Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces a judicial appointment in the province of British Columbia
December 14, 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.
Ardith Walkem, Q.C., Lawyer at Cedar and Sage Law Corporation in Chilliwack, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Madam Justice Walkem replaces Madam Justice M. Gropper (Vancouver), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 14, 2020.
“I wish Justice Walkem every success as she takes on her new role. I am confident she will serve the people of British Columbia well as a member of the Supreme Court of B.C.”
—The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice Ardith (Walpetko We'dalks) Walkem, Q.C., grew up in Spences Bridge, B.C., and is a member of the Nlaka'pamux Nation. After completing a B.A. in Political Science and Women’s Studies at McGill, she attended law school at the University of British Columbia. She also earned a Master of Laws degree from UBC with a research focus on Indigenous laws.
Madam Justice Walkem articled at Mandell Pinder and McDonald and Associates. Practising with Cedar and Sage Law, she has worked extensively with Indigenous communities and organizations to support them in asserting their Aboriginal Title Rights and Treaty Rights. She is a mediator who also works within Indigenous dispute-resolution mechanisms. Her work has focused on the rights of children. She authored “Wrapping Our Ways Around Them: Indigenous Communities Child Welfare” (for the ShchEma-mee.tkt project) to support Indigenous communities in implementing their own child welfare laws or to work within existing child welfare regimes and to educate the legal community on how to work effectively with Indigenous peoples.
Access to justice has been a focus of Justice Walkem’s practice, and she has worked with organizations such as the Legal Services Society (Legal Aid B.C.), the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs, and the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal (authoring "Expanding Our Vision: Cultural Equality & Indigenous Peoples' Human Rights”). She co-chaired the Truth and Reconciliation Committee (TRC) advisory committee of the Law Society of B.C. and sat on the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia’s TRC advisory committee, with the aim of encouraging reconciliation and understanding.
Justice Walkem lives in Chilliwack with her wife, Halie, and their two daughters, Sophia and Hannah.
At the Superior Court level, more than 430 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, LGBTQ2+, 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:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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