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 the diversity of the Canadian population, and will continue to ensure the appointment of jurists who meet the highest standards of excellence and integrity.
Lorena K. Harris, partner at Dentons in Edmonton, is appointed a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta. Madam Justice Harris replaces Madam Justice J. Goss (Edmonton), who elected to resign effective September 11, 2020.
“I wish Justice Harris every success as she takes on her new role. I am confident she will serve the people of Alberta well as a member of the Court of Queen’s Bench.”
-The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Justice Lorena K. Harris was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. She obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from York University in 1991 and a Bachelor of Laws from the University of British Columbia in 1994. She was called to the Alberta bar in 1995.
Madam Justice Harris articled with Milner Fenerty where she has practiced at Milner Fenerty’s many successors, including Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP and then Dentons Canada LLP for the past 26 years. Her practice focused on complex commercial litigation and professional liability litigation, appearing before all levels of Court in Alberta, British Columbia and the Supreme Court of Canada as well as many administrative tribunals. She has represented members of various police services within the Province of Alberta, a major Canadian railway, automotive manufacturers, a major Canadian bank and a Canadian engineering firm in multiple trials, appeals, arbitrations, administrative hearings, and judicial reviews.
Throughout her career, Justice Harris enjoyed volunteering, teaching and speaking in a variety of forums, including for the Advocates’ Society and the Law of Policing Conference. She served on the Boards of the Alberta Art Gallery, as well as ACT Alberta, a non-profit organization dedicated to the elimination of human trafficking within the Province of Alberta.
Justice Harris lives with her husband, Brent Podruzny, and their children and dogs in Edmonton, and also spends time with her family on Vancouver Island, where they enjoy being outside exploring and spending time on the water.
At the Superior Court level, more than 475 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, LGBTQ2+, 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.
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.
The Government of Canada is committed to promoting a justice system in which sexual assault matters are decided fairly, without the influence of myths and stereotypes, and in which survivors are treated with dignity and compassion. Changes to the Judges Act and Criminal Code, which came into force on May 6, 2021, mean that in order to be eligible for appointment to a provincial superior court, candidates must agree to participate in continuing education on matters related to sexual assault law and social context, which includes systemic racism and systemic discrimination. The new legislation enhances the transparency of decisions by amending the Criminal Code to require that judges provide written reasons, or enter them into the record, when deciding sexual assault matters.