Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces a judicial appointment in the province of British Columbia

News release

August 28, 2023 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada  

The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment 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.

J. Gareth Morley, Senior Counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia in Victoria, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Victoria. Justice Morley replaces Justice J. Steeves (Victoria), who resigned effective June 11, 2022.


“I wish Justice Morley every success as he takes on his new role. I am confident he will serve British Columbians well as a member of the Supreme Court of British Columbia.”

—The Hon. Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice J. Gareth Morley was born in Toronto and grew up in Victoria. He has a B.A. from the University of Victoria, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and an LLM. from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was called to the bar in Ontario and British Columbia in 1999. 

Justice Morley has been with the British Columbia Ministry of Attorney General, Legal Services Branch since August 1999. He has worked in litigation, giving advice and legislative drafting. Most recently, he has been Senior Counsel providing advice and representing the British Columbia government in constitutional matters. He has been a strong advocate for the role of government lawyers in promoting the rule of law. He was active in the BC Government Lawyers Association for twenty years, serving as its President since 2019. He has published a number of law review articles and is the co-editor, with Justice Karen Horsman, of Government Liability: Law and Practice. He has taught Canadian constitutional law at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops.

Justice Morley lives with his spouse, Melanie Mortensen, and is the proud father of Leda, Mikias and Yohannes.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has appointed more than 645 judges 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 persons, 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:

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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