A former senior Justice Department lawyer who is challenging Ottawa’s constitutional review process says the rise of the Trudeau Liberals will not influence his decision on whether or not to seek an appeal after the Federal Court yesterday dismissed his case.
|‘[I]f your standard is an argument, it’s virtually no standard, in my view,’ says Edgar Schmidt.|
“If the minister were to say, ‘We are going to amend these examination provisions to ensure that in the future more rigorous examinations are conducted’ . . . that would make an appeal sort of unnecessary,” Schmidt tells Legal Feeds.
Schmidt, who is now retired, was suspended without pay in 2012 after launching a court challenge in which he alleged that the government had been ignoring its statutory obligation to report potential constitutional inconsistencies to Parliament when tabling legislation.
Though the current government decided last week to launch a study of how constitutional issues are flagged in Parliament, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould has yet to commit to a higher standard of review.
Under the Conservative regime, Ottawa was accused of playing politics by passing tough-on-crime legislation that, according to civil servants like Schmidt, had virtually no chance of passing muster with the judiciary. Many of these laws were ultimately struck down by the Supreme Court of Canada.
This exercise in political brinksmanship — daring the judiciary to strike down popular laws — led to years of growing animosity between the executive and judicial branches of government, and it’s one of the key reasons why, according to Schmidt, the constitutional review process should be more meaningful.
“If this truly is the law, that ministers and government are free to act in ways that they themselves believe is unconstitutional, I think that creates a context for unnecessary tension between the branches of the state.”
Schmidt’s arguments, however, were dismissed yesterday at the Federal Court by Justice Simon Noël, who issued a 146-page decision that reaffirmed a low standard for constitutional review and left it to the minister of justice alone to decide whether any “credible argument” can be made in favour of constitutional consistency.
Noël’s decision, moreover, suggests that Parliament intended for a weak standard for constitutional review, and that the minister of justice should not be constrained by the reports of civil servants.
“The Minister of Justice is not Atlas, carrying the world of guaranteed rights on her shoulders,” the decision states. “The legislator aimed to promote consistency with guaranteed rights but did not impose on the Minister of Justice the onerous and most likely impossible responsibility of guaranteeing inconsistency-free legislation.”
Schmidt says he believes the decision is flawed and that Parliament would not have created a review process that could be so easily circumvented by concocting an argument in favour.
“I find it very hard to imagine any law for which you can’t come up with some argument,” he says. “So if your standard is an argument, it’s virtually no standard, in my view.”
In his submissions to the court, Schmidt says he and his counsel drew a parallel with fiduciary duties held by corporate directors and officers — where directors and officers are compelled to serve the interests of the entire organization, regardless of the stake held by any shareholder.
Similarly, he says, public servants must not be forced to serve the interests of government at the expense of the state.
“When I was suspended without pay upon filing this claim, the allegation of the department was that I was acting disloyally. Well, you have to know to whom you were supposed to be loyal before you can conclude whether there is disloyalty, right? And my view is that public servants are state employees.
“Citizens have a right to expect that their government and their Parliament will comply with the most fundamental decision of the Canadian state — that’s the Constitution. They have the right to expect that Parliament and government and ministers will act in ways that they honestly and reasonably believe are consistent with the Constitution.”
Despite the initial impression that Noël’s decision is wrong, Schmidt says he hasn’t decided whether to pursue an appeal.
“I’ll have to consider with counsel whether an appeal is warranted, and whether or not we can stay with that initial impression.”
The ongoing haze around shifting pot legislation in Canada got a little less cloudy last week with a ruling by Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan.
|Despite how long medical marijuna has been available, there is not much evidence on its use and effects, wrote the judge. (Photo: Steve Dipaola/Reuters)|
Phelan sided with four medical marijuana users who argued their Charter rights were violated, and gave the federal government six months to get its legislative house in order in response to the decision.
But for close-reading legal eagles interested in ongoing litigation regarding pot, Phelan had some strong words on expert testimony presented during the trial. The issue has been percolating on the public policy agenda for years, and Phelan minced no words, particularly towards the government.
“A clear theme running through the evidence of this trial is that despite the lengthy period for which marihuana for medical purposes has been available, there is a paucity of evidence, particularly from government, in respect of its use and effects,” said the ruling.
“Marihuana is not treated as a ‘medicine’ by statute, regulation or policy, and the information gap posed a significant problem. In addition to methods of consumption, the evidence adduced during the course of the litigation focused on the Plaintiff’s access to marihuana considering dosages, strains, cultivation, cost economics and the administration of the drug in other jurisdictions.”
Phelan lists eight lay and 13 expert witnesses for the plaintiffs. They included an experts on botany and pharmacology, cultivation, horticulture, affordability and access, and on medical evidence including strain and dosage.
It also lists four lay and 14 expert witnesses for the government. They included experts on cost economics, cannabis use in Israel, mould, fire risk, and property value.
In his ruling, Phelan said he had to approach some expert testimony with caution.
“The Defendant canvassed the risks of cultivation through ‘expert’ witnesses. By way of overview, it is necessary for the Court to provide some context for its consideration of social science and other ‘non-hard’ science expert witnesses. Many ‘expert’ witnesses were so imbued with a belief for or against marijuana — almost a religious fervor — that the Court had to approach such evidence with a significant degree of caution and scepticism.”
Phelan also said in his ruling, “the evidence of some of the ‘experts’ on both sides will be given little or no weight.” These are strong words from a judge.
“Some had their evidence shredded in cross-examination; this was particularly true of some of the Defendant’s non-technical ‘experts,’” he noted.
Phelan’s criticisms didn’t stop there.
“With respect to health and safety risks, the Defendant submits that the witnesses provided cogent evidence to illustrate the risks associated with cannabis growing operations,” he said. “I find that the evidence was insufficient and largely did not distinguish between legal cannabis growing operation under the (Marihuana Medical Access Regulations) and illegal growing operations. Additionally, there was limited, if any expert evidence that convincingly asserted that these risks exist across the country and to a magnitude that mandates state interference.”
It’s unclear how Phelan’s ruling will affect the next (inevitable) challenge regarding pot, and expert testimony. However, lawyers welcomed the ruling.
A lawyer who works for a company in the late stage of applying to become a licensed producer of marijuana, said, “at least for some, uninsured commercially produced medical marijuana is not a practical means of access.”
“I have always believed that access to medical marijuana is the number one priority of any access program,” says John Fowler, a lawyer and president of Supreme Pharmaceuticals.
“While the MMPR represents a huge step forward for many patients, [like] more secure supply, less risk of shortages, better quality assurance and eventually insurance coverage, for some, the costs are prohibitive,” says Fowler. “Therefore, while we have always believed that there needs to be improved access for a certain small class of patients, I was surprised that the plaintiffs were able to meet the burden of proof with the evidence presented.”
Fowler said “for the entire industry, this is a huge step forward.”
“For marginalized patients, this represents a confirmation that access must be actual and not illusory,” he says.
A Federal Court judge in Vancouver on Wednesday ruled medical marijuana patients have the constitutional right to grow their own cannabis, striking down a ban introduced by Stephen Harper’s previous Conservative government.
|The Federal Court overturned a government ban on patients being able to cultivate their own marijuana plants. (Photo: Rick Wilking/Reuters)|
A group of British Columbia residents took Canada to court in 2013, arguing a new law requiring medical marijuana patients to buy their cannabis from licensed producers, instead of growing their own, was unconstitutional.
They said marijuana grown under the government system was too expensive and did not allow them to control the strains and dosages of their treatment.
The government, which overhauled its medical marijuana program in 2013, argued that its mail-order system was safer for both the patient and other Canadians, who could be negatively impacted by unsafe home grow-ops.
In his decision in Allard v. Canada, Federal Court Justice Michael Phelan said that restrictions imposed by the Marihuana for Medical Purposes law were arbitrary.
“The access restrictions did not prove to reduce risk to health and safety or to improve access to marihuana — the purported objectives of the regulation,” he wrote.
The Canadian government must now decide if it will appeal the decision.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged during his election campaign to regulate and legalize recreational marijuana, though his ruling Liberals have not addressed their plans for medical marijuana at length.
Last June, Vancouver city councillors voted to license marijuana dispensaries, which operate outside the current federal framework, becoming the first Canadian city to regulate retailers selling the drug.
Shares of medical marijuana producers plunged on Wednesday after the ruling, with Canopy Growth Co falling 10.79 per cent to $2.81, OrganiGram Holdings dropping 9.88 percent to 73 cents and Aphria Inc down 12.4 percent to $1.13.
When Asad Ansari was sentenced in October 2010, he had “no reason to appeal it,” says his lawyer John Norris.
|John Norris says he is seeing more clients looking for help as they learn about the possibility of losing their citizenship due to convictions and sentences.|
But in 2014, nearly four years after his sentencing, the federal government sent a letter to Ansari notifying him his citizenship may be revoked in accordance with the newly passed Bill C-24. The controversial bill, passed under the government of Stephen Harper, gives the minister of immigration powers to strip Canadian citizenship from dual citizens convicted of terrorism and sentenced to at least five years in prison.
Ansari had long missed the deadline to appeal his sentence, but yesterday, the Ontario Court of Appeal extended that deadline due to the retroactivity of the citizenship law, which Ansari was not aware at the time of his sentencing.
“. . . The collateral consequences — loss of Canadian citizenship — are of such magnitude as to render it unjust to deprive the applicant of the opportunity to seek a variation of the sentence to remove himself from the reach of the amendment,” the unanimous bench said, adding “the interests of justice favour the extension” of the appeal window.
“To refuse the order, a substantial injustice may occur, wrought by legislation not in force or within the reasonable contemplation of any of the participants in the trial process, but made retrospective by an enactment passed years later,” said the court.
Ansari was convicted of participating in the activities of a terrorist group. He was found to have gone camping with members of the Toronto 18 near Washago, Ont., and participating in marching and simulated combat exercises, some of which were videotaped. Later, he helped produce a video for the leaders of the group to use for recruitment purposes.
Ansari already tried, unsuccessfully, to appeal his conviction.
“If his conviction had been overturned, then that would [have been] the end of his exposure to potential citizenship revocation. But the act also requires that you’ve received a sentence of five years or more for that conviction,” says Norris. “So even if that conviction stands, if he only deserved a sentence of less than five years, that would also get him out from under the provisions.”
Norris says his practice is seeing more and more cases of clients looking for legal help as they learn about previously unknown immigration and citizenship consequences of their convictions and sentences.
“This ruling isn’t going to encourage people to do one thing or another; it’s these other changes [in the law] that are giving people reason to come to court,” he says. “And now this ruling gives a very nice framework for analyzing whether they should get an extension or not.”
Norris says his client is also challenging the constitutionality of Bill C-24 at the Federal Court. It’s unclear what would happen to that challenge, given the Liberals’ election promise to repeal the law.
“If that happens, then of course there would be no reason to pursue the constitutional challenge but until that happens, that challenge remains before the Federal Court,” he says.
Intellectual property lawyers are bracing for change as the federal courts move forward with an effort that could see much higher cost awards as a way of discouraging unnecessary and vexatious litigation.
Earlier this month, the rules committee for the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal issued a discussion paper that weighs the pros and cons of various approaches to cost awards.
As it stands, Canada’s federal courts rely on a tariff-based scheme where legal services are assigned a category from which a dollar amount is derived. These costs, which often amount to mere thousands, are insignificant for corporations spending millions on patent wars. That, in turn, has led to abuses by litigants dragging out proceedings for strategic purposes.
Alan Macek, an intellectual property lawyer at Dimock Stratton LLP, points out that the federal courts also hear immigration and citizenship cases where the tariff-based system offers predictable costs for individual litigants and improves access to justice.
“Different incentives are at work here, whether you’re trying to provide access to justice, where an individual trying to advance their case is not going to get hit with extremely onerous costs for advancing what they think is a legitimate case,” says Macek.
“And then on the other hand, the court wants tools to guide behaviour of well-heeled litigants who may be bringing motions that are not needed . . . and wants a tool to curb some of that behaviour, which they may see as being abusive, through a cost mechanism.”
One question posed by the discussion paper asks: “Do you think the Courts’ approach to costs should be applied uniformly or be adapted based on litigation type or whether the unsuccessful party is a self-represented litigant?”
The question alludes to a “principle of proportionality” that will likely figure into whatever reform the courts decide to implement. “A single set of tariffs that may apply to an individual trying to advance their case may not apply to a Fortune 500 company that’s spending millions on their legal,” says Macek in explaining the issue.
That being said, anything that stops at merely rewriting the rules or defining the characteristics of unnecessary litigation will be counterproductive, says Macek. He thinks the courts need to be able to exercise stronger discretion on a case-by-case basis when it comes to cost awards.
“A certain motion being brought in one type of proceeding may be seen as entirely proper, and the same type of motion being brought elsewhere is going to be seen as abusive. It really depends on the context,” he says.
For his part, Macek thinks the court needs to combine a more dynamic use of discretionary power with clearer lines of communication through guidelines and practice notices for counsel.
The rules committee will be accepting feedback on research from the discussion paper until Nov. 23, 2015.
The union representing federal prosecutors is considering whether an appeal is in order after a recent decision that, despite stipulations to the contrary, may amount to a “blanket prohibition” on public prosecutors running for office.
|The Federal Court upheld the firing of former federal Crown Emilie Taman over her decision to run for office.|
“If somebody of Ms. Taman’s position is not permitted to run for office, I do fear that there’s a blanket prohibition,” says MacKay, “but the decision clearly states otherwise, that it’s not a blanket decision.”
Taman, a former prosecutor in the regulatory and economic prosecutions and management branch of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, submitted a request in November 2014 to the Public Service Commission for an unpaid leave of absence while she sought the NDP nomination.
That request was denied after the commission considered Taman’s arguments as well as those of her employer. While the PPSC argued that the perception of Taman’s impartiality as a prosecutor would be irreparably damaged if she were allowed to run for office, Taman argued her Charter rights to engage politically must be accommodated if at all possible.
Indeed, in her submissions to the PSC, Taman lays out a number of ways in which she might be able to return to her job without jeopardizing the impartiality of the prosecutors’ office, including “firewalls” that would prevent her from dealing with a matter in the rare instance that it’s politically sensitive.
Despite failing to get permission, Taman decided to run anyway — which led the PPSC to fire her on administrative grounds. Taman then issued a grievance with her union, the Association of Justice Counsel, which also backed her application to have the Federal Court set aside the PSC’s decision.
This week’s ruling by Justice Catherine Kane upholds the PSC’s denial and consequently the PPSC’s termination order, which has left the AJC considering its options.
“I can tell you that the AJC and counsel for Ms. Taman are looking at the decision and reviewing it for the possibility of an appeal,” says MacKay. “Certainly if you have a panel of three appellate-level judges, then I suspect you’d get a better look at the issues at hand.”
The union president says that, while he saw no glaring error in Kane’s decision, he found it frustratingly myopic in that it focused on provisions within the federal Public Service Employment Act while ignoring the fact that provincial statutes currently allow public prosecutors to run for office.
“They simply deflected those arguments by saying, ‘Well that’s not under the PSEA. We’re only considering this act.’
“If all the other provinces think it’s okay for public prosecutors to run for office, how could that be completely irrelevant?” asks MacKay.
While he acknowledges that political expression must be limited for civil servants, he wonders whether a prohibition on running for office — which he calls the “ultimate political expression” — crosses the line.
“I think you should be able to pursue just about any political action you want, if you’re no longer working for the government. If you’re willing to take that step, to take a leave of absence from your employment without pay and detach yourself from that position, you should be free to do things politically, including running for office.”
Snowbirds flying south and Yanks coming north will have to watch their financial Ps and Qs a little closer.
|The Federal Court declined to issue an injunction to prevent the automatic exchange of financial information between Canada and the U.S. (Photo: Shutterstock)|
Tax lawyer Roy Berg, of Moodys Gartner Tax Law in Calgary, has been keeping close tabs on the case, one brought forth in August 2014 by Vancouver’s Virginia Hillis and Gwendolyn Deegan.
“The plaintiffs’ arguments were innovative and creative, but were apparently not enough to convince the court to issue the injunction,” he said.
“I imagine there is a great feeling of relief within the Canadian banking industry because if the plaintiffs had been successful in enjoining the exchange of information, that would have cast into doubt whether the IGA could be given effect in Canada; and without the IGA, Canadian banks could have been subject to the full weight and force of FATCA, which would have been much worse.”
The plaintiff duo unsuccessfully argued that the FATCA violates the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and their right to security of person and against unreasonable search and seizure. In a press release about their case, they say they both left the U.S. at age five to live in Canada, never obtained a U.S. passport or developed meaningful ties with the U.S., but are considered “tax cheats” by the U.S. because they are not IRS compliant.
“I am a proud Canadian. Why is my government branding me with being a potential U.S. tax evader merely because of my place of birth — and turning my personal information over to a foreign government’s jurisdiction,” Hillis said in the release.
Berg says the ruling means the transfer of information between Canada and the U.S., currently scheduled for Sept. 23, will proceed as planned unless the plaintiffs are successful in obtaining an interlocutory ruling from the Federal Court of Appeal before that time.
“Given the short amount of time before the information is scheduled to be exchanged, it is unlikely an appeal will be heard and decision rendered,” says Berg.
He added the court did not rule on whether the IGA or the Canadian implementing legislation violates the Constitution or and those issues will be determined in another trial scheduled for late 2016.
He said the ruling means come the 23rd banks will start transferring financial information on about one million U.S. citizens living in the Great White North and those Snowbirds who live part-time in the U.S.
“If the information is exchanged with the U.S. before an appellate decision is rendered, the plaintiffs’ case, at least as it relates to the treaty arguments, will become moot,” Berg added.
“[But] the court noted that even if it did find a violation of the treaty or Canadian law, it questioned whether it had the authority to issue an injunction in the light of the plaintiff’s ability to simply renounce their U.S. citizenship or request relief from either CRA or IRS.”
Update Sept. 30:
Although the expected Sept. 23 transmission of tax information between the U.S. and Canada was delayed, it will go ahead today, Sept. 30.
Information on approximately 155,000 U.S. citizen accounts will be transferred to the IRS, says Berg.
As of Sept. 30, the Federal Court of Appeal had not ruled on a motion to prevent the transfer of information between Canada and the US pursuant to FATCA and the US-Canada IGA. The court was asked to prevent the transfer of information because of a Sept. 16 ruling of the Federal Court that denied the same request, but Berg says the door is now open for that transfer to take place.
A week after winning the NDP nomination for Ottawa-Vanier, former federal prosecutor Emilie Taman was in Federal Court Tuesday, asking for a judicial review of the Public Service Commission of Canada’s decision not to grant permission for her to seek nomination as a candidate in the federal election.
|Emilie Taman says many consituents in the Ottawa-area riding she is running in reached out to her.|
In early July, Taman vacated her office, beginning what she called “an unauthorized leave of absence” to enter the contest for Ottawa-Vanier’s NDP nomination.
She had applied for a leave of absence last year, but the Public Prosecution Service of Canada refused, arguing her ability to return to work after the political race would be “impaired or perceived to be impaired.” After receiving a series of warning letters, Taman was fired weeks after leaving her office.
“I received I think it was three warning letters which basically indicated that I was to return to work immediately or face termination for abandonment of position,” she says. “I followed up by saying I don’t have an intention to abandon my position, and could you please just wait until my judicial review hearing.”
But the PSC, she says, replied that “despite my representations it had been determined that I had abandoned my position.”
Even if the judicial review is successful, it won’t result in her being reinstated, says Taman. Although she hopes a favourable ruling would help her termination grievance.
Above all she’s hoping it results in clearer guidelines for politically minded federal prosecutors in the future.
The PSC is declining to comment on the case, given that it is currently before the court. In addition, “The Public Prosecution Service will not comment on personnel, past or present,” a spokesperson told Legal Feeds.
The nomination battle appears to have been tightly contested. Although the party doesn’t release the number of votes each candidate received, the vote, which involved four candidates, went down to the wire with three ballots.
“It was a long night,” she says.
The media attention around her fight with the PSC likely helped her, she says.
“The riding obviously has a lot of public servants living in it, so a very large number of people reached out to me directly to express their unhappiness with how I’d been treated,” she says.
Party members may also have liked her family background. She is the daughter of Louise Arbour, the former Supreme Court of Canada justice and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Now Taman finds herself up against someone she concedes is a formidable opponent: Liberal incumbent Mauril Bélanger, who has held the seat for 20 years. The riding has a solid history of Liberal dominance, both federally and provincially.
Nevertheless, Taman says she’s excited and hopeful about taking on Bélanger.
“The party has a huge amount of momentum right now,” she says. “I feel that I have momentum as a candidate, and based on how things went [on nomination night], I feel really confident, and I look forward to engaging with him and seeing where that goes.
“I appreciate it’s an uphill battle and I’m facing an adversary who’s experienced, but I’m attracted to what the NDP’s trying to do and I think I’m going to do a good job in pitching it to constituents.”
Update Sept. 18: To clarify Taman's judicial review is regarding the Public Service Commission's refusal to allow her to run for office and that she was terminated by her employer, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.
|Anne Jacob is appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec.|
In several instances the appointments are said to be filling new positions created by Bill C-31.
Guy R. Smith, a sole practitioner in Ottawa, was appointed a judge of the Tax Court of Canada to replace Justice Joe E. Hershfield, who elected to become a supernumerary judge as of June 1, 2015.
Smith had been a sole practitioner since 2014. Previously, he had been the judicial affairs adviser for the federal Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada from March 2009 to July 2014. He practised administrative law, constitutional law and litigation with Perley-Robertson Hill & McDougall LLP from 1997 to 2005 and as a sole practitioner from 1991 to 1997. He was called to the Ontario bar in 1988.
Alberta Provincial Court Judge Robin Camp has been appointed to the Federal Court to replace Justice Yves de Montigny, who has been elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
Camp received his law degree in South Africa and successfully completed challenge exams to re-qualify to practise in Canada in 1998. He was appointed a judge of the Provincial Court, Criminal Division, in 2012. Prior to his appointment, he had been a lawyer at JSS Barristers from 2004 and a managing partner from 2008 to 2012. His main area of practice was commercial litigation. He was called to the Alberta bar in 1999.
E. Susan Elliott, a lawyer with Good Elliott Hawkins LLP in Kingston, Ont. has also been appointed to the Federal Court. She replaces Justice Mary.J.L. Gleason, who has been elevated to the Federal Court of Appeal.
Elliott was called to the Ontario bar in 1981. She had been at Good Elliott Hawkins (formerly Good & Elliott) since 1981, and during that time she had been general counsel, legal line of business, Teranet Inc. She also served as treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada; as well as hearing commissioner, part time, for the Rent Review Commissioner of Ontario and a smalls claims court judge since 2009.
Sylvie Roussel, a lawyer with the Security Intelligence Review Agency in Ottawa, is appointed to the Federal Court as well, replacing Justice Marie-Josée Bédard, who was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec.
Roussel was called to the Ontario bar in 1987. She had been senior general counsel with the Security Intelligence Review Agency since 2007. Previously, she had practised with the firm Noël & Associés, s.e.n.c.. Her main areas of practice were public/constitutional law, criminal law, Charter Law and human rights law.
Fredricton’s Ann Marie McDonald, a lawyer with McInnes Cooper LLP, is also headed to the Federal Court. She replaces Justice R.T. Hughes, who elected to become a supernumerary judge, effective Sept. 1, 2015.
McDonald was called to the bar of New Brunswick in 1994. She became an associate with McInnes Cooper in 2000 and a partner in 2002, practising primarily in the areas of commercial litigation, employment law, administrative law and general litigation.
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A Vancouver family lawyer with Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, Grace Choi has been appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia, Family Division, to replace Justice R. Crawford, who elected supernumerary status in August of 2014.
The Dalhousie graduate was admitted to the B.C. bar in 1993 and in Ontario in 1996. She became an accredited family law mediator in 2013 and was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014.
Federal Court Justice Denis Gascon, who also sat on the Competition Tribunal, has been named chairman of the Competition Tribunal to replace Justice D.J. Rennie, who in turn has been appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal. Gascon was appointed to the Federal Court on Feb, 26, 2015. Prior to that, he joined Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose Fulbright Canada) in 1989, where he became a partner in 1997.
Recently retired Canadian Forces legal adviser Patrick K. Gleeson, has been appointed to the Federal Court to fill a new position created by Bill C-11.
After being admitted to the bar of New Brunswick in 1994, he joined the Office of the Assistant Judge Advocate General in Halifax as a legal adviser and worked in different directorates until 2000. He became the JAG’s Director of Legal Services, where from 2005 he served as the senior legal adviser.
Cilian Sheahan, of Poole Althouse in Corner Brook, N.L., has been appointed as a judge of the Newfoundland and Labrador’s Supreme Court, Trial and Family Division to replace Justice R.A. Fowler who will move to supernumerary status this month.
He was called to the N.L. in 2000 and appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2013. Sheahan’s areas of practice were corporate and commercial law, municipal, labour and employment law and corporate estate planning. In 2004, he joined the Canadian Forces as a legal officer.
Following the resignation of Justice V.A. Schuler, Justice Andrew M. Mahar of the Nunavut Court of Justice in Iqaluit, will become a judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories.
Mahar is called to the bars in Ontario, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. Clinic Director of the Kitikmeot Law Centre of the Northwest Territories Legal Aid Clinic. He has mostly practised as a sole practitioner but was also Clinic Director of the Kitikmeot Law Centre of the Northwest Territories Legal Aid Clinic in Cambridge Bay.
Sylvia Corthorn, a lawyer with Kelly Santini LLP/SRL in Ottawa, will replace Justice L.D. Ratushny of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. Ratushny has been elected to supernumerary status, which had come in effect in June last year.
Corthorn was called to the bar in 1984 and has mainly practised in the areas of personal injury law, medical and dental malpractice, insurance defence litigation, and commercial and estate litigation.
Superior Court of Quebec Justice Charles Ouellet moves from the districts of Saint-François and Bedford, with residence in Cowansville, to the districts of Saint-François and Bedford, with residence in Sherbrooke. Ouellet will replace Justice Y. Tardif who has elected supernumerary status effective June 1. He was originally appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec in 2011.
Also in Quebec, Serge Gaudet, a lawyer with Langlois Kronström Desjardins in Montréal will replace Justice J. Lanctôt as puisne judge of the Superior Court of Quebec. Justice Lanctot has elected supernumerary status.
Gaudet was called to the bar in 1987. His main areas of practice were civil and commercial litigation.
A lawyer with Bouchard Page Tremblay in Quebec, Simon Hebert is appointed to Superior Court of Quebec to replace a by Justice M. Fortin, who has resigned.
Mostly a class action counsel, Heber was called to the bar in 1989. He has also been an officer with the Canadian Armed Forces since 1983
Chantal Tremblay, who is a lawyer with McCarthy Tétrault LLP in Montreal, also joins the Superior Court, taking over for Justice A. Denis.
Called to the bar in 1995, Tremblay is a former Quebec managing partner at McCarthys. Her main areas of practice were commercial litigation, class actions, professional liability, insurance law, environmental law, medical liability and disciplinary law.
Finally, Alexandre Bouchar a lawyer with the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions has also been appointed to the Superior Court. He will be replacing Justice C. Champagne, who elected to supernumerary status.
Bouchar was called to the bar in 1996. He joined the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions in 2010, and was previously a sole practitioner from 1995 to 2010.
Saskatchewan provincial court Judge Jeffery D. Kalmakoff in Regina has elevated to the court of Queen’s Bench of Saskatchewan. Justice D.P Ball of Regina has elected supernumerary status on May 9, 2014.
Prior to his appointment Saskatchewan Court of Justice in 2009, Kalmakoff was a Crown prosecutor with the Public Prosecutions Division of the Saskatchewan Ministry and Attorney General in Regina between 1996 and 2009. He was called to the bar in 1994.
Don R. Sommerfeldt, a counsel with Dentons Canada LLP in Edmonton, is the newest appointed judge of the Tax Court of Canada to replace a resignation by Justice G. Sheridan.
He was called in Alberta in 1978 and to the bar of New York in 2004. Sommerfeldt has been with Dentons Canada LLP (formerly Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP) since 2000 practising taxation, estate planning, and pensions.
A lawyer with McInnes Cooper in Halifax, Henry A. Visser, is also appointed to the Tax Court to replace Justice D. Cambell who elected supernumerary status as of this year, June 19., will take over.
Visser mainly practised tax law, corporate law, commercial law, labour law, and employment law. He was admitted to the bar of Nova Scotia in 1995 and to P.E.I. in 1998
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