Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of British Columbia
March 24, 2021 – 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 Leonard Marchand, a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Kamloops, is appointed a Justice of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. Mr. Justice Marchand replaces Mr. Justice H.M. Groberman (Vancouver), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 1, 2021.
F. Matthew Kirchner, managing partner at Ratcliff & Company LLP in Vancouver, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Mr. Justice Kirchner replaces Mr. Justice E. Myers (Vancouver), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 22, 2020.
“I wish Justices Marchand and Kirchner every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve the people of British Columbia well as members of the Court of Appeal and Supreme Court of British Columbia.”
—The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice Leonard Marchand was appointed to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in 2017. A member of the Okanagan Indian Band, he grew up in Kamloops, British Columbia. After finishing a B.A.Sc. in chemical engineering at the University of British Columbia in 1986, he worked in the oil industry for five years. He then went to law school at the University of Victoria in 1991, graduating in 1994.
At the time of his appointment to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Mr. Justice Marchand was a judge of the Provincial Court of British Columbia, where he had served from 2013 to 2017. Prior to that, he articled and practised law at Fulton & Company LLP in Kamloops from 1995 to 2013. During his days in practice, he focused on the liability of public authorities. He has appeared before all levels of court and many administrative tribunals.
Justice Marchand has dedicated a substantial portion of his career to achieving reconciliation for many Indigenous people through, among other things, pursuing civil claims of historic child abuse in institutional settings and representing a large number of residential school survivors. In 2005, he helped negotiate and was a signatory to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement, the largest class-action settlement in Canadian history. He served on the Oversight Committee for the Independent Assessment Process and also on the Selection Committee for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. Justice Marchand has had the privilege of presiding in First Nations Court in Kamloops, where, with input from Elders, healing plans are developed for offenders.
Justice F. Matthew Kirchner was born and raised in Victoria, British Columbia. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in History in 1994 and a Bachelor of Laws in 1997, both from the University of British Columbia.
Mr. Justice Kirchner served as a law clerk in the British Columbia Supreme Court before articling at Ratcliff and Company LLP in Vancouver. He was called to the bar in 1999 and has remained at Ratcliff throughout his career, most recently as managing partner. His law practice has focused on Aboriginal rights litigation. He has represented First Nations and Indigenous clients in several major Aboriginal rights trials, appeals, and judicial reviews, including commercial fishing rights cases, land and reserve claims, fiduciary duty claims, natural resource disputes, and environmental issues. He has appeared in all levels of court in British Columbia, the federal courts, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Kirchner has served on the Boards of the Georgia Strait Alliance, a non-profit organization dedicated to the environmental protection of the Strait of Georgia and surrounding waters, and the Gambier Island Conservancy. He also serves as a volunteer for the Vancouver Athletic Football Club, helping to coach a youth soccer team.
Apart from the law, Justice Kirchner enjoys spending time on the water in Howe Sound and at his extended family’s cottage on Gambier Island with his partner, Lisa, and their two children.
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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