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

News release

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

August 14, 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.

Brian C.J. Holowka, Crown Attorney at the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Ottawa. Justice Holowka replaces Justice M. O'Bonsawin (Ottawa), who was elevated to the Supreme Court of Canada on September 1, 2022. Due to internal court transfers by the Chief Justice, the vacancy is located in L'Orignal. 


“I wish Justice Holowka every success as he takes on his new role. I am confident he will serve Ontarians well as a member of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario.”

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


Justice Brian C.J. Holowka was born in Lachine, Québec and grew up in Ottawa where he attended Lisgar Collegiate Institute and the University of Ottawa. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1991 where he was a student in the Intensive Program in Criminal Law. He was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1993.

Justice Holowka is fluent in English and French. He articled for Greenspan, Humphrey in Toronto and then clerked for the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario before he joined the Ontario Ministry of Attorney General as an Assistant Crown Attorney, working in York and Peel Regions. He returned home to Ottawa, joining the Ottawa Crown Attorney’s Office in 1999. He was Deputy Crown Attorney in Ottawa from 2009 until 2019, when he was appointed the Crown Attorney for Ottawa. He was an experienced wiretap agent and a member of both the Ministry’s Search Experts Group, and Child Homicide Resource Team.

Justice Holowka was actively involved in legal education throughout his career. He regularly presented to police and members of the profession in the areas of search and seizure, wiretapping and the conduct of complex criminal cases. He was a director of the Ontario Crown Complex Prosecution and Wiretap Courses. Since 2014, he has been an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law, where he has taught courses in criminal law and procedure as well as forensic science.

Justice Holowka and his wife, Myriam, are the proud parents of Samuel, Antonin, and Léonie, who were raised in both the French and English languages.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has appointed more than 630 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 and Attorney General of Canada

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

Search for related information by keyword: Law | Department of Justice Canada | Canada | Justice | general public | news releases | Hon. Arif Virani

Page details

Date modified: