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Government of Canada announces judicial appointments in the province of Ontario



OTTAWA, May 22, 2020 /CNW/ – The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointments 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.

Pamela M. Krause, a sole practitioner in Barrie, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, Family Court Branch. Madam Justice Kraus replaces Mr. Justice C.F. Graham (Barrie), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective July 19, 2019. 

Susan Vella, counsel at Rochon Genova LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Vella replaces Mr. Justice M.F. Brown (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective September 1, 2019.

Eugenia (Gina) Papageorgiou, a sole practitioner in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Papageorgiou replaces Madam Justice C.J. Horkins (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 17, 2020.

Audrey P. C. Ramsay, counsel at Blouin Dunn LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Ramsay replaces Mr. Justice G. Czutrin (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 30, 2020.

Narissa Somji, counsel at the Public Prosecution Service of Canada in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Somji replaces Mr. Justice J.E. McNamara (Ottawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective December 30, 2019.

Jana Steele, partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Steele replaces Madam Justice N. Spies (Toronto), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective February 25, 2020.

Catriona Verner, associate at Lockyer Campbell Posner LLP in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Verner replaces Mr. Justice A. Sosna (Oshawa), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective October 18, 2019.

Renu J. Mandhane, Chief Commissioner at the Ontario Human Rights Commission in Toronto, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Madam Justice Mandhane replaces Mr. Justice P.A. Daley (Brampton), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective January 31, 2020.


Justice Pamela M. Krause received her LL.B. from the University of Windsor in 1986 and was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1988.  In 2008, Justice Krause received her LL.M. from Osgoode Hall Law School.

Following her call to the bar, Madam Justice Krause practised civil litigation and family law in Windsor, Ontario, until 1997. She then became legal counsel at the Children’s Aid Society of HamiltonWentworth. In February 2000, she became senior legal counsel and manager of legal services at the Children’s Aid Society of Simcoe County, where she remained until 2010. Justice Krause then returned to private practice, specializing in the area of family law, including child protection law. She was a member of the personal rights panel for the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and a panel member for the Family Responsibility Office, and she participated in the family duty counsel panel. Justice Krause was also a part-time lawyer member of the Consent and Capacity Board.

Justice Krause has taken an active part in her legal community, most recently as President of the Simcoe County Family Law Lawyers’ Association and Communications Director of the Simcoe County Law Association. She was a Dispute Resolution Officer in Barrie and the lawyer liaison for that program. Justice Krause believes strongly in engaging with the community and has volunteered on various boards and committees. She served as a member of the board of governors for Georgian College for six years. 

In her spare time, Justice Krause travels on her motorcycle and scuba dives with her husband, Reg.

Justice Susan Vella was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1988. She has worked in a range of private practice settings, commencing her legal career at Blake, Cassels and Graydon and later moving to Goodman and Carr LLP, where she became a partner. She has been at Rochon Genova LLP as senior counsel since 2007.

Madam Justice Vella is a pioneer in the field of civil sexual assault. Her practice also focussed on Indigenous issues, public law, and, earlier in her career, commercial litigation. She has acted as trial and appellate counsel at all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. She received the Advocates’ Society Award of Justice in 2008 and the Law Society Medal in 2009. Justice Vella’s career has reflected her commitment to public service and legal education.  She served as Commission Counsel to the Ipperwash Inquiry, as initial Lead Commission Counsel to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG), and as a member of Ontario’s Civil Rules Committee.  She is the author of numerous articles and chapters and also co-author of the text, Civil Liability for Sexual Abuse and Violence in Canada (2000).

In the community, Justice Vella served on various boards, including as a board member and then chair of VIVA! Singers of Toronto, an inner city youth choir.

Justice Vella and her long-time partner, Elizabeth, reside in Toronto and are the proud parents of David.

Justice Eugenia Papageorgiou was born and raised in Toronto by Macedonian/Greek parents, within a wonderful community of immigrants. It was her lifelong dream to become a lawyer, and her family and community supported and encouraged her in all things. 

Madam Justice Papageorgiou was called to the Bar of Ontario in 1991, practised litigation at Stikeman Elliott LLP and then at McCarthy Tetrault LLP, where she became a partner. Her passion for social justice led her to the not-for-profit sector. Since 2006, she has been counsel to the Class Proceedings Committee of the Law Foundation of Ontario, which facilitates access to justice for the people of Ontario. She has been a Deputy Judge of Small Claims Court since 2009. Her commitment to the legal profession and wish to improve equity, diversity and inclusion led her to become involved with the Law Society of Ontario (LSO), where she has been a bencher since 2015. 

Justice Papageorgiou is currently an adjudicator with the LSO and Vice-Chair of the Hearing and Appeal Panel.  She also sits on multiple LSO committees, including the Equity and Indigenous Advisory Committee (EIAC) and the Professional Development and Competence Committee.  She is a former vice-chair of the Access to Justice Committee and the EIAC, vice-chair and treasurer of the Human Rights Legal Support Centre, and president of the board of the Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic.

Justice Papageorgiou is married to a wonderful husband, Stephen, and is blessed with two daughters, Julie and Lisa, and a golden doodle, Lucy, who are the light of her life.

Justice Audrey P. C. Ramsay was born in Jamaica and immigrated to Canada at the age of 10. She received an Honours Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and French from Wilfrid Laurier University and an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa. Called to the bar in 1995, she has worked both in house and in private practice, focusing on insurance defence, including property and casualty law, professional negligence, commercial law, and automobile insurance. 

Madam Justice Ramsay joined Blouin Dunn LLP in 2015. She has served on the Civil Rules Committee and on the boards of the Ontario Bar Association, Canadian Defence Lawyers, and the Women’s Law Association of Ontario. She has chaired the Canadian Bar Association Sections Subcommittee, the OBA Civil Litigation Section, the OBA Insurance Law Section, as well as the Financial Services Commission of Ontario Counsel Forum. She has developed numerous professional development programs and is a frequent speaker, and she was one of the architects of the OBA’s Anatomy of a Trial advocacy program.

As Chair of NourishHOPE, Justice Ramsay helped to raise funds to benefit the work of the International Justice Mission Canada, rescuing individuals from modern day slavery and raising awareness of human trafficking.

Justice Ramsay is the 2020 recipient of the OBA Distinguished Service Award. She was inducted into the University of Ottawa Common Law Honour Society in 2018 and received the Lexpert Zenith Award in 2017, as well as the Linda Adlam Manning Award in 2010 from the OBA for volunteerism.

Justice Narissa Somji was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to parents of South Asian origin and immigrated to Canada in the 1970s. She earned a B.A. from McGill University in 1989, an LL.B. from the University of Ottawa in 1994, and an LL.M specializing in criminal law from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2009. She was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1996.

Madam Justice Somji started her career as a Crown counsel in Whitehorse, Yukon, where she prosecuted Criminal Code offences and helped launch restorative justice initiatives in Indigenous communities. She returned to Ottawa in 2004 to review wrongful conviction applications on behalf of the Minister of Justice. In 2008, she joined the Department of Justice Competition Bureau legal services unit, where she provided legal advice on mergers, civil and criminal matters under the Competition Act. In 2012, Justice Somji joined the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and specialized in the prosecution of Competition Act offences, regulatory offences, and economic crimes. She has conducted prosecutions in Ontario, Quebec, the Yukon, and Nunavut. pe

Throughout her life, Justice Somji has been an active volunteer and educator. She taught English in the Congo, instructed criminology students at Yukon College, and mentored students attending the University of Ottawa Law School. She has volunteered with community programs within the Ismaili Muslim community, the Chelsea Nordiq Cross Country Ski Club, and, more recently, the Catholic Centre for Immigrants in Ottawa. 

Justice Somji resides in Ottawa with her spouse, Toby Sanger, and their two children.

Justice Jana Steele was born in Toronto and raised in Georgetown, Ontario, graduating from Georgetown District High School.  She completed her Commerce degree at Queen’s University, and her legal studies at Western University in London, Ontario, where she was also president of the Student Legal Society and a recipient of the Dean Ivan C. Rand Award.

After her call to the bar in 1997, Madam Justice Steele worked at Stikeman Elliott LLP and was a partner at Goodmans LLP and, most recently, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. She started as a taxation associate at Stikemans and later transitioned to trusts, estates, and the growing and important area of pensions law while at Goodmans. Prior to her appointment, Justice Steele was an industry-leading practitioner at Oslers, with experience in all aspects of pensions law, including plan design, administration, governance, restructuring and insolvency, and complex transactional work. 

Justice Steele has chaired the pensions and benefits executive for the Ontario Bar Association and the Steering Committee for the International Pension & Employee Benefits Lawyers Association. She was also a member of the legal advisory committee to the former pension regulator, the Financial Services Commission of Ontario, for many years. 

Justice Steele and her husband, who is also a lawyer, have a wonderful teenage daughter and an energetic two-year-old son to keep them young. She is an avid reader, and keeps active swimming, walking and biking.

Justice Catriona Verner was born in Kingston and lived in a variety of places throughout her youth, including New Zealand, Japan and Europe.  She returned to Kingston to complete an undergraduate degree in Commerce.

While working on her degree, Madam Justice Verner started volunteering with the John Howard Society. Through her work with those serving life sentences at Kingston Penitentiary, she developed an interest in criminal law and turned her focus to legal studies.  She graduated from Queen’s Law School in 1999 and began a practice in criminal defence work. She completed articles at what was then known as Hicks Block Adams LLP and continued as an associate specializing in criminal appeals until she left the firm in 2016.  Since then she has been practising with Lockyer Campbell Posner LLP, where her work has been almost exclusively at the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. 

Justice Verner has spoken at conferences, published several papers, lectured at multiple law schools, and been asked to appear at the Supreme Court of Canada on behalf of the Ontario criminal defence bar as an intervenor for the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

Justice Verner, her husband, Corbin Cawkell, and their six-year-old daughter are active members of the Republic of Rathnelly community in Toronto.

Justice Renu J. Mandhane received her J.D. from the University of Toronto, articled at Torys LLP, and was admitted to the Law Society of Ontario in 2002. She received her LL.M. from New York University in 2003, publishing her thesis in the Michigan Journal of Gender and Law.

Madam Justice Mandhane practised criminal law with with Diane Oleskiw (now Justice Oleskiw of the Ontario Court of Justice) from 2003 to 2008. She advocated for the rights of women as accused persons, complainants in sexual assault matters, and prisoners. She led the University of Toronto’s International Human Rights Program from 2009 to 2015. As an adjunct professor, she mentored students, educated judges through the National Judicial Institute, and made presentations at the United Nations. She appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada in Chevron v Yaiguaje and Ezokola v Canada

Justice Mandhane was appointed Chief Commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in 2015. She appeared before parliamentary standing committees and led public inquiries into discrimination in policing, education and child welfare. Under her leadership, the OHRC obtained an order from the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario requiring Ontario to prohibit segregation for prisoners with mental health disabilities.

Ms. Mandhane’s work has been recognized by the International Commission of Jurists, the Office of the Correctional Investigator, Excellence Canada, Canadian Lawyer Magazine, and Desi Magazine. In 2018, she was gifted an eagle feather in recognition of her efforts to advance Indigenous reconciliation.

Justice Mandhane was born and raised in Calgary by Indian immigrant parents. She lives in Toronto with her husband and two children.

Quick Facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 380 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.

SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

For further information: media may contact: Rachel Rappaport, Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Justice, 613-992-6568, [email protected]; Media Relations, Department of Justice Canada, 613-957-4207, [email protected]

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Coronavirus crushes overseas dreams of Asian students




TAIPEI/HONG KONG — Iris Hsu is only 23, but she is clear about what she wants to do with her life. The marketing student from Taipei dreams of working in a Milanese fashion house, and she hopes COVID-19 is not going to stop her.

Hsu has to stay up late each night for online classes after a travel ban prevented her from returning to her studies in Italy, where she is in the final semester of a graduate program in fashion and luxury brand marketing. But her future remains clouded by the pandemic.

“I have already applied for more than 20 internships in Milan, but have not heard anything back,” Hsu told the Nikkei Asian Review.

She is stuck thousands of kilometers away from prospective employers, and the pandemic has wreaked havoc on the luxury goods industry, but she is in the same boat as many other aspiring young professionals. One friend was offered an internship and later told that all openings had been closed because of the pandemic. Hsu seriously doubts her chances at such a difficult time.

Countless students due to graduate this year are watching their dreams shatter as the world tumbles into recession. Health risks and travel bans have separated many from their chosen institutions overseas.

Students from Asia, particularly China and India, make up a large proportion of the international students enrolled around the world. In the U.K., 121,000 fewer international students will commence their first-year studies this year, according to a report in April by the University and College Union in London. With domestic enrollment also down, a funding shortfall of 2.5 billion pounds (about $3 billion) is expected there along with the loss of 30,000 university jobs.

As confirmed COVID-19 cases climb toward 5.5 million globally, few countries feel safe to open their borders. Australia, where hundreds of thousands of Chinese students attend college, has barred foreigners entering since February.

That was particularly bad news for Liu Yundan, 25, who had been celebrating Chinese new year at home with her family in Chongqing. She was unable to get back to the Gold Coast for her final semester in hotel management. Liu has found it difficult to participate in the substitute online courses offered by her university because critical internet services like Google and WhatsApp are banned in China.

“I was supposed to graduate by the end of this year but that has been pushed back to 2021,” said Liu, whose hopes of returning by the end of June for the next semester are also dimming. “I still have not received any notice on when Australia will lift its travel ban.”

Students still on course to complete their studies face other challenges. Varun Tulsai, 24, an Indian studying data science in Vancouver, has applied for more than 100 jobs since April with only 30 responses so far as companies shut down recruitment. “Even if they reopen, I don’t feel very confident about finding a job in an industry I desire,” he told Nikkei.

Competition is strong. Canada saw record unemployment in March, and many much more experienced workers have been forced back into the job market. On one occasion, Tulsai found himself competing for an entry level job against candidates with a postgraduate degree and years of work experience. “How would I get hired in that situation?”

Amy Lam, another data science student in Vancouver, has similar concerns. “Beginners like me are likely to be hit the hardest by the pandemic,” she said. “As many companies now work from home and are unable to provide training, they would prefer to hire someone who can hit the ground running.”

Returning to Hong Kong might provide a solution, but Lam is not keen. “If we study abroad, we want to stay abroad,” she said. She is still looking for a job that fits her education. “If I can’t find one, perhaps I can at least hang in with a job at a restaurant or supermarket.”

Those who seek higher education abroad students face similar problems.

Smit Shah, 25, has worked for years to save up for his overseas tuition but may now have to cancel his application. He had planned to enroll in a Canadian university in September, but is now stranded in his home city of Mumbai with visa services suspended and travel banned. The offer of digital tuition is not appealing.

“I cannot get the experience, the culture, and the fun of meeting new people by studying from India,” he told Nikkei. “If I spent a large sum but could not go, then I would have to pull out of my plan.”

Smit Shah had planned to enrol in a Canadian university in September, but is now stranded in his home city of Mumbai with visa services suspended and travel banned. (Photo provided by Smit Shah)

A survey conducted by the British Council in April found that among 1,493 respondents from South Asia, 29% of students from India and 35% from Pakistan have already canceled — or are likely to cancel — plans to study in the U.K. this year.

There is similar reluctance in other parts of Asia. Only 6% of students from Thailand with firm university offers in the U.K. have confirmed they wish to start in September as planned, according to UKEAS, an education consultancy. A recent UKEAS survey produced a figure of 8% for Taiwan, 17% for the Philippines, and 61% for Malaysia. “Many offer holders are still uncommitted and waiting to see what happens in the U.K. before making a final decision,” Yin Lee, a UKEAS overseas study manager, told Nikkei.

Sun Bo, a director with Guangzhou-based EIC Education, said that the pandemic has not lessened the desire to study abroad among Chinese students she meets. “But if the coronavirus outbreak continues into the summer, we will certainly see an adverse impact on the number of outbound students from mainland China, and that impact will not be insignificant,” she said.

Sun believes, however, that students already studying abroad have bright futures. “As soon as the pandemic is over, there will be pent-up demand from all industries,” she said. “No matter if you want to find a job or migrate to a foreign country, you will have the chance.”

Hsu, meanwhile, sits in Taipei remembering field trips along Milan’s streets as she joins Zoom teleconferences. These cannot make up for the showroom visits and networking events she once took for granted — crucial elements in her decision to study abroad.

An online banner from Hsu’s 85-year-old university, located near Via Montenapoleone, one of Europe’s most upmarket shopping areas, reads somewhat ironically: “Always there to guarantee your future.”

Few have that kind of comfort these days. “My original plans are now up in the air,” said Hsu.

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This essential worker’s child-care costs have almost tripled during COVID-19




A Halifax-area veterinarian says she’s spending nearly three times the amount of money on child care during COVID-19, and she wants the province to step up and help essential workers who are struggling financially.

Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that hasn’t kept regulated child-care centres open for essential workers. Despite a promise by the premier in early May to reassess that approach, Dr. Lindsay MacNeil said she’s still waiting.

“There’s really not a lot of help for that and by not a lot, I guess I mean none,” MacNeil, who works at Metro Animal Emergency Clinic in Dartmouth, N.S., told CBC’s Maritime Noon on Monday.

MacNeil is a single parent and said she’s working extra shifts to afford to pay for a babysitter to care for her three-year-old daughter.

Before COVID-19, she said she spent about $800 a month at a licensed daycare, and a full-time babysitter who comes to her home now costs her about $2,200 a month.

MacNeil worries essential workers are having to choose between work and making sure their kids are looked after. (Dr. Lindsay MacNeil)

“It’s really made me kind of have to sit down and really watch what we’re spending on,” MacNeil said. “Having it almost triple is a big hit to take during anytime, especially when there’s already a lot of stressors happening.”

MacNeil was able to find a babysitter on Kijiji who was willing to only work with her family, and she said she’s thankful she was able to find someone she trusts.

The province initially suggested parents who needed to work could still use unregulated child-care operations, which have remained open, but MacNeil said those spots filled up quickly.

“So there’s really nobody else that I can rely on,” she said. “And there are a number of people that I can think of in my life that are experiencing this and I can only imagine there are even more.”

At the beginning of May, Premier Stephen McNeil said his government would evaluate the child-care needs of essential service workers after students at Dalhousie University who were providing child care for health-care workers called on the government to do more.

June 8 reopening uncertain

Licensed daycares have been closed since late March and while the province has set June 8 as a target date to reopen, it’s unclear whether that date will be met.

MacNeil said she’s not advocating that daycares reopen before it’s safe to do so. Rather, she wants the province to provide some form of financial aid to offset the higher costs of daycare.

“I think there’s a lot of people in this position and we’re kind of asking and reaching out and trying to verbalize that this is a concern and we need more support, but it’s falling on deaf ears,” she said.

What the province is doing

In a statement from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, the province said a group of child-care representatives is working with public health to establish a plan to reopen the licensed child-care sector.

The department also said it’s committed to working with essential workers to address their needs.

“To ensure families are not paying for a service they cannot access, the department directed licensed child-care providers to not charge families fees during this time,” a statement said.

“Unlicensed childcare providers have continued to operate and provide an important service to fill the child-care needs of families during COVID-19, including essential workers.”

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Schools expected to reopen to staff June 1, says English school district




Newfoundland and Labrador English School District director of education Tony Stack says schools are expected to reopen to teachers next week. File photo. (Peter Cowan/CBC)

Schools in the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District are expected to reopen to teachers next week, according to director of education Tony Stack.

In a memo sent to staff Monday, Stack said the district expects the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development to make the announcement that schools will reopen June 1 to teachers, teaching assistants and secretaries for the remainder of the school year. 

Teachers and staff are expected to close out the current school year by completing transition plans for students, preparing final report cards — which will be issued the week of June 22 — and completing two professional learning courses. 

Teachers are also expected to begin preparation for the next school year. 

“We acknowledge that, at present, public health authorities continue to encourage working from home where possible. I am also aware that some of you have geographical limitations, health concerns, or issues regarding the care of family members that may, wholly or partially, prevent you going into your school,” Stack said.

Stack said staff can continue to work from home, providing they complete the work to close out the school year. 

Home-learning plans will be suspended June 5 to allow teachers time to complete their final tasks and focus on preparing for 2020-21, Stack said. 

Stack said in the memo the school district has been expecting the announcement for some time, adding that custodial staff will play a key role in preparation for next year. 

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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