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Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario

OTTAWA, ON, June 18, 2024 /CNW/ - The Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the judicial application process established in 2016. This process emphasizes transparency, merit, and the diversity of the Canadian population, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.

Barbara A. MacFarlane, Partner at MD Lawyers in London, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in London. Justice MacFarlane replaces Justice A.D. Grace (London), who resigned effective November 18, 2023.

Colleen Yamashita, Partner at Scarfone Hawkins LLP in Hamilton, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Milton. Justice Yamashita fills the remaining position authorized further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2022, No. 1.

S. James Mountford, Counsel at Scarfone Hawkins LLP in Hamilton, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court, in Kitchener. Justice Mountford fills the remaining position authorized further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1.

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Quote

"I wish Justices MacFarlane,Yamashita, and Mountford every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Ontarians well as members of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario".

—The Hon. Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Biographies

Justice Barbara A. MacFarlane graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in1998. She was called to the Bar in 1999.

Justice MacFarlane is a co-founder of MD Lawyers in London where she focussed on prosecuting medical negligence cases. Prior to moving her practice to London in 2018, she worked with Torkin Manes LLP in Toronto, which her dedicated 30-year journey allowed her to progress from law clerk to partner.

Justice MacFarlane was a devoted mentor for young lawyers, especially women, and she championed their successes through various initiatives. She revitalized a mentorship program for female members of the Ontario Trial Lawyers Association (OTLA). She also actively participated in the Law Society's Judicia Project, which focuses on supporting women in private practice. She has regularly been recognized by Best Lawyers in Canada and Lexpert, and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. She was honoured to receive the Bruce T. Hillyer award from the OTLA for fearlessly advancing the cause of individual rights by the effective use of trial advocacy.

Justice MacFarlane served on the Board of Directors for the OBA-Health Law Section and was a long-time Director and member of the Executive of OTLA. She has regularly been asked to speak or write for various law associations, including the Advocates' Society, OTLA, OBA, American Bar Association, American Association for Justice, and the Law Society of Ontario

Justice Colleen Yamashita grew up in Hamilton, graduating from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in 2001 and an LLB from the University of Toronto's Faculty of Law in 2004. She was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2005.

Justice Yamashita began her legal career at the law firm Scarfone Hawkins LLP and became a partner in 2017. Her practice focused on a wide array of commercial litigation matters as well as bankruptcy and insolvency. Over her 19 years in private practice, she benefitted greatly from the mentorship she received from her colleagues at her firm.

Justice Yamashita was also active in the Hamilton community. She served for many years as a trustee of the Hamilton Law Association and as Vice-President, Chair of the Corporate Commercial Subcommittee, and the Library Excellence Subcommittee at the time of her appointment. She was a regular chair, speaker, and author for continuing education seminars. Since 2018, she served on the Board of Directors for St. Joseph's Healthcare Foundation in Hamilton and has led and participated in many fundraising initiatives in the community.

Justice Yamashita currently lives in Hamilton with her wonderful husband of 17 years and treasured teenage son. When not working, she enjoys playing tennis and traveling with her family.

Justice S. James Mountford graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from McMaster University in 1983 and a Law degree from Queen's University, Faculty of Law in 1986. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1988.

Justice Mountford has practised primarily Family Law for 36 years, including as a partner at Spears Mountford and Associates, then from 2004 to 2014 at the Catholic Children's Aid Society of Hamilton as In-House Counsel. In 2014, he returned to private practice, most recently with Scarfone Hawkins LLP where he led the Family Law Group.

Justice Mountford has served with numerous community organizations including as President of the Hamilton International Air Show, sessional instructor at McMaster University, guest lecturer at Mohawk College and McMaster, and Director of the Air Cadet League. He has also been a coach and judge at the Ontario Bar Association Moot Court Competition, and girls' soccer coach. He has been a long-time contributor to the Hamilton Law Association, notably serving three terms on the Family Law Sub-Committee and giving numerous presentations on litigation skills, ethics and case-law updates. In addition to conducting the annual Groundhog Day roast of the Hamilton bench and bar, and roasts of incoming judges and "swearing outs' of retiring judges, he was the most recent recipient of the Justice Patricia Wallace Community Service Award in 2023.

Justice Mountford is an avid cyclist and traveller with his partner, Erin Sokoloski, and of most importance, the proud father of Claire who is completing her PhD in gender politics.

Quick Facts

  • The Government of Canada has appointed more than 745 judges since November 2015. This includes 120 appointments since the Honourable Arif Virani became Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada on July 26, 2023, a pace of appointments that has no precedent in Canadian History. These exceptional jurists represent the diversity that strengthens Canada. Of these judges, more than half are women, and appointments reflect an increased representation of racialized persons, Indigenous, 2SLGBTQI+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.

  • To support the needs of the courts and improve access to justice for all Canadians, the Government of Canada is committed to increasing the capacity of superior courts. Budget 2022 provides for 22 new judicial positions, along with two associate judges at the Tax Court of Canada. Along with the 13 positions created under Budget 2021, this makes a total of 37 newly created superior court positions. Since Budget 2017, the government has funded 116 new judicial positions.

  • Changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments were announced in September 2022. The questionnaire continues to provide for a robust and thorough assessment of candidates but has been streamlined and updated to incorporate, among other things, more respectful and inclusive language for individuals to self-identify diversity characteristics.

  • 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 Government of Canada is committed to promoting a justice system in which sexual assault matters are decided fairly, without the influence of myths and stereotypes, and in which survivors are treated with dignity and compassion. Changes to the Judges Act and Criminal Code that came into force on May 6, 2021, mean that in order to be eligible for appointment to a provincial superior court, candidates must agree to participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination. The new legislation enhances the transparency of decisions by amending the Criminal Code to require that judges provide written reasons, or enter them into the record, when deciding sexual assault matters.

SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

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View original content: http://www.newswire.ca/en/releases/archive/June2024/18/c1838.html