Government of Canada announces changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments
September 26, 2022 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
Building on reforms made in 2016 to increase the openness, transparency, accountability, and diversity of Canada’s judiciary, today, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announced changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments.
These changes reflect feedback from the Canadian Judicial Council, the Canadian Bar Association and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs that has been received since the questionnaire was first introduced in October 2016. The revised questionnaire continues to give applicants the opportunity and flexibility to highlight their accomplishments and experiences in their responses, including how they live and interact with their local and broader communities, and how their experiences have shaped them.
The revisions reflect a more streamlined approach while maintaining a robust and thorough assessment of candidates. Among the revisions, the questionnaire has been updated to incorporate more respectful and inclusive language for individuals to self-identify diversity characteristics.
The revised questionnaire will continue to provide Judicial Advisory Committees (JACs) with vital information to guide their recommendations. JAC members assess candidates’ professional competence and overall merit, as well as identify any unique experiences or challenges that shaped candidates in their lives and careers. JACs are encouraged to strive to create a pool of candidates that is gender-balanced and reflective of Canada’s diversity.
The judicial application process emphasizes transparency, merit, and the diversity of the Canadian population, and continues to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
“These changes to the federal judicial appointments questionnaire will allow the Judicial Advisory Committees, on whose recommendations I rely, to continue to have the benefit of comprehensive and relevant information. At the same time, I trust that these changes will further encourage candidates from across Canada to consider applying for a judicial appointment and support greater diversity on the bench.”
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
The revised questionnaire is available on the website of the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. Applications from candidates who have submitted the previous version of the questionnaire will remain valid and will not have to re-apply.
The 2SLGBTQI+ acronym used for self-declaration purposes on the questionnaire is a more inclusive acronym that the Government of Canada adopted in August 2022 and includes Two-Spirit and intersex individuals, as well as people who identify as part of sexual and gender diverse communities.
At the Superior Court level, more than 550 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 racialized individuals, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQI+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
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.
- Government of Canada announces judicial appointments and reforms the appointments process to increase openness and transparency, 2016
- Application process for representatives of the general public on Judicial Advisory Committees
- Judicial Advisory Committees
- Canada's Court System
- Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs
- Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982
- Judges Act
- Federal 2SLGBTQI+ Action Plan 2022
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Department of Justice Canada
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