OTTAWA, June 28, 2017 /CNW/ - 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):
Our Government engaged in extensive outreach to encourage applications to the JACs from women, Indigenous peoples, 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 ten JACs constituted under our Government's new, merit-based assessment process were announced on January 19, 2017 and April 13, 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
- training in diversity and unconscious bias given to committee members as soon as they are appointed
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 the JACs in two remaining jurisdictions – the Tax Court of Canada and the Northwest Territories – will be announced shortly.
"The quality and diversity on the Judicial Advisory Committees (JAC) are unprecedented and better reflect the make-up of this great country. For example, for the first time in history, Inuit members make up the majority of Nunavut's Judicial Advisory Committee. 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 includes 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 will 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.
- 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 Court 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 as follows: 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.
SOURCE Justice Canada, Department of
For further information: For more information, media may contact: Kathleen Davis, Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor, Office of the Minister of Justice, 613-992-4621; Media Relations, Department of Justice Canada, 613-957-4207, firstname.lastname@example.org