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

News release

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

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 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.

Jason P. Howie, Partner at Howie Johnson Barristers & Solicitors in Windsor, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Sarnia. Justice Howie replaces Justice J.C. George (Sarnia), who was elevated to the Court of Appeal on December 17, 2021.

Sandra Antoniani, a sole practitioner in Hamilton, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Hamilton. Justice Antoniani replaces Justice T. Skarica (Hamilton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 22, 2023.

Jennifer E. Bezaire, Managing Partner at Greg Monforton & Partners Injury Lawyers in Windsor, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Windsor. Justice Bezaire replaces Justice T.J. Carey (Windsor), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 28, 2023.

Alexandre Kaufman, Associate Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Ottawa. Justice Kaufman replaces Justice R.L. Maranger (Ottawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 17, 2023.


“I wish Justices Howie, Antoniani, Bezaire, and Kaufman 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. Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Jason P. Howie graduated from the Faculty of Law at the University of Windsor in 1987. He was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1989.

Justice Howie started as an associate at Wilson Walker Hochberg Slopen (now Miller Canfield). He soon focussed his practice in family law and went on to open his own practice. His partner, Amy Johnson, joined his practice in 2016 after articling at his firm.

Justice Howie was a member of The Advocates’ Society, the Essex Law Association, and the Essex County Family Law Lawyers Association where he served as president and vice president. He led a committee to reconstitute this Association as the Family Law Association of Windsor following the COVID-19 outbreak. He was a long-time member of the Essex County Superior Court of Justice Bench Bar Committee. He was selected as a representative to the Provincial Family Law Working Group of the Superior Court of Justice. He was an instructor of the Bar Admissions Course [London and Windsor] in the areas of professional responsibility and family law. He presented to the Middlesex Law Association, Ontario Bar Association, and the Law Society of Ontario. He participated as a Mentor for the Law Society of Ontario Coach/Mentor program. During his practice, he appeared at all levels of Court in Ontario. He was recognized as a leading lawyer in peer-reviewed legal publications.

Justice Howie has been happily married for 36 years and is very proud of his two adult children. He refined his skills in conflict resolution as a high school and college basketball referee.

Justice Sandra Antoniani was born and raised in Toronto, the first generation Canadian daughter of Italian immigrants Franca and Martino. With the encouragement of her parents, she completed an undergraduate degree at York University, and a law degree at the University of Manitoba. She was called to the Bar in Ontario in 1991.

Justice Antoniani practiced as a criminal defence lawyer in Toronto for nearly 10 years, before moving to Hamilton and accepting an agent contract with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in 2007. In that role, she prosecuted offences under the Income Tax Act, the Environmental Protection Act, the Immigration & Refugee Protection Act, and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. For the past 5 years, she has led a small firm of dedicated criminal lawyers and paralegals, and together they have conducted hundreds of federal prosecutions each year in Hamilton and Brantford. In 2014, she worked alongside defence colleagues and members of the Judiciary to introduce the first Drug Treatment Court to the Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton.

When not engaged in the practice of law, Justice Antoniani has published a children’s book, conceived and orchestrated an art exhibit to raise awareness on the issue of substance abuse, and volunteered on the boards of directors of Wayside House and Mission Services, both in Hamilton, Ontario.

Justice Antoniani resides on a farm outside of Dundas, Ontario, with her wonderful husband Roger, their son Owen Martino, and their adorable terrier, Fig.

Justice Jennifer E. Bezaire was raised in Amherstburg, ON. She attended University of Windsor, receiving an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology in 1998 and her law degree in 2001. While at university she received numerous academic awards, most notably the university’s Board of Governor’s Medal in 1999 and 2000.

Justice Bezaire articled and was an associate lawyer at Fraser, Milner, Casgrain LLP (now Dentons LLP) in Toronto. In 2004 she returned home to Essex County and joined Greg Monforton & Partners where she practiced injury law exclusively. In 2013, she joined the firm’s partnership and in 2022 she became the managing partner.

Justice Bezaire was also an active volunteer. Most recently, she was an Executive Member of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association, an appointee to the Ontario Civil Rules Committee, a member of the Product Technical Advisory Committee of the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, and co-chair of the Windsor-Essex Bench and Bar Committee. She was also a sessional instructor at the Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, where she taught Automobile Insurance Law to upper year law students.

Justice Bezaire lives in Amherstburg with her husband, three children and their beloved puppy. She enjoys time with family, travelling and is in the midst of learning to navigate the Essex County waterways as a new boater.

Justice Alexandre Kaufman was born in Romania, where he lived until his family obtained refugee status in Canada in 1980. He was raised in Montreal, Québec and obtained a B.A. in Western Civilization and Culture from Concordia University’s Liberal Arts College in 1996. He earned a degree in International Commerce from the École des Hautes Études Commerciales in 1999, followed by an LL.B. from Queen’s University in 2002. He was admitted to the Ontario bar in 2003.

In addition to English and French, Justice Kaufman is fluent in Spanish and Romanian. After completing his articles with Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP, he worked as a litigator for the Federal Crown with the Department of Justice’s Civil Litigation Section, and as a Crown prosecutor with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. His legal practice encompassed various areas, including administrative law, constitutional law, commercial law, trade remedies, human rights and employment law and torts. Justice Kaufman appeared before all levels of court in Ontario as well as numerous federal administrative tribunals. He was appointed as an Associate Justice with the Superior Court of Ontario in 2018, presiding over civil, family and bankruptcy matters in both official languages.

Justice Kaufman has demonstrated a deep commitment to legal education. He has imparted his knowledge by teaching trial advocacy and civil procedure at the University of Ottawa and Algonquin College. He actively engaged as a frequent lecturer in various legal education programs. He served as the regional chair of the Ontario Judicial Education Network (OJEN) and is the co-author of Arbitration Legislation of Ontario.

Justice Kaufman takes great pride in his family life and is happily married to Amy, with whom he is the proud parent of four wonderful children.

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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