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.
Hugh William Veenstra, Q.C., associate counsel at Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP in Vancouver, is appointed a Judge of the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Mr. Justice Veenstra replaces Mr. Justice K.N. Affleck (Vancouver), who retired effective November 5, 2019.
Justice Hugh William Veenstra was born in Saskatchewan but raised in Vernon, BC. He received his B.A.Sc. (Engineering Physics) from the University of British Columbia, followed by an LL.B. degree from the University of Victoria. He was called to the British Columbia Bar in 1992.
Mr. Justice Veenstra served as law clerk to two justices of the British Columbia Court of Appeal in 1990-91. He then spent the first part of his career at McCarthy Tétrault in Vancouver. Since 2008, he has practised with Jenkins Marzban Logan LLP, with a civil litigation and arbitration practice focused on real estate, construction and general commercial disputes. He was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2018.
Justice Veenstra was active in the Canadian Bar Association, serving in a number of capacities both at the national level and with the BC Branch. He was Chair of the National Civil Litigation Section in 2013-14, President of the BC Branch in 2017-18, and a member of the national Board of Directors in 2019-20. He was a member of the BC Branch Truth and Reconciliation Working Group and a co-author of its 2018 report. He was awarded the CBABC President’s Medal in 2015, and was one of the recipients of the Law Society of British Columbia’s Leadership in Legal Aid Award in 2019.
Justice Veenstra was also active in amateur hockey, having served as president of his local minor hockey association and on the BC Hockey Board of Directors.
At the Superior Court level, more than 390 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 provides 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.