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

News release

May 13, 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.

Ira G. Parghi, a sole practitioner in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto. Justice Parghi replaces Justice C.A. Gilmore (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective August 23, 2023.

Benita Wassenaar, Crown Counsel at the Crown Law Office (Criminal) of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto. Justice Wassenaar replaces Justice T. Ducharme (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective October 1, 2023.


“I wish Justices Parghi and Wassenaar 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 of Ontario.”

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


Justice Ira G. Parghi was born and raised in Kamloops and is the proud daughter of Indian immigrants. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy (with distinction) from Stanford University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She was admitted to the bars of Ontario, New York, and California.

Justice Parghi’s practice encompassed litigation and advisory work and spans several jurisdictions. She has expertise in privacy and information law, health regulatory law, tort law, digital health, and artificial intelligence. She has spoken and published widely in these areas. Her clients have included hospitals, health care facilities, medtech companies, universities, research institutes, and non-profits. She is an experienced adjudicator, having served for many years as a Co-Chair of the University of Toronto Tribunal. She is recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. She has worked at Torys, Lax O’Sullivan Cronk (now Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb), Borden Ladner Gervais, Ropes & Gray, and INQ Law.

Justice Parghi has served the legal profession and community as a member of the Canadian Blood Services Research Ethics Board and the boards of directors of the South Asian Bar Association – Toronto, South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, and Gerstein Crisis Centre. She has mentored dozens of lawyers, most of them racialized and/or internationally trained.

Justice Benita Wassenaar was born and raised in Toronto. She received an Honours degree in Business Administration from Western University and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. She attended law school at the University of British Columbia and clerked at the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. She then articled at the Crown Law Office – Criminal (“CLO-C”), part of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2001.

Justice Wassenaar has been counsel at CLO-C. She has appeared at every level of court in Ontario. She has argued many large, complex appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and has appeared as a party and intervener in the Supreme Court of Canada. She held a number of administrative and managerial roles at CLO-C, including Summer Student Program Coordinator, Counsel to the Director, and Deputy Director. She was a member of the F/P/T Heads of Prosecution sub-committee on the Prevention of Miscarriages of Justice. In 2023, she was appointed to the Death Investigation Oversight Council, an independent body overseeing Ontario’s death investigation system.

Justice Wassenaar is deeply committed to mentorship. She has been an articling principal to law students and a mentor to lawyers. She ran an annual Crown school course on Appellate Advocacy, taught Legal Research and Writing to law students, assisted with a variety of moots, and volunteered with the Ontario Justice Education Network.

Justice Wassenaar enjoys spending time with her husband, three wonderful children, and dog.

Quick facts

  • The Government of Canada has appointed more than 733 judges since November 2015. This includes 106 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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