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Minister of Justice announces Judicial Advisory Committee appointments
January 19, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
To continue to improve upon Canada’s tradition of judicial excellence, the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, introduced an open and transparent process to appoint justices of the highest calibre who are representative of the diversity of our great country.
Today, Minister Wilson-Raybould announces the appointments to the Judicial Advisory Committees (JACs) for the following jurisdictions:
- British Columbia
- Ontario – East and North
- Ontario – Greater Toronto Area
- Quebec – West
- Prince Edward Island
- Newfoundland and Labrador
Women make up a strong majority of the new JACs and minority groups have unprecedented representation.
These are the first JACs to be reconstituted in accordance with the new process, announced by the Minister in October 2016. Changes included:
- committees that fully reflect the diversity of our great country;
- revised committee mandates to increase the independence of their work; and
- an open selection process for the three public representatives on each committee – a measure which aims to ensure that all Canadians are properly represented in the appointment process.
JACs are independent bodies mandated to provide non-binding, merit-based recommendations to the Minister of Justice on federal judicial appointments. All individuals seeking appointment to the bench must apply under the new judicial appointment process. The JACs will immediately begin reviewing judicial applications. They will then provide lists of recommended and highly recommended candidates for the Minister’s consideration.
Appointments to JACs in other jurisdictions will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The diversity on the Judicial Advisory Committees is unprecedented and better reflects the make-up of this great country. These Committees have a heavy responsibility to ensure that only the most meritorious candidates are recommended for appointment to the bench. By fulfilling their mandate, they are meeting not only the expectations of Canadians but also the needs of our justice system.”
“Today’s announcement is an important step towards ensuring that our judiciary reflects Canada’s diversity.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
- There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
- The committee members are appointed by the federal government by Order in Council for a two-year term.
- Sixteen of the committees have seven members each, while the Tax Court Judicial Advisory Committee has five members. Each committee is made up of members representing the bench, the bar, and the general public. For the first time, the members representing the general public were selected through an open application process. The following criteria were considered: commitment to public service, knowledge of the judicial system and/or public decision-making processes, subject matter expertise, geographic representation, gender, language abilities, and diversity.
- The JACs have been given a revised mandate, which will serve to strengthen their independence. They will immediately be provided on-line training on unconscious bias as well as training on the importance of diversity in the judiciary by the Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, P.C.
- The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, established in 1978, provides administrative support to the Judicial Advisory Committees. The Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs reports directly to the Minister of Justice. The role of the Office is to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and assess the qualification of lawyers and provincial court judges applying for federal judicial appointment.
- Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor in Council, acting on the recommendations of the Minister of Justice.
This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointments process announced on August 2, 2016. Nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada are selected by the Prime Minister from a recommended list, provided by the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments.
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for British Columbia
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Alberta
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Ontario – East and North
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Ontario – Greater Toronto Area
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Quebec – West
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Prince Edward Island
- Composition of the Judicial Advisory Committee for Newfoundland and Labrador
- Government of Canada announces judicial appointments and reforms the appointments process to increase openness and transparency
- Application process for Minister’s Judicial Advisory Committee
- Frequently Asked Questions: Changes to the Appointments Process for Federal Judges
- Canada's Court System
- Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs
- Constitution Acts, 1867 to 1982
- Judges Act
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