Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Lack of Racial Diversity at Ontario's Judicial Misconduct Bodies: Ontario Judicial Council

     As the Government of Ontario embarks on yet another public consultation process on the lamentable problem of racial discrimination and inequality, I thought I would highlight an area of the administration of justice where there is a glaring absence of diversity:  1. Ontario Judicial Council  2. Justices of the Peace Review Council - and the lawyers who appear before these bodies as either Presenting Counsel, the lawyer responsible for prosecuting the case or as Respondent Counsel, the lawyers who defend the judicial officers.  I propose to examine the extent or lack of racial diversity on each of these administrative regimes on the basis of judicial members, lawyer members and community members, counsel acting at the hearings and their staff based on the most recently published Annual Reports for these bodies and published decisions.  I will start with the OJC in this post.

Ontario Judicial Council

    The Ontario Judicial Council (OJC) is the body charged with receiving, investigating and adjudicating complaints of judicial misconduct against judges of the Ontario Court of Justice.

Judicial Members

    The most recent Annual Report for this body lists the following judicial members:  Chief Justice of Ontario - The Honourable Warren K. Winkler; Chief Justice of the Ontario Court of Justice - The Honourable Annemarie E. Bonkalo; Associate Chief Justice of the OCJ - The Honourable Peter D. Griffiths; The Honourable Lise Maisoneuve(effective July 25, 2013); Regional Senior Justice - The Honourable Kathryn Hawke (until August 12, 2013) - The Honourable Martin Lambert (effective August 21, 2013); Two Judges Appointed by the Chief Justice of the OCJ - The Honourable Justice Fern Weinper; The Honourable Justice Eileen S. Martin (until August 9, 2013); The Honourable Justice Peter De Freitas (effective August 10, 2013)


Not a single judicial member of the OCJ is African-Canadian, Indo-Canadian, Asian Canadian or Aboriginal.  All of the judicial members appear to be of European descent.

Lawyer Members:

      Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada( LSUC) - Mr. Thomas G. Conway

Lawyer Member Appointed by the LSUC:

     Ms. Kim Bernhardt (until August 16, 2013); Mr. Paul R. Sweeny (effective August 27, 2013)


One of the three Lawyer members is an African-Canadian woman and the two others males of European descent.

Community Members:

     Mr. Anish Chopra; Ms. Delores Lawrence; Ms. Sylvie Powell; and Mr. Farsad Kiani.


This category of members of the OJC is most representative of Ontario's population.  It boasts two Indo-Canadian men, one African-Canadian woman and one woman of European descent. Regrettably, this category is the least powerful.

Presenting Counsel:

     OJC records reveal that the lawyers charged with prosecuting judicial misconduct proceedings before the OJC between 2002 and 2014 are uniformly of European descent.

Responding Counsel:

     OJC records reveal that counsel defending judicial officers before OJC panels are uniformly of European descent and male.

OJC Staff:

     The OJC 2014 Annual Report reveals that the council had a staff of four.  A Registrar, two Assistant Registrars and an Administrative Secretary.  Three of the four employees are of European descent.  The lowest ranking employee is not of European descent.




No comments:

Post a Comment