Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Alberta
November 21, 2018 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments under the new judicial application process introduced on October 20, 2016. The new process emphasizes transparency, merit, and diversity, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
Susan L. Bercov, Q.C., Director of Civil Litigation at the Alberta Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Edmonton. She replaces Justice J.M. Ross, who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective November 5, 2018.
Alice Woolley, a professor at the University of Calgary, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta in Calgary. She fills a new position created under Bill C-44, the Budget Implementation Act, 2017, No. 1.
After earning a B.A. (Honours) from the University of Alberta (1981) and an LL.B. from the University of Alberta (1984), Justice Susan L. Bercov was called to the Alberta Bar in 1985. She began her career as a litigator in private practice at Emery Jamieson LLP (as a student, associate and partner). In 2000, she joined Alberta Justice as senior litigation counsel. Over the course of her career, she has handled a broad range of litigation matters including commercial, trusts, personal injury, insolvency, insurance, class actions, and employment before tribunals and all levels of court in Alberta. In 2010, she took on the role of Director at Alberta Justice, overseeing the work of a team of lawyers providing litigation services to the province. She was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 2014.
Throughout her career, Justice Bercov has been committed to mentoring students and lawyers. She has demonstrated a strong commitment to promoting continuing education within the profession by designing and teaching courses, both in private practice and in government, on advocacy, legal analysis, and ethics. In addition, she has served as an instructor for the Bar Admission Course and volunteered with the University of Alberta moot court program.
Justice Bercov has volunteered with numerous sports organizations in which her children participated and has also contributed her time to a variety of community organizations, including the Anglican Diocese of Edmonton, the Westridge Wolf Willow Community league, and the Bissel Center.
Following her B.A. in history from the University of Toronto, Justice Alice Woolley graduated with an LL.B. from the University of Toronto Faculty of Law in 1994, where she received both the Gold Medal and the Dean’s Key. In 1995, Justice Woolley earned an LL.M. from Yale Law School, and in 1995-1996 she was a law clerk to the Right Honourable Antonio Lamer, then the Chief Justice of Canada.
After completing her clerkship, Justice Woolley moved to Calgary and, until 2003, practiced law in the areas of civil litigation and energy regulation. In 2004, she was appointed a professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Law. During her time at the University of Calgary, she became a nationally and internationally recognized scholar of lawyers’ ethics and professional regulation, with publications considering a wide range of issues including the lawyer as advisor, lawyers’ fiduciary obligations, the good character requirement, access to justice, regulation of civility, independence of the bar, and the theoretical foundations of the lawyer’s role.
Justice Woolley served as Associate Dean (Academic) (2014-2016) and as Co-Chair of the Faculty’s Curriculum Committee (2013-2014). From 2015 to 2018, she was President of the Canadian Association for Legal Ethics, and from 2016 to 2018, she was President of the International Association of Legal Ethics. Justice Woolley has twice received the Howard Tidswell Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence and also twice been named one of Canadian Lawyer’s Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers. In 2016, she was named the City of Calgary Council’s first Ethics Advisor.
Since taking office, the Minister of Justice has made over 230 judicial appointments, including 100 in 2017 – the most a Minister of Justice has made in one year in at least two decades. Of the individuals appointed, over half are women, eight are Indigenous, 20 identify as visible minorities, 13 identify as LGBTQ2, and three identify as persons with disabilities.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting access to justice for all Canadians. To improve outcomes for Canadian families, Budget 2018 will provide 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.
The funding outlined in Budget 2018 comes on top of resources allocated under Budget 2017, which created 28 new judicial positions across the country.
In addition, the Government will invest $6 million over two years, beginning in 2018-2019, to support the judicial discipline process through which allegations of judicial misconduct are investigated. In this way, the Government will ensure that a robust process remains in place to allow Canadians to voice their concerns and submit complaints about judicial conduct to the Canadian Judicial Council and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs.
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. Sixteen Judicial Advisory Committees have been reconstituted to date.