Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario
December 19, 2022 – 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.
R. Lee Akazaki, Partner at Gilbertson Davis LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto. Justice Akazaki replaces Justice J. Copeland (Toronto), who was elevated to the Court of Appeal effective March 25, 2022.
Michael Dineen, Counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Crown Law Office – Criminal in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto. Justice Dineen replaces Justice B.A. Conway (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective June 20, 2022.
“I wish Justices Akazaki and Dineen every 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 Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice R. Lee Akazaki came to Canada in 1968 from Japan and grew up in two of Toronto’s multicultural communities, Thorncliffe Park and Malvern. He obtained his B.A.(Hons.) in French and English Literature and International Relations from Trinity College, Toronto, in 1985 and his J.D. from the University of Toronto Law School in 1988. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1990 and was certified as a Specialist in Civil Litigation in 2000.
Justice Akazaki is fluent in French and English. After being trained by one of Canada’s foremost civil litigators of the era, Ian Outerbridge, K.C., from 1990 to 1998, Justice Akazaki continued his practice at Gilbertson Davis LLP. He has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario.
Justice Akazaki has held many leadership positions in law. After serving on the Medico-Legal Society of Toronto Council and the Law Society’s Barrister Advisory Committee, he became Chair of the Ontario Bar Association Civil Litigation Section, Chair of the OBA Continuing Legal Education Main Committee, President of the OBA and a national director of the Canadian Bar Association. After 2011, he served as a director of Canadian Defence Lawyers, a trustee of the OBA Foundation, a bencher of the Law Society, and a member of the Ontario Civil Rules Committee. A proponent of public legal education and diversity in the justice system, he has volunteered as University of Toronto Law School moot court supervisor, high school and junior public school mock trial coach and guest teacher, and speaker at countless legal education seminars and conferences. Justice Akazaki has published widely on topics such as intellectual property, medical malpractice, civil justice reform, and cyber law. He is the recipient of several legal community awards, including the OBA’s Linda Adlam Manning Award for Volunteerism and Joel Kuchar Award for Professionalism and Civility.
Justice Akazaki is supported by an amazing family, plays chess, reads French literature and philosophy, and supports Liverpool F.C. and the Toronto Raptors.
Justice Michael Dineen grew up in Toronto and earned a B.A. at Queen’s University (1999) and a LL.B. at the University of Toronto (2002). He was called to the Ontario bar in 2003.
Justice Dineen articled at the Crown Law Office – Criminal, and began his career as an assistant Crown attorney. He practised as defence counsel for many years with the firm Dawe and Dineen. His practice focused on criminal appeals and he appeared frequently at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. He practised primarily in Toronto with occasional appearances in the Yukon. He then joined the Crown Law Office – Criminal as a counsel in February, 2021.
Justice Dineen was an adjunct professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, teaching Criminal Procedure and Advanced Criminal Procedure and helping supervise the Criminal Appeal Externship. He received an Arbor Award from the University of Toronto for his volunteer work assisting law school moot teams. He has also taught Sexual Offences at Osgoode Hall Law School, as well as Canadian Criminal Law and Evidence at Osgoode Professional Development. Justice Dineen is a co-author of Criminal Appeal: A Practitioner’s Guide. He was a long-time member of the case review committee of Innocence Canada. He volunteered for many years with the Pro Bono Inmate Appeal Program, assisting unrepresented appellants at the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
At the Superior Court level, more than 580 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, 2SLGBTQI+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
To support the needs of the courts and improve access to justice for all Canadians, the Government of Canada is committed to increasing the capacity of superior courts. Budget 2022 provides for 22 new judicial positions, along with two associate judges at the Tax Court of Canada. Along with the 13 positions created under Budget 2021, this makes a total of 37 newly created superior court positions. Since Budget 2017, the government has funded 116 new judicial positions.
Changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments were announced in September 2022. The questionnaire continues to provide for a robust and thorough assessment of candidates but has been streamlined and updated to incorporate, among other things, more respectful and inclusive language for individuals to self-identify diversity characteristics.
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.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting a justice system in which sexual assault matters are decided fairly, without the influence of myths and stereotypes, and in which survivors are treated with dignity and compassion. Changes to the Judges Act and Criminal Code that came into force on May 6, 2021, mean that in order to be eligible for appointment to a provincial superior court, candidates must agree to participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination. The new legislation enhances the transparency of decisions by amending the Criminal Code to require that judges provide written reasons, or enter them into the record, when deciding sexual assault matters.
For more information, media may contact:
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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