Reforming Judicial Appointments

The Prime Minister and the executive branch of government have too much power to choose appointees under the current judicial appointment process.

The judiciary must represent the racial, gender and class make-up of the people of Canada, but currently it does not. There is insufficient consideration given to diversity beyond gender. (For a breakdown of appointments by gender, see [1]). The first Black Canadian was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal only as recently as 2012 (The Honourable Michael Tulloch).

In 2018-19, 86 judges were appointed to superior courts by the federal government, but only two identified as indigenous, and only four identified as racialized. No persons with disabilities nor LGBTQ+ judges were appointed. (See [2])

Furthermore, there has never been an indigenous appointment to the Supreme Court of Canada, despite many qualified candidates.

Canada should:

  • Appoint an indigenous person to the Supreme Court at the very next opportunity.
  • Keep more thorough statistics on the diversity of judicial appointments, adding statistics on racialized groups, indigenous people, persons with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ persons.
  • Ensure that those who participate in the judicial appointment process have demonstrable expertise in equity, diversity, and inclusion, including implicit bias.

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[1] https://www.fja.gc.ca/appointments-nominations/judges-juges-eng.aspx
[2] https://www.fja.gc.ca/appointments-nominations/StatisticsCandidate-StatistiquesCandidat-2019-eng.html

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