The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the judicial application process established in 2016. This process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
Sandra A. Wilkinson, Senior Legal Counsel at the Ministry of the Attorney General of British Columbia in Vancouver, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Madam Justice Wilkinson replaces the vacancy created by the transfer of Madam Justice C. Murray (Vancouver) into the vacancy created by Mr. Justice B.D. MacKenzie, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective October 22, 2019. The vacancy is located in Vancouver.
Justice Sandra Wilkinson was born in Pointe Claire, Quebec, and raised primarily in Scarborough, Ontario. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1989 and Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia in 1992. She was admitted to the British Columbia bar in 1993 and the California bar in 1999.
Madam Justice Wilkinson began her legal practice as a civil and family law litigator in Vancouver serving the LGBTQ+ communities, and went on to practise in the area of tax and trusts law in California. She returned to Vancouver, where, from 2004 until her appointment, she was legal counsel with the Attorney General of British Columbia, advising and representing provincial financial institution, pension plan, mortgage broker and real estate industry regulators and the Ministry of Finance.
A presenter at numerous continuing legal education events, Justice Wilkinson served as an executive member of Canadian Bar Association practice sections and, at the time of her appointment, a director and executive member of the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia. She was also a long-time director and president of the British Columbia Government Lawyers Association and a regular contributor to meetings of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel and the Commonwealth Lawyers Association.
Justice Wilkinson was also actively involved in her local community centre, in the heart of Vancouver’s West End, where she and her spouse, Gayle, reside.
At the Superior Court level, more than 350 judges have been appointed 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 visible minorities, Indigenous, LGBTQ2S, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 provides funding of $77.2 million over four years to support the expansion of unified family courts, beginning in 2019-2020. This investment in the family justice system will create 39 new judicial positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador.
In addition, Budget 2018 provided funding for a further seven judicial positions in Saskatchewan and Ontario, at a cost of $17.1 million over five years.
Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General, acting on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice.
The Judicial Advisory Committees across Canada play a key role in evaluating judicial applications. There are 17 Judicial Advisory Committees, with each province and territory represented.
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.