Government of Canada announces judicial appointment in the province of Ontario

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., M.P. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

August 17, 2017 – Ottawa, Ontario – Department of Justice Canada

The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, today announced the following appointment under the new judicial application process announced 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.

David E. Harris, a sole practitioner, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in and for the Province of Ontario in Brampton. He replaces Madam Justice J.M. Fairburn, who was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on July 14, 2017.


Prior to his appointment, Mr. Justice David E. Harris was a criminal defence lawyer with an emphasis on appeal work. He graduated from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1985 and was called to the bar in 1987. He worked initially as an Assistant Crown Attorney in Toronto. In 1988, he joined the criminal defence firm of Carter, McCombs and Minden. Since 1993, he has been a sole practitioner.

Justice Harris has argued over 150 cases in the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada, including W.(D.) and Handy. Between 1996 and 2005, he worked part-time assisting law students with criminal law cases at Downtown Legal Services, the University of Toronto’s law clinic.

Since 2004, Justice Harris has been a member of the Circle of Directors of the Native Men’s Residence – a provider of housing, employment services, and support for Aboriginal men in Toronto. He served on the organization’s executive committee for several of those years. Justice Harris also spent 15 years, including a two-year term as president, on the board of directors of the John Howard Society of Toronto, which assists individuals in conflict with the law. He has worked with a number of other charitable causes, including the Chess Institute of Canada, Lawyers Feed the Hungry, and the Royal Conservatory of Music. Since 2012, he has been a member of the Stratford Festival Board of Governors.

In addition, Justice Harris has led numerous canoe trips in the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Excerpts from Justice Harris’s judicial application will be available shortly.

Quick Facts

  • Budget 2017 includes additional funding of $55 million over five years beginning in 2017-2018 and $15.5 million per year thereafter for 28 new federally appointed judges. Of these new positions, 12 have been allotted to Alberta and one to the Yukon, with the remaining 15 being assigned to a pool for needs in other jurisdictions.
  • To ensure a judiciary that is responsive, ethical and sensitive to the evolving needs of Canadian society, the Canadian Judicial Council will receive $2.7 million over five years and $0.5 million ongoing thereafter. This will support programming on judicial education, ethics and conduct, including in relation to gender and cultural sensitivity.
  • 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 Judicial Advisory Committees in 15 jurisdictions have been reconstituted. Most recently, Minister Wilson-Raybould announced the composition of five new Judicial Advisory Committees on June 28, 2017.
  • This process is separate from the Supreme Court of Canada judicial appointment process opened on July 14, 2017. Nominees to the Supreme Court of Canada are selected by the Prime Minister from a thoroughly vetted list of candidates.

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