Ottawa , May 25 2020

Canadian Judicial Council responds to the Federal Court decision regarding Justice Patrick Smith

The Canadian Judicial Council matter involving the Honourable Justice Patrick Smith and the decision of the Federal Court released on May 21 have continued to shine a light on the urgent need to move forward with reforms to the Judges Act. Having carefully considered all aspects of this difficult matter, the Canadian Judicial Council has decided that it is not in the public interest to appeal this decision. All aspects of the order will be complied with promptly.

The Council Chairperson, the Right Honourable Chief Justice Richard Wagner, plays no role in the review of this or any judicial conduct matter before the Council. Since his appointment as Chief Justice of Canada more than two years ago, however, he has urged the government to proceed with vital legislative changes. The Canadian Judicial Council understands that these changes are imminent. Those reforms will address important and long-standing concerns about the current process. As the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association has noted in its response to this matter, it has been working collaboratively with the Council and the Department of Justice on these reforms.

“Upon my appointment as Chief Justice of Canada and Chair of the Canadian Judicial Council, it was clear to me that procedures for dealing with judicial conduct complaints were too slow, opaque, and out-of-date,” said Chief Justice Wagner. “The time has come to move forward with legislative reforms in this regard, together with a renewed governance structure within Council. I am pleased that we are getting closer to real, positive reforms that will support transparency, integrity, and the best interests of all Canadians.”

The judicial conduct reforms are part of a larger initiative of renewal being undertaken by the Council with the aim of enhancing public confidence in the judiciary, generally. The Council will continue to update Canadians on these ongoing initiatives.


Johanna Laporte, Director of Communications
(613) 288-1566 extension 313

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