Government of Canada appoints President and Commissioners to the Law Commission of Canada
February 22, 2023
The federal government is committed to a justice system that reflects contemporary Canada and serves all of its citizens. This includes ensuring that Canadian laws are fair, equitable and work to create a better country for all.
The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, today announced the appointment of Shauna Van Praagh as the President of the revived Law Commission of Canada, as well as Sarah Elgazzar and Aidan Edward Johnson as Commissioners. The Commissioners will hold office for a term of four years, with the President holding office for five years, all effective June 6.
The Law Commission of Canada is an independent body that provides non-partisan advice to the federal government on matters relating to the improvement, modernization and reform of Canadian laws. First established as the Law Reform Commission of Canada in 1971 and re-established as the Law Commission of Canada in 1997, the Commission will once again be tasked with reviewing our country’s laws.
The Commission will support the Government of Canada’s efforts toward a more inclusive, representative and accessible justice system – one that respects the rights of marginalized people and protects vulnerable communities. The Commission will develop new approaches to the law to address systemic racism in legislation and the legal system and support reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. Other important priorities like access to justice, legal issues around climate change and rapid technological shifts may also be considered.
“Building a justice system that responds to the needs and realities of Canada’s diverse population is crucial to ensuring public safety. The Law Commission of Canada has a critical role in ensuring that Canada’s legal system keeps up with new challenges in our society, meets the highest standards of equity and fairness and addresses issues of systemic racism and the unique needs of Indigenous peoples.”
- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
“All Canadians deserve a justice system that works for them and responds to their needs. Independent expertise is critical for Canada’s legal system to be responsive to the complex challenges it faces. Re-establishing the Law Commission of Canada will help make our justice system more fair, equitable, and accessible for all Canadians. The appointments announced today move us a critical step closer to the Law Commission resuming its important work.”
- The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., K.C., M.P., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Budget 2021 provided $18 million over five years, starting in 2021-22, and $4 million annually, to re-establish the Law Commission of Canada.
By working with Indigenous partners to study Canadian laws, the Commission will identify and address the gaps in the current system and help advance Indigenous approaches to justice.
Reviving the Law Commission of Canada contributes to the implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 16, to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, provide access to justice for all, and build accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels.
In June 2021, the Government of Canada released the Federal Pathway to Address Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls and 2SLGBTQQIA+ People as part of the National Action Plan.
The re-establishment of the Law Commission of Canada is identified as a key initiative to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system in the Federal Pathway. Reviving the Law Commission of Canada responds to the National Inquiry into MMIWG’s Calls for Justice 5.2, 5.3, 5.14, 5.17 and 5.18.
This initiative will also support whole-of-government efforts to align legislation, policies, programs and initiatives with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples and the implementation of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Act.
The Law Commission of Canada Act, which came into force in 1997, provides for a full-time president, supported by part-time commissioners, all appointed by the Governor in Council, under the recommendation of the Minister of Justice.
To preserve its independence and maintain accountability, the Commission reports to Parliament through the Minister of Justice.
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Public Safety Canada
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
Law Commission of Canada
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