Prime Minister announces new Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointments process

OTTAWA, Aug. 2, 2016 /CNW/ - Today, the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced a new process for appointing Supreme Court of Canada Justices that is open, transparent, and sets a higher standard for accountability.

Under the new process, an independent and non-partisan Advisory Board has been given the task of identifying suitable candidates who are jurists of the highest caliber, functionally bilingual, and representative of the diversity of our great country.

For the first time, any qualified Canadian lawyer or judge may apply for appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada through the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs.

The seven-member Advisory Board, chaired by former Prime Minister Kim Campbell, includes four members nominated by independent professional organizations. The Advisory Board will review candidates who apply and will submit a shortlist of three to five individuals for consideration by the Prime Minister.

To enhance transparency, the assessment criteria guiding the Advisory Board, the questionnaire that all applicants must answer, and certain answers provided to the questionnaire by the Prime Minister's eventual nominee, will all be made public.

The Minister of Justice and the chair of the Advisory Board will appear before Parliament to discuss the selection process. A number of Members of Parliament and Senators – from all parties – will also have the opportunity to take part in a Q&A session with the eventual nominee, before she or he is appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Fundamentally, this process will demonstrate a degree of rigor and responsibility that Canadians expect from their government.

Quote

"The Supreme Court of Canada is respected nationally and internationally for its excellence—it is recognized as a model of a strong, independent judicial institution. This is due in no small part to a tradition of appointing only the most exceptional and impressive individuals to the court. We are committed to maintaining this tradition—and improving on it—by introducing an open, transparent and non-partisan process that will help ensure that the best, most well-qualified people reflective of Canadian society are named to Canada's top court."
– Rt. Hon. Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada

Quick Facts

  • The following members have been named to the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments:
    • The Right Honourable Kim Campbell – Chairperson – former Prime Minister of Canada and Canadian Consul General, and currently the Founding Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta
    • Camille Cameron – member – Dean of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, and Chair of the Canadian Council of Law Deans
    • Jeff Hirsch – member – President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and partner with a Winnipeg law firm
    • Stephen Kakfwi – member - former Premier of the Northwest Territories and President of the Dene Nation, and currently working to improve the recognition and realities of Aboriginal peoples within Canada
    • Lili-Anna Pereša – member - President and Executive Director of Centraide of Greater Montreal
    • Richard J. Scott – member – former Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Appeal, and current counsel, arbitrator and mediator in a Winnipeg law firm
    • Susan Ursel – member – currently a senior partner with a Toronto firm, and Chair of the Canadian component of the African Legal Research Team which provides legal research support to Envisioning Global LGBT Rights
  • Applications are now being accepted for the position that will become vacant in September with the retirement of the Honourable Justice Cromwell.
  • The application period ends on Wednesday, August 24.
  • Qualified lawyers and persons holding judicial office from across Canada who wish to be considered for the upcoming vacancy must complete and submit an application package no later than 23:59 Pacific daylight time on August 24, 2016.

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Backgrounder

New process for judicial appointments to
the Supreme Court of Canada

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the process of appointing Supreme Court of Canada Justices is transparent, inclusive, and accountable to Canadians. To deliver on this commitment, an independent and non-partisan advisory board has been created that will recommend qualified, functionally bilingual candidates who reflect a diversity of backgrounds and experiences for appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada.

How to apply to be considered for an appointment

Applications for a position on the Supreme Court of Canada, that will become vacant in September with the retirement of the Honourable Justice Cromwell, are now being accepted. Qualified lawyers and persons holding judicial office from across Canada who wish to be considered for this vacancy must apply to the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments through the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. Those interested in applying are encouraged to first review the statutory requirements set out in the Supreme Court Act, as well as the Statement of Qualifications and Assessment Criteria that will guide the Advisory Board in evaluating the candidates' suitability. Applicants will need to complete and submit an application package that includes a questionnaire, an authorization form, and a background check consent form. The deadline to submit an application package is no later than 23:59 Pacific daylight time on August 24, 2016.

The Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments

The seven-member Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments includes four members who have been nominated as follows:

  • A retired judge nominated by the Canadian Judicial Council;
  • Two lawyers, one nominated by the Canadian Bar Association and the other by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada; and
  • A legal scholar nominated by the Council of Canadian Law Deans.

The other three members, including two non-lawyers, have been nominated by the Minister of Justice.

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell has been designated as the Chairperson of the Advisory Board. All members have been appointed to renewable terms of six months.

The Advisory Board's mandate is to provide recommendations for a position that will become vacant on September 1, 2016 with the retirement of the Honourable Justice Cromwell.

The Advisory Board will consider applications received through the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. Part of the Advisory Board's work will be to actively seek out qualified candidates and encourage them to apply. The Advisory Board will consult with the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and other key stakeholders the Board considers appropriate. The statutory requirements and the publicly-available criteria will guide the work of the Advisory Board. The Advisory Board will only recommend candidates who are functionally bilingual.

Members of the Advisory Board will be expected to observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity, and objectivity in their consideration of all candidates.

In establishing a list of qualified candidates, the Advisory Board will also seek to support the Government of Canada's intent to achieve a Supreme Court of Canada that is gender-balanced and reflects the diversity of members of Canadian society.

The Advisory Board will provide the Prime Minister with non-binding, merit-based recommendations of three to five qualified and functionally bilingual candidates for consideration. The Advisory Board will also provide an assessment of how each candidate meets the statutory requirements and the extent to which they meet the publicly-available criteria.

The Minister of Justice will consult on the shortlist of candidates with the Chief Justice of Canada, relevant provincial and territorial attorneys general, relevant cabinet ministers, opposition Justice Critics, as well as members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, and the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. Following these consultations, the Minister of Justice will present recommendations to the Prime Minister who will then choose the nominee.

Within a month of the judge being appointed, the Advisory Board will submit a report that outlines how it fulfilled its mandate, including costs related to its activities and statistics related to the applications received. The Advisory Board may also use the report to make recommendations for improving the process. To ensure transparency and accountability, the report will be made public.

Participation by Members of Parliament and Senators

To further enhance transparency and accountability, opportunities will be provided for Members of Parliament and Senators to participate in this appointments process.

At the outset, the Minister of Justice will be available to appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to explain the new appointments process, as well as the criteria which will guide the work of the Advisory Board.

Once the Prime Minister has chosen the nominee, the Minister of Justice and the Chairperson of the Advisory Board will appear before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to explain how the chosen nominee meets the statutory requirements and the criteria. Further to the committee hearing, the nominee will also take part in a moderated question and answer session with members of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs, and representatives from the Bloc Québécois and the Green Party.

 

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell

The Right Honourable Kim Campbell served in 1993 as Canada's nineteenth and first female Prime Minister. Prior to becoming Prime Minister, she held various Cabinet positions, including Minister of State for Indian Affairs and Northern Development, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Minister of National Defence, and Minister of Veterans Affairs. She was the first woman to serve as Canada's Minister of Justice and Minister of National Defence, as well as the first to serve as Minister of Defence of a NATO member country.

Ms. Campbell was the Canadian Consul General in Los Angeles from 1996 to 2000, and later taught at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government from 2001 to 2004. She was also Chair of the Council of Women World Leaders, and past President of the International Women's Forum. From 2004 to 2006, Ms.Campbell was Secretary General of the Club de Madrid, an organization of former presidents and prime ministers of which she is a founding member.

Since 2014, Ms. Campbell has devoted much of her time to serving as the Founding Principal of the new Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta. Ms. Campbell continues to speak on a wide variety of topics through her participation in the American Program Bureau and the National Speakers Bureau. She is a trustee of the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation and Political Violence at King's College London, and serves on several corporate and non-profit boards, and advisory committees, including Equal Voice, a Canadian organization devoted to achieving gender parity in the Canadian House of Commons.

One-line bio:

  • The Right Honourable Kim Campbell – Chairperson – former Prime Minister of Canada and Canadian Consul General, and currently the Founding Principal of the Peter Lougheed Leadership College at the University of Alberta

Camille Cameron

Camille Cameron is Dean of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, and Chair of the Canadian Council of Law Deans. Prior to joining Dalhousie University, she was the Dean of Windsor Law School, and a professor at the University of Melbourne in Australia where she also served a term as Associate Dean and was Director of the law school's Civil Justice Research Group. Before beginning her academic career, Ms. Cameron worked in private practice for 10 years, specializing in civil litigation.

In 1996, Ms. Cameron's worked in Cambodia with a human rights group training lay criminal defenders and judges, and she has since been a consultant on similar judicial training projects in various countries, including Vietnam, Laos, Mongolia, China, Thailand, the Maldives, and Indonesia.  

Ms. Cameron's research interests focus on class actions, litigation funding, access to justice and the administration of civil justice. She has presented on these and related topics at national and international conferences. She is a member of an international research collaborative group that has just completed a book on comparative class actions in common law and civil law systems. In 2015, she worked with the Federal Court of Australia to advise the Indonesian judiciary on that country's class action legislation.

Ms. Cameron has served as the Chair of the Board of Governors of Legal Aid Windsor, the Windsor Advisory Board of Community Legal Aid, and the Ontario Law Deans. She has also been a member of the Board of the Law Commission of Ontario, and a member of the Board of Directors of Hiatus House, a shelter for women and children in Windsor.

One-line bio:

  • Camille Cameron – member – Dean of the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University, and Chair of the Canadian Council of Law Deans

Jeff Hirsch

Jeff Hirsch is the President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and represents the Federation on the Action Committee on Access to Justice in Civil and Family Matters, where he is a member of the Steering Committee.

Called to the Bar in 1987, Mr, Hirsch practices as a partner with the Winnipeg firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP, primarily in the areas of administrative law, commercial litigation and professional negligence. Mr. Hirsch was selected for inclusion in the 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of Best Lawyers in Canada for Administrative and Public Law. He has been, and continues to be, an advocate for enhancing Canadians' ability to access legal services and for effective, equal access to justice.

Mr. Hirsch was President of the Law Society of Manitoba from 2009 to 2010, and is a Life Bencher, having served from 2002 to 2010. He taught Remedies at the Faculty of Law at the University of Manitoba from 1995 to 2014 and, in 2017, he will return to Robson Hall as a sessional lecturer on access to justice.

One-line bio:

  • Jeff Hirsch – member – President of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada, and partner with a Winnipeg law firm

Stephen Kakfwi

Stephen Kakfwi is a former Premier of the Northwest Territories (NWT) and former President of the Dene Nation. Originally from Fort Good Hope, NWT, he represented the Sahtu riding in the NWT Legislative Assembly from 1987 until his retirement in 2003, serving the entire time as an elected member of the NWT Executive Council. He is the longest-serving Cabinet Minister in the territory's history.

Mr. Kakfwi is a popular public speaker known for his personal and moving insights on the residential school experience, and the importance of meaningful reconciliation. He founded Canadians for a New Partnership in 2014, a coalition of distinguished Canadians committed to strengthening the country through the creation of a new partnership between First Peoples and others in Canada. Mr. Kakfwi maintains a successful independent consulting practice advising on conservation, indigenous affairs, and resource and governance negotiations. Originally trained as a teacher, he currently serves as a mentor and advisor to the organization Dene Nahjo, and as a board member for Pearson College.

Mr. Kakfwi is a recipient of the Governor General's Northern Medal, and the National Aboriginal Achievement Award for public service. He is a celebrated singer-songwriter, and has been nominated for National Aboriginal Music Awards. Mr. Kakfwi lives in Yellowknife, NWT, with his wife. They have three children and four grandchildren.

One-line bio:

  • Stephen Kakfwi – member - former Premier of the Northwest Territories and President of the Dene Nation, and currently working to improve the recognition and realities of Aboriginal peoples within Canada

Lili-Anna Pereša

Born in Montréal, Lili-Anna Pereša is an engineer by training and graduated from the École Polytechnique de Montréal in 1987. Ms. Pereša also holds a graduate degree in management from McGill University, and a master's degree in political science from the Sorbonne in Paris. She has been President and Executive Director of Centraide of Greater Montreal since 2013.

Ms. Pereša first became a volunteer aid worker at the age of 25 when she accepted an assignment from World University Service of Canada to teach in Malawi. She later worked for Oxfam-Québec as a management consultant to Burkina Secours in Burkina Faso and, in 1994, she joined CARE Austria and worked in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Ms. Pereša directed several community and humanitarian organizations, including les petits frères des Pauvres, the YWCA of Montreal, and Amnesty International France, before serving as Executive Director of ONE DROP from 2009 to 2012.

She is a member of the Ordre des ingénieurs du Québec, the International Women's Forum, the Amies d'affaires, and the Advisory Committee for the 2017 Summit of the Mallet Institute. She is also a member of the National Executive Committee of the 2017 Governor General's Canadian Leadership Conference, a board member of the Domaine Forget, and the Mobile Giving Foundation Canada. 

Ms. Pereša's involvement in humanitarian aid has earned her numerous distinctions, including the Mercure Leadership Germaine-Gibara Award at the 2016 Mercuriades, the Meritorious Service Award for Community Service from the Canadian Council of Professional Engineers, an honorary doctorate from the Université de Montréal, and being named a Fellow of Engineers Canada.

One-line bio

  • Lili-Anna Pereša – member - President and Executive Director of Centraide of Greater Montreal

Richard Jamieson Scott

Richard Jamieson Scott graduated from the University of Manitoba and was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1963. He practiced law from 1963 to 1985 with the Winnipeg law firm Thompson Dorfman Sweatman, was chairperson of the Civil Litigation Subsection of the Manitoba and Canadian Bar Associations from 1975 to 1978, and a member of the board of directors for Legal Aid Manitoba from 1976 to 1982. He was a Bencher of the Law Society of Manitoba from 1980 to 1984, and President from 1983 to1984.

In 1985, Mr. Scott was appointed as a judge to the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba and, later that year, as Associate Chief Justice of the Court of Queen's Bench of Manitoba. In 1990, he was appointed Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Appeal.

Mr. Scott has also been an active member with the Canadian Judicial Council since joining in 1985. He was Chairperson of various committees (including the Judicial Independent Committee, the Special Working Committee on the Preparation of Ethical Principles for Judges, and the Judicial Conduct Committee) and served as the Council's First Vice-Chairperson.

After retiring as Chief Justice of Manitoba in 2013, Mr. Scott served as the Independent Chairperson of the Discipline Committee of the Manitoba Law Society, and as a counsel/arbitrator/mediator with the Winnipeg civil litigation firm of Hill Sokalski Walsh Olson. He has also been active with several charities, including the Legal Help Centre, the Manitoba Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Winnipeg Foundation, and Winnipeg Harvest.

One-line bio:

  • Richard J. Scott – member – former Chief Justice of the Manitoba Court of Appeal, and current counsel, arbitrator and mediator in a Winnipeg law firm

Susan Ursel

Susan Ursel received her Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1984. She received an award in civil litigation during the Bar Admission course, and was called to the Bar in 1986. She currently works as a senior partner with the Toronto law firm of Ursel Phillips Fellows Hopkinson LLP, and serves as Chair of the Canadian component of the African Legal Research Team which provides legal research support to the multi-disciplinary project Envisioning Global LGBT Rights.

An experienced litigator, Ms. Ursel's work includes both arbitration/trial level work, and appellate advocacy. She practices in the areas of labour, employment, pay equity, employment equity, human rights, pensions, and benefits law. She has practiced at all court levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada, as well as extensively before labour boards, human rights tribunals, and arbitration boards.

Ms. Ursel is a member of the Ontario Bar Association, the Canadian Association of Labour Lawyers, and the Association of Human Rights Lawyers. She has also been a founding member or director of various groups and organizations, including the Coalition for the Reform of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, the Association of Human Rights Lawyers, the Foundation for Equal Families, the Feminist Legal Analysis Committee, the Gay and Lesbian Issues and Rights Committee of the Canadian Bar Association: Ontario (now the SOGIC of the Ontario Bar Association), and Pro Bono Law Ontario.

Ms. Ursel has received the Lifetime Achievement Award from Pro Bono Ontario in 2016, the Canadian Bar Association's Young Lawyer's Pro Bono Service Award in 1998, and the Canadian Bar Association's Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Conference Hero Award in 2011.

One-line bio:

  • Susan Ursel – member – currently a senior partner with a Toronto firm, and Chair of the Canadian component of the African Legal Research Team which provides legal research support to Envisioning Global LGBT Rights

 

SOURCE Prime Minister's Office

For further information: PMO Media relations: 613-957-5555

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