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Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario
May 19, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments 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.
The Honourable Thomas A. Heeney, Regional Senior Judge for the Southwest Region of the Superior Court of Justice, is transferred back to the regular complement in Woodstock, effective June 1, 2017.
The Honourable Bruce G. Thomas, a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Chatham, is appointed Regional Senior Judge for the Southwest Region to replace Mr. Justice Thomas A. Heeney, effective June 1, 2017.
Patrick J. Monahan, Deputy Attorney General for the Province of Ontario, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. He replaces Mr. Justice G.T. Trotter, who was elevated to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on October 19, 2016.
M.J. Lucille Shaw, a partner with Miller Maki LLP in Sudbury, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton. She replaces Madam Justice P.C. Hennessy (Sudbury), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 10, 2017. The Chief Justice has transferred this position to Brampton.
Heather J. Williams, a partner with Cavanagh Williams LLP in Ottawa, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa. She replaces Mr. Justice T.D. Ray, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 8, 2017.
Lise G. Favreau, general counsel with the Ministry of the Attorney General in Toronto, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto. She replaces Mr. Justice L.A. Pattillo, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 30, 2017.
Michelle O’Bonsawin, general counsel with the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group in Ottawa, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa. She replaces Mr. Justice P.B. Kane, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 27, 2017.
Julie Audet, a senior family lawyer at ALT Divorce in Ottawa and Embrun, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and a member of the Family Court in Ottawa. She replaces Madam Justice A. Doyle, whom the Chief Justice has transferred into a general complement position.
Hélène C. Desormeau, a partner at Desormeau & Giggey LLP in Cornwall, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice and a member of the Family Court in Cornwall. She replaces Madam Justice J. Lafrance-Cardinal, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective April 22, 2017.
Justice Thomas A. Heeney was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1998 and became the Regional Senior Judge for the Southwest Region in June 2012. Prior to his appointment to the bench, Justice Heeney practised in general litigation with Mandryk and Heeney in Tillsonburg, Ontario. He received his LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario in 1977 and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 1980. Justice Heeney has served on the Technology Committee of the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association. He is currently a member of the Association’s executive and co-chair of its Conduct Review Committee. He also serves as a Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court of Yukon. He chaired the Judicial Advisory Committee for three years prior to his appointment as Regional Senior Judge. As a trial judge, he has presided over some complex and highly publicized murder trials in London.
Justice Bruce G. Thomas was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice in 1999 and subsequently to the Superior Court of Justice in 2008. Throughout his judicial career, Justice Thomas has dedicated himself to courts administration. While a member of the provincial court, he served as Regional Senior Judge for the West Region. Since joining the Superior Court of Justice, he has been the local administrative judge in Windsor, Chatham, and Sarnia. A graduate of the University of Western Ontario (B.A., 1976) and the University of Windsor (LL.B., 1979), Justice Thomas practised with McGuire, McFarlane & Thomas prior to his appointment to the bench. His practice included criminal law, family law, and civil litigation.
Justice Thomas has been active in continuing education. He was the criminal law education chair for the provincial court, and he has taught extensively across Canada in the programming of the National Judicial Institute.
Justice Patrick J. Monahan served as Deputy Attorney General for the Province of Ontario from November 2012 until his appointment to the bench. Previously, he had been Provost and Vice President Academic of York University (2009-2012), and Dean of Osgoode Hall Law School (2003-2009). Born in Ottawa to parents of Irish and French-Canadian ancestry, he received degrees from the University of Ottawa and Carleton University, followed by an LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School, where he graduated as the gold medalist, and an LL.M. from Harvard Law School. He served as law clerk to Justice Brian Dickson of the Supreme Court of Canada and was a faculty member at Osgoode Hall Law School for over two decades. He was also part-time counsel to a major Toronto law firm for 20 years, acting in a wide variety of public law litigation at all levels of court.
Justice Monahan played a leading role in the establishment of the Law Commission of Ontario, where he was the founding Chair and currently serves on the Board of Governors. His writing has been cited by courts and tribunals in Canada more than 90 times, including 18 occasions by the Supreme Court of Canada. In 2008, he was awarded the Mundell Medal for excellence in legal writing by the Attorney General of Ontario. He and his wife, Monica, live in Toronto and have two adult children.
Excerpts from Justice Monahan’s judicial application will be available shortly.
Justice M.J. Lucille Shaw was born and raised in Sudbury, along with her seven siblings. She earned her Bachelor of Commerce and LL.B. at Queen’s University, before returning to her hometown in 1993. Justice Shaw joined the Sudbury firm of Miller Maki upon her return and became a partner in 2000. For the past 15 years, she has maintained a broad civil litigation practice, including personal injury and property cases throughout northern Ontario. She also has experience in family law. For four years, she was a member of the Consent and Capacity Board of Ontario.
Justice Shaw has been active and engaged in her community. She spent seven years on the board of the Sudbury YWCA. During her term as president, a new shelter was built to house women and their children fleeing from abusive situations. She was also a board member of the Montessori School of Sudbury during a time of expansion. In the legal sphere, Justice Shaw is a former President of the Sudbury District Law Association. In 2009, she co-founded Colloquium, a two-day conference in Sudbury aimed at enhancing access to justice and developing the skills of lawyers from northeast Ontario. Justice Shaw also served as a director of The Advocates’ Society beginning in 2012. She recently travelled to Iqaluit, Nunavut, on behalf of The Advocates’ Society to provide skills training for lawyers practising in the territory.
Excerpts from Justice Shaw’s judicial application will be available shortly.
Justice Heather J. Williams was born in Lachine, Quebec. She completed CEGEP at Marianopolis College and earned a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. She worked for several years as a radio broadcaster before earning her law degree from the University of Ottawa. Justice Williams practised as a civil litigator in Ottawa for over 25 years, most recently with the firm now known as Cavanagh Williams and previously with Nelligan O’Brien Payne (formerly Nelligan Power). Her practice focused primarily on defending lawyers and health professionals against liability claims. Her work also included employment law and general litigation.
Justice Williams has served on the boards of the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group and Pro Bono Ontario. She is a past president of the County of Carleton Law Association and chair of the Association’s annual civil litigation conference. She is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. She has served as a director of The Advocates’ Society and as co-chair of a committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s “Justicia” project, promoting the retention and advancement of women in the private practice of law. For many years, Justice Williams taught trial advocacy at the University of Ottawa. In May 2016, she was appointed a deputy judge of the Small Claims Court in Ottawa.
Excerpts from Justice Williams judicial application will be available shortly.
Justice Lise G. Favreau grew up in a bilingual family in Montreal, speaking both French and English at home. She attended high school and CEGEP in French. She then earned her B.A. in English literature at McGill University and her LL.B. at the University of Toronto. After her call to the Ontario Bar, Justice Favreau practised civil litigation with Blake, Cassels & Graydon in Toronto. In 2003, she joined the Crown Law Office – Civil at the Ministry of the Attorney General, where she represented the Crown at all levels of court, including the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada. Her practice included administrative law, tort law, class proceedings, health law, and environmental law. While at the Crown Law Office – Civil, Justice Favreau was a public law team leader. In 2016, she was named general counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General.
Justice Favreau has been a frequent speaker, including in the areas of administrative law, civil litigation, and ethics. She is fluently bilingual and has conducted litigation in both English and French throughout her career. She has also been a dedicated mentor to younger lawyers and students.
Excerpts from Justice Favreau’s judicial application will be available shortly.
Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin was born in Hanmer, Ontario, a small Francophone town east of Sudbury. She is a fluently bilingual Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation. Justice O’Bonsawin holds a B.A. (Laurentian University), an LL.B. (University of Ottawa), and an LL.M. (Osgoode Hall), and is currently enrolled in the University of Ottawa’s Ph.D. program in law. She began her legal career with the RCMP Legal Services and later was counsel with Canada Post Corporation, specializing in labour, employment, human rights, and privacy law. Prior to her appointment, Justice O’Bonsawin was general counsel for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group, where she developed a specialization in mental health law. She has taught Indigenous law part-time in the University of Ottawa’s French common law program.
In addition to her legal work, Justice O’Bonsawin is a frequent guest speaker on mental health, labour and privacy law. She serves on the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa, as well as its Executive Committee. Justice O’Bonsawin also acts as a mentor in the Canadian Bar Association, Ontario Bar Association, and University of Ottawa mentorship programs and is the legal coach for the Collège catholique Samuel-Genest high school team for the OBA/OJEN moot competition. She resides in Ottawa with her family.
Excerpts from Justice O’Bonsawin’s judicial application will be available shortly.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Julie Audet practised as a family lawyer, mediator, and collaborative practitioner in the Ottawa and eastern Ontario regions. Fluently bilingual, she graduated from the National Program (LL.B./LL.L.) at the University of Ottawa with the highest honours in 1996 and completed an LL.M. in family law at Osgoode Hall Law School in 2011. Justice Audet has taught family law at the University of Ottawa; led the family law component of the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Law Practice Program (in French); and co-authored a textbook, L’essentiel du droit de la famille dans les provinces et territoires de common law au Canada, with the late Professor Nicole Laviolette.
Justice Audet is well-known in her community for her involvement in pilot projects and committees related to the family justice system and her commitment to helping couples separate with dignity. She co-founded ALT Divorce and Family Law in A Box, two companies aimed at providing services and educational programs on family law to members of the public. Raised in the Gaspé Peninsula in a modest and hard-working Francophone family, Justice Audet studied in Montreal, worked in Calgary, and completed her education in Ottawa – where she finally settled, grew strong community roots, and raised her own family.
Excerpts from Justice Audet’s judicial application will be available shortly.
Born in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, of French Canadian heritage, Justice Hélène C. Desormeau was called to the Ontario Bar in 2004. She received a Bachelor’s in Social Science, an LL.L, and a J.D. from the University of Ottawa. Before her appointment to the bench, Justice Desormeau was a founding partner in the firm of Desormeau & Giggey, established in 2011. She previously practised with Gorrell, Grenkie & Remillard. She ran a litigation practice in both official languages, with an emphasis on family law, child protection, and criminal law. Her practice included serving as an agent for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and for the Provincial Crown Attorney’s office in Cornwall.
Justice Desormeau is a former President and Treasurer of the Stormont, Dundas & Glengarry Law Association. She has served on numerous family law committees and on the board of an agency offering counselling and support services in her community. In addition, she was the Chair of the Centre York Centre, a supervised access centre for families and children in Cornwall. Prior to obtaining her law degrees, Justice Desormeau was an infantry reservist with the Canadian Grenadier Guards in Montreal and the Governor General’s Foot Guards in Ottawa.
Excerpts from Justice Desormeau’s judicial application will be available shortly.
- 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.
- 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 ten jurisdictions have been reconstituted. Most recently, Minister Wilson-Raybould announced the composition of three new Judicial Advisory Committees on April 13, 2017.
- This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment process announced on August 2, 2016. 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:
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Justice
Department of Justice Canada
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