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New measures announced to make federal judicial appointments process more efficient

Press Release

From: Department of Justice Canada

September 5, 2023

The Government of Canada is committed to ensuring that the process for appointing judges to superior courts is transparent and accountable to Canadians, identifies excellent candidates and promotes greater diversity on the bench.

Today, the Honourable Arif Virani, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, announced measures aimed at making the federal judicial appointments process more efficient.

The measures include:

  • Newly appointed Judicial Advisory Committees will now serve three-year terms instead of two; and
  • As of August 1st, 2023, Judicial Advisory Committee assessments of judicial appointment candidates will be valid for three rather than two years.

Extending the terms of these committees to three years ensures that members can serve for longer, which will decrease time spent selecting new committee members and allow each committee to evaluate more candidate files, comparatively, over an extended period. In order to ensure that the same Judicial Advisory Committee does not assess judicial candidates twice, the validity of judicial candidate assessments will now be for three years as well.

Judicial Advisory Committees play a fundamental role in evaluating judicial applications. These committees are responsible for screening and assessing the qualifications of candidates applying for federal judicial appointments.

Streamlining the approach to judicial appointments, while maintaining a robust and thorough evaluation of candidates, will enhance the ability to make timely appointments with the aim of reducing judicial vacancies arising from elevations, retirements, resignations and members of the bench electing supernumerary status.


“Canada has one of the most robustly independent and highly regarded judiciaries in the world. That is due in part to the quality of our judicial appointees and their dedication to Canadians. Making Judicial Advisory Committees more efficient will help fill judicial vacancies and strengthen public confidence in the justice system.”

The Honourable Arif Virani, PC, MP
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

Quick facts

  • There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
  • The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, established in 1978, administers the Judicial Advisory Committees.
  • Committees categorize each applicant for judicial vacancies in their jurisdiction as “highly recommended”, “recommended” or “unable to recommend” and provide these recommendations to the Minister of Justice.
  • 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 application process was established in 2016, following rigorous consultation with the legal and judicial community. 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.
  • The Government of Canada has appointed more than 645 judges since November 2015. 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.

Associated links


For more information, media may contact:

Chantalle Aubertin
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Justice

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada


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