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

News release

April 22, 2024 – 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.

The Honourable Naheed Bardai, a Judge of His Majesty’s Court of King’s Bench for Saskatchewan, is appointed a Judge of Appeal of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan. Justice Bardai replaces Justice R. Leurer, who was elevated to the position of Chief Justice of the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan on October 5, 2023.

Rochelle Wempe, Legal Counsel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, is appointed a Judge of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan in Saskatoon. Justice Wempe replaces Justice R.W. Elson (Saskatoon), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 1, 2023.

Michael J. Morris, K.C., Chairperson at the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board in Regina, is appointed a Judge of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan in Regina. Justice Morris replaces Justice M.D. Tochor (Regina), who was elevated to the position of Associate Chief Justice of His Majesty's Court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan on November 8, 2023.


“I wish Justices Bardai, Wempe, and Morris every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve the people of Saskatchewan well as members of the Court of Appeal and the Court of King's Bench for Saskatchewan.”

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


Justice Naheed Bardai was appointed to His Majesty’s Court of King’s Bench for Saskatchewan in 2020. He earned a degree in Social Sciences and Law from the University of Ottawa. He was called to the Ontario bar in 2001 and to the Saskatchewan bar in 2004.

Justice Bardai is fluently bilingual in French and English. Prior to his appointment to His Majesty’s Court of King’s Bench for Saskatchewan in 2020, he was a partner in the civil litigation group of MLT Aikins LLP for 15 years. He was previously with the Ottawa law firm of Nelligan O’Brien Payne, where he practised in the areas of civil litigation, construction, and condominium law. His litigation experience includes handling civil trials in Ontario, Saskatchewan, and Alberta, on a host of issues.

Justice Bardai has served as President of the Saskatchewan Trial Lawyers Association and has conducted seminars for the Canadian Bar Association’s civil litigation section and the Canadian Centre for Professional Legal Education (CPLED) articling student program. He has also been active in a number of community groups.

Justice Rochelle Wempe grew up in small town Saskatchewan.  She obtained her B.A. and L.L.B. from the University of Saskatchewan in 2001 and was called to the Saskatchewan bar in 2002. She completed a master’s degree at Osgoode Hall Law School in 2011. 

Justice Wempe articled and spent the first years of her career with the Department of Justice Canada and then the Public Prosecution Service of Canada. She practiced civil litigation and administrative law and handled Federal prosecutions in all levels of Court in Saskatchewan. After being seconded to the Ministry of Justice Saskatchewan in 2012, she accepted a position as a Senior Crown Prosecutor with Provincial Prosecutions where she handled complex Criminal Code prosecutions throughout Saskatchewan. At the time of her appointment to the bench, she was in-house legal counsel at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Saskatchewan where she practiced in the areas of professional regulation, policy and governance.    

Justice Wempe developed expertise in trauma informed approaches to sexual violence and represented complainants in sexual assault trials. She also contributed to initiatives aimed at promoting access to justice, including volunteering at the inner-city legal clinic (CLASSIC). As a Bencher with the Law Society of Saskatchewan, she acted as a hearing adjudicator, Chair of the Discipline Policy Committee, and was a member of the Governance, Nominations, Competency and Future of Legal Services Committees.  

Justice Wempe lives outside of Saskatoon with her husband and son. She enjoys staying active through CrossFit, hiking, canoeing, camping and snowboarding with her family and friends.   


Justice Michael J. Morris, K.C., was born and raised in Regina and obtained a Bachelor of Laws (Great Distinction) from the University of Saskatchewan. He later obtained a Master of Laws (Public International Law) from the University of Melbourne, Australia, while studying on a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship. He was called to the bar in Saskatchewan in 2004, placing first in the bar admission course.

Justice Morris clerked with the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. He began his career in private practice, focusing on litigation. In 2008, he joined Saskatchewan's Ministry of Justice and worked as a Crown Prosecutor for several years. He joined the Ministry's Civil Law Branch in 2011 and was employed as Senior Crown Counsel prior to being appointed as the Director of Litigation in 2014. He has appeared before various tribunals and all levels of court in Saskatchewan, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada. He was appointed King's Counsel in 2018 and was appointed as Chairperson of the Saskatchewan Labour Relations Board in 2023.

Justice Morris has presented on litigation and advocacy-related topics to different groups during his career. He served as President of the Rotary Club of Regina South and Chairperson of Rotary District 5550's Global Grants Committee.

Justice Morris and his wife, Melissa, are proud parents of their daughters, Kaitlyn and Claire.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has appointed more than 715 judges since November 2015. This includes 92 appointments since the Honourable Arif Virani became Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on July 26, 2023. 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
Deputy Director, Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice and Attorney General

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada

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