Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Newfoundland and Labrador
From Department of Justice Canada
October 20, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the new judicial application process announced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
Vikas Khaladkar, Crown counsel with the Newfoundland and Labrador Department of Justice and Public Safety, is appointed a judge of the Trial Division of the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in St. John’s. He replaces Mr. Justice R. LeBlanc, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 26, 2017.
Mr. Justice Vikas Khaladkar was born in Dar es Salaam, which was then in the British colony of Tanganyika. At age seven, he was sent to boarding school in India – where one of his school friends was the future Freddie Mercury of the rock band Queen. In 1962, Justice Khaladkar and his family immigrated to Canada. His father was convinced, after much deliberation, that Canada was the best country to raise a family. While his father had practised law in India and Tanganyika, he found employment in rural Saskatchewan as a high-school teacher.
Justice Khaladkar received his B.A. with distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 1972. Soon after beginning law school, he took a year off to work as an archaeologist on an environmental impact assessment of the Churchill River in northern Saskatchewan. There he met his future wife, Susan, a Newfoundlander and Labradorean who was working on the same study.
Justice Khaladkar completed his LL.B. at the University of Saskatchewan, articled with the firm of Morgan and Tufts, and was called to the Saskatchewan Bar in 1977. He practised law in that province for 30 years, focusing on First Nations law. Justice Khaladkar was the first General Counsel for the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations (as it is now called). He represented the Federation in negotiations leading up to the Charlottetown Accord, as well as agreements related to gaming jurisdiction and on-reserve policing. In 1984, he successfully argued one of the first Charter cases heard by the Supreme Court of Canada – Therens, dealing with the right to retain counsel upon detention or arrest.
In 2007, Justice Khaladkar accepted a one-year contract as a Crown attorney in Newfoundland and Labrador. The one-year contract turned into a permanent move. Since 2007, Justice Khaladkar has prosecuted cases at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada.
Justice Khaladkar and Susan have two children still resident in Saskatchewan and two wonderful grandchildren.
Excerpts from Justice Khaladkar’s judicial application will be available shortly.
- 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 have been 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.
- Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
- The Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada play a key role in evaluating judicial applications. There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
- Significant reforms to the role and structure of the Judicial Advisory Committees, aimed at enhancing the independence and transparency of the process, were announced on October 20, 2016.
- The Judicial Advisory Committees in 15 jurisdictions have been reconstituted. Most recently, Minister Wilson-Raybould announced the composition of five new Judicial Advisory Committees on June 28, 2017.
- This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment process opened on July 14, 2017. Nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada are selected by the Prime Minister from a thoroughly vetted list of candidates.
For more information, media may contact:
Communications and Parliamentary Affairs Advisor
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada