Minister of Justice announces Judicial Advisory Committee appointments
From Department of Justice Canada
April 13, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, remains committed to appointing judges of the highest calibre who are representative of the diversity of our great country. That commitment is demonstrated by the Minister’s new Judicial Advisory Committee process for assessing applicants to the federally-appointed judiciary.
Today, Minister Wilson-Raybould is proud to announce appointments to the following Judicial Advisory Committees (JACs):
- Quebec – East
- Nova Scotia
Our Government engaged in extensive outreach to encourage applications to the JACs from women and minority groups, who together make up a strong majority of the members of the new JACs.
The committees announced today add to the existing complement of JACs. The first seven JACs constituted under our Government’s new, merit-based assessment process were announced on January 19, 2017. These JACs have started to provide the Minister of Justice with lists of highly recommended and recommended candidates. Key changes to the assessment process included:
- committees that fully reflect the diversity of Canadian society;
- revised committee mandates to increase the independence of their work;
- 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; and
- once appointed, committee members immediately receive diversity and unconscious bias training
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 named today will immediately begin reviewing judicial applications on an expedited basis. They will then provide lists of recommended and highly recommended candidates for the Minister’s consideration.
Appointments to JACs in the remaining jurisdictions will be announced in the coming weeks.
“The quality and 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 the expectations of Canadians and the needs of our justice system. Today’s announcement is a milestone towards a stronger, more diverse judiciary. I hope that exceptional candidates from diverse backgrounds will feel encouraged and inspired to put their names forward for judicial appointment. Judges with varied life experiences have an important contribution to make to our justice system.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
- Budget 2017 proposes additional funding of $55 million over five years beginning in 2017-2018 and $15.5 million per year thereafter for 28 new federally-appointed judges. Of these new positions, 12 would be allotted to Alberta and one to the Yukon, with the remaining 15 being assigned to a pool for needs in other jurisdictions.
- To ensure a judiciary that is responsive, ethical and sensitive to the evolving needs of Canadian society, the Canadian Judicial Council will receive $2.7 million over five years and $0.5 million ongoing thereafter. This will support programming on judicial education, ethics and conduct, including in relation to gender and cultural sensitivity.
- Today’s appointments are separate from the Budget 2017 announcement.
- There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada, with each province and territory represented.
- 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. Aside from the Tax JAC, 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. Considerations were: 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 and 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 role of the Commissioner’s 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.
For more information, media may contact:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice