebach served her professional community in such roles as Second Vice-President and then Secretary of the Law Society of the Yukon and member of the Discipline Committee of the Law Society of Yukon. 

Justice Wenckebach has two wonderful girls and two enthusiastic if not always well-behaved dogs. She speaks Spanish fluently. She enjoys reading everything from classic literature to cyber-punk dystopian novels, running, and going on adventures with her partner in Yukon’s wilderness.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 415 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.

  • 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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