Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces  judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

News release

February 20, 2023 – 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.

Nicola Edmundson, Senior Counsel at Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville in Perth, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court, in Belleville. Justice Edmundson fills one of the two new positions authorized further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1.

J. Ross Macfarlane, a lawyer at Flett Beccario, Barristers & Solicitors in Welland, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Windsor. Justice Macfarlane replaces Justice G. Verbeem (Windsor), who retired effective December 15, 2022.

M. Claire Wilkinson, a sole practitioner in Burlington, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Brampton. Justice Wilkinson fills one of the six remaining positions authorized further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1.

Martha A. Cook, a sole practitioner in Stratford, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in London. Justice Cook fills one of the six remaining positions authorized further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1.

Joseph Perfetto, Director of Crown Operations at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, Criminal Law Division, in London, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in St. Thomas. Justice Perfetto replaces Justice E. Carrington (St. Thomas), who resigned effective May 3, 2022.

Quote

“I wish Justices Edmundson, Macfarlane, Wilkinson, Cook, and Perfetto 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

Biographies

Justice Nicola Edmundson was born in England and moved to Canada at the age of 16. She obtained a BA in Sociology and Law (Criminology) from Carleton University in 1981 and, after six years of working, returned to school and obtained her law degree from Dalhousie University in 1990.

Justice Edmundson articled at Soloway Wright in Ottawa before her call to the bar in 1992, when she went into private practice in Perth. She had a general practice with a focus on family law, child welfare, and criminal law, including working as a part-time assistant Crown attorney. She was also a panel lawyer for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer on both the custody and access panel and the child protection panel. In 2003, she left private practice to go in-house, becoming Senior Counsel in 2009, for what is now known as Family and Children’s Services of Lanark, Leeds and Grenville, where she appeared regularly in both the Perth and Brockville courts. 

Justice Edmundson has been a member of the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies’ Senior Counsel Network Group and was Chair from 2011 to 2013. She was President of the County of Lanark Law Association from 2017 to 2019 and presented at various conferences and volunteered for community organizations.

In her spare time, Justice Edmundson loves to cook, knits voraciously, reads mystery novels, and is looking forward to being able to travel again with her husband. Between them, they have three children and one grandchild.

 

Justice J. Ross Macfarlane was born and raised in Welland. He is an honours graduate of the Arts & Science Program at McMaster University and received his Bachelor of Laws from the University of Ottawa. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1995.

Justice Macfarlane is fluent in French and English. As a law student, he worked in the University of Ottawa Student Legal Aid Clinic, representing clients of limited means in the small claims court. He articled and practised in Ottawa until 2003, when he returned with his family to the Niagara Region as a senior litigator at Flett Beccario in Welland, alongside his father, Duncan. His practice has been primarily civil litigation with an emphasis on commercial, real property, and insolvency matters, with extensive experience before the trial and appellate courts of Ontario. He has most frequently represented and advised financial institutions and licensed insolvency trustees, but has also acted for a diverse range of public and private companies and individuals.

Justice Macfarlane has presented to and assisted in planning many continuing education programs for trustees, lawyers, and clients, and has taught insolvency law at the bar admission course in Ottawa. He is a former president of the Welland County Law Association and has also been a member of the Advocates’ Society, the Ontario Bar Association Council, the Registrars’ Committee for the Toronto Bankruptcy Court, and the Board of Directors of the Niagara College Learning Enterprises Corporation. An avid cook, he has been the president of Les Marmitons International, a cooking club with 19 chapters across North America.

Justice Macfarlane and his wife, Theresa, are the proud parents of two wonderful sons, who are both in university.

Justice M. Claire Wilkinson was born in Burlington. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English and Philosophy from Western University in 1990, and a law degree from Queen’s University in 1993. She was called to the bar in 1995.

Justice Wilkinson has spent her entire legal career practising plaintiff personal injury at Martin & Hillyer Associates in Burlington with a particular focus on assisting survivors of sexual assault. She has a deep knowledge of sexual violence and the profound impact it has on those affected and damaged by sexual assault.

Justice Wilkinson is a past president of the Halton County Law Association and a past president of the Ontario Trial Lawyer’s Association. She has also been an Ontario director for the American Association for Justice since 2013. She was also an elected bencher with the Law Society of Ontario and an adjudicator with the Law Society Tribunal. She was a regular speaker at continuing legal education programs put on by the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, the Hamilton Law Association, and other legal associations. Justice Wilkinson has also sat on the Board of Directors of Mind Forward Brain Injury Services since 2013, and has been a member of the Halton/Hamilton United Way Legal Committee for many years. She was a recipient of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association Distinguished Service Award, and the Halton/Hamilton John F. Evans Award of Community Distinction.

Justice Wilkinson lives in the Hamilton area with her husband, three children, and numerous four-legged creatures. In her spare time, she enjoys travelling, playing hockey, and spending time at the lake.

Justice Martha A. Cook earned her B.Sc. (Hons.) from the University of Waterloo in 1996 and an LL.B. from Queen’s University Law School in 1999. She completed her articles with Davies, Ward, Phillips & Vineberg LLP before being called to the Ontario bar in 2001.

Justice Cook practised civil and administrative law in Toronto before returning to her hometown of Stratford and opening a law practice in 2009. There, she provided legal services in civil litigation, estate matters, administrative law, and selected criminal defence matters. She appeared as counsel before every level of court in Ontario as well as the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal.

Justice Cook volunteered her time to a range of legal and not-for-profit organizations. She was a director of The Advocates’ Society and was past Chair of the Practice Groups Standing Committee, Vice-Chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Steering Committee, and Chair of the Infrastructure Task Force. She was a regular speaker, mentor, and facilitator at continuing legal education programs and enjoyed participating in mock trial programs for elementary, high school and law school students. She was Treasurer of the Huron-Perth Community Legal Services Clinic and served as a director on the Board of Stratford Summer Music.

Justice Cook is a proud mother of one son. She enjoys trying to train her Rhodesian Ridgeback dog, baking, backwoods camping, and adventure travel.

Justice Joseph Perfetto grew up in Toronto and earned a B.A. in Urban and Regional Planning from Ryerson Polytechnic University. Before attending law school, he was employed by a land use planning consultant firm and then as a development coordinator for a residential development firm in Toronto. In 2004, he received an LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario (2004).  He was called to the Ontario bar in 2005.

Justice Perfetto articled with the Crown Law Office – Criminal, later becoming Crown counsel in that Office. There, he appeared regularly before the Ontario Court of Appeal and on inmate appeals. He also appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada.  He was an assistant Crown attorney in Sarnia and London before becoming the Acting Crown Attorney in Stratford and then the Crown Attorney in London.  Most recently, he held the position of Director of Crown Operations for the West Region. Among the activities within this latter role, he has worked on issues around mental health and vicarious trauma.

Justice Perfetto was a wiretap agent and a member of the Ministry of the Attorney General’s Search Expert Group, which allowed him the opportunity to present and provide advice on these topics to Crowns and police. He also regularly provided advice to police and Crowns on issues related to complex criminal prosecutions and prosecuted criminal cases in all levels of Court.

Quick facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 595 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.

Contacts

For more information, media may contact:

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-6568
Chantalle.Aubertin@justice.gc.ca

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

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