Politics

Ottawa announces 19 new judicial appointments, as provinces deal with clogged courts

Seven provinces are getting 19 new judges as the federal government tries to narrow the number of judicial vacancies in a stressed system.

There are still 45 federally appointed vacancies across the country

Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada Jody Wilson-Raybould sent out a series of emails Friday notifying Canadians that she is recommending the appointment of 19 new judges. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

Seven provinces are getting 19 new judges as the federal government tries to narrow the number of judicial vacancies in a stressed system.

The Liberal government has faced criticism for the number of holes in provincial and territorial courtrooms, as the justice system continues to feel the stress from a 2016 Supreme Court of Canada decision regarding systemic court delays.

The Jordan decision ruled that unreasonable delays in getting to trial were unacceptable and set deadlines for when proceedings must start. Since then, hundreds of cases of varying severity across Canada have been stayed. 

The Liberals' 2017 budget implementation bill, Bill C-44, created 28 new judicial positions across the country. Out of the recent round of appointments, all but one fill positions that were vacated by a retiring or resigning judge.

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould's office sent out a series of emails Friday announcing the appointments of:

  • Gregory Cann to the Supreme Court of Prince Edward Island.
  • John Bodurtha to the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia in Halifax.
  • Stephen Hamilton,  a judge of the Superior Court of Quebec,  to the Court of Appeal of Quebec in Montreal.
  • Sylvain Lussier to the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal.
  • Bernard Synnott to the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal.
  • Éric Hardy to the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Québec.
  • Nathalie Pelletier to the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Montreal. She fills a new position created under Bill C-44.
  • Alison Harvison Young to the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
  • Barry Tobin to the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario and a member of the Family Court in London.
  • Judy A. Fowler Byrne to the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Brampton.
  • Gillian E. Roberts to the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto.
  • Nancy L. Dennison to the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Brampton.
  • Suranganie Kumaranayake to the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Brampton.
  • Breese Davies to the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Toronto.
  • Karen I. Simonsen, a judge of Her Majesty's Court of Queen's Bench for Manitoba, to the Court of Appeal for Manitoba.
  • Michael Kraus to the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta in Edmonton.
  • Bruce Butler, a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, to the Court of Appeal and a Judge of the Yukon Court of Appeal.
  • Christopher Giaschi to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver.
  • Karen Horsman to the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Even with the recent round of appointments, there are still 45 federally appointed vacancies across the country, according to the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada.

Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, on advice from the federal cabinet and recommendations from the minister of justice.

The Liberal government has also unveiled Bill C-75 as a way to speed up the sputtering legal system.

It proposes major criminal justice changes to unclog Canada's courts, including the elimination of preliminary inquiries except in the case of crimes that carry a life sentence; something the Opposition has called "too little, too late."

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