List of Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada

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Beverley McLachlin is the current Chief Justice of Canada and the first woman to hold this position.

The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada. It was created in 1875 by a law passed by the Parliament of Canada, the Supreme and Exchequer Court Act.[1] Since 1949, the Court has been the final court of appeal in the Canadian justice system. Originally composed of six justices (the Chief Justice of Canada and five puisne justices), the Court was expanded to seven justices by the creation of an additional puisne justice position in 1927,[2] and then to nine justices by the creation of two more puisne justice positions in 1949.[3]

The justices are appointed by the Governor-in-Council (Governor General of Canada on the advice of the Cabinet). The first six justices of the Court were all appointed in 1875 by the then Governor General of Canada, the Earl of Dufferin, on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister, Alexander Mackenzie.

Of the nine justices, three positions are required by law to be held by judges who are either judges of the superior courts of Quebec, or members of the Bar of Quebec, at the time of their appointment.[4][5] Traditionally, three of the remaining judges are appointed from Ontario, two from the four western provinces, and one from the Atlantic provinces. The judges from these provinces, other than Quebec, must have been a judge of a superior court, or a member of the bar of one of those provinces for ten or more years prior to the appointment.[6] A Supreme Court justice, as with all federal judges, has guaranteed tenure during good behaviour, and may sit on the bench until the age of 75 years.[7] Beverley McLachlin is the current Chief Justice and is the first woman to hold this position.[8]

In this list, justices are placed in the order in which they took the judicial oath of office and thereby started their term of office. While many of the justices' positions prior to appointment are simply listed as "lawyer", many had part-time positions, such as teaching, or acted as counsel to various levels of government.

Justices[edit]

     † Denotes current justices

No. Name Province Term of
active service
Term of
service
as Chief Justice
Length of
active service
Length
in days
as Chief Justice
Appointed on
advice of
Legal education Position prior to appointment
1 Sir William Buell Richards
(1815–1889)
Ontario September 30, 1875 – January 10, 1879 September 30, 1875 – January 10, 1879 1,199 1,199 Mackenzie (directly as Chief Justice) Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1837)
Chief Justice of the Court of Common Pleas for Canada West
2 William Johnstone Ritchie
(1813–1892)
New Brunswick September 30, 1875 – September 25, 1892 January 11, 1879 – September 25, 1892 6,206 5,007 Mackenzie (as pusine justice);
Macdonald (as Chief Justice)
Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1837)
Chief Justice of New Brunswick
3 Samuel Henry Strong
(1825–1909)
Ontario September 30, 1875 – November 18, 1902 December 13, 1892 – November 18, 1902 9,911 3,627 Mackenzie (as pusine justice);
Thompson (as Chief Justice)
Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1849)
Ontario Court of Error & Appeal
4 Jean-Thomas Taschereau
(1814–1893)
Quebec September 30, 1875 – October 6, 1878
1,103
Mackenzie Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer; École de droit de Paris
(1837)
Court of Queen's Bench of Quebec
5 Télesphore Fournier
(1823–1896)
Quebec September 30, 1875 – September 12, 1895
7,288
Mackenzie Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1846)
Postmaster General
6 William Alexander Henry
(1816–1888)
Nova Scotia September 30, 1875 – May 3, 1888
4,600
Mackenzie Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1841)
Lawyer
7 Sir Henri-Elzéar Taschereau
(1836–1911)
Quebec October 7, 1878 – May 2, 1906 November 21, 1902 – May 2, 1906 10,069 1,259 Mackenzie (as puisne justice);
Laurier (as Chief Justice)
Quebec Superior Court
8 John Wellington Gwynne
(1814–1902)
Ontario January 14, 1879 – January 7, 1902
8,394
Macdonald Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1837)
Ontario Court of Error & Appeal
9 Christopher Salmon Patterson
(1823–1893)
Ontario October 27, 1888 – July 24, 1893
1,732
Macdonald
Ontario Court of Error & Appeal
10 Robert Sedgewick
(1848–1906)
Nova Scotia February 18, 1893 – August 4, 1906
4,915
Thompson Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1872)
Deputy Minister of Justice (Federal)
11 George Edwin King
(1839–1901)
New Brunswick September 21, 1893 – May 8, 1901
2,786
Thompson Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1865)
Supreme Court of New Brunswick
12 Désiré Girouard
(1836–1911)
Quebec September 28, 1895 – March 22, 1911
5,654
Bowell McGill Law School
(1860)
Member of Parliament for Jacques Cartier
13 Sir Louis Henry Davies
(1845–1924)
Prince Edward Island September 25, 1901 – May 1, 1924 November 23, 1918 – May 1, 1924 8,255 1,987 Laurier (as puisne justice);
Borden (as Chief Justice)
Inner Temple, London
(1866)
Member of Parliament for West Queen's
14 David Mills
(1831–1903)
Ontario February 8, 1902 – May 8, 1903
455
Laurier University of Michigan
(1867)
Minister of Justice (Canada)
and Leader of the Government in the Senate
15 John Douglas Armour
(1830–1903)
Ontario November 21, 1902 – July 11, 1903
233
Laurier Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1853)
Chief Justice of Ontario
16 Wallace Nesbitt
(1858–1930)
Ontario May 16, 1903 – October 4, 1905
873
Laurier Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1881)
Lawyer
17 Albert Clements Killam
(1849–1908)
Manitoba August 8, 1903 – February 6, 1905
549
Laurier Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1877)
Chief Justice of Manitoba
18 John Idington
(1840–1928)
Ontario February 10, 1905 – March 31, 1927
8,085
Laurier University of Toronto
(1864)
High Court of Justice of Ontario
19 James Maclennan
(1833–1915)
Ontario October 5, 1905 – February 13, 1909
1,228
Laurier Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1857)
Court of Appeal for Ontario
20 Sir Charles Fitzpatrick
(1853–1942)
Quebec June 4, 1906 – November 21, 1918 June 4, 1906 – November 21, 1918 4,554 4,554 Laurier (directly as Chief Justice) Université Laval, Faculté de droit
(1876)
Minister of Justice (Canada)
21 Sir Lyman Poore Duff
(1865–1955)
British Columbia September 27, 1906 – January 2, 1944 March 17, 1933 – January 2, 1944 13,617 3,949 Laurier (as puisne justice);
Bennett (as Chief Justice)
University of Toronto Faculty of Law
(1889)
Supreme Court of British Columbia
22 Francis Alexander Anglin
(1865–1933)
Ontario February 23, 1909 – February 28, 1933 September 16, 1924 – February 28, 1933 8,772 3,088 Laurier (as puisne justice);
King (as Chief Justice)
The Law Society of Upper Canada
(1888)
High Court of Justice of Ontario (Exchequer Division)
23 Louis-Philippe Brodeur
(1862–1924)
Quebec August 11, 1911 – October 10, 1923
4,444
Laurier Université Laval à Montréal, Faculté de droit
(1884)
Minister of the Naval Service
24 Pierre-Basile Mignault
(1854–1945)
Quebec October 25, 1918 – September 30, 1929
3,994
Borden McGill Law School
(1878)
Member of the International Joint Commission
25 Arthur Cyrille Albert Malouin
(1857–1936)
Quebec January 30, 1924 – October 1, 1924
246
King Université Laval, Faculté de droit
(1882)
Quebec Superior Court
26 Edmund Leslie Newcombe
(1859–1931)
Nova Scotia September 16, 1924 – December 9, 1931
2,641
King University of Halifax
(1881)
Deputy Minister of Justice (federal)
27 Thibaudeau Rinfret
(1879–1962)
Quebec October 1, 1924 – June 22, 1954 January 8, 1944 – June 22, 1954 10,857 3,819 King (as both puisne justice and later as Chief Justice) Université Laval à Montréal and McGill Law School
(1900)
Quebec Superior Court
28 John Henderson Lamont
(1865–1936)
Saskatchewan April 2, 1927 – March 10, 1936
3,266
King University of Toronto Faculty of Law
(1893)
Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan
29 Robert Smith
(1858–1942)
Ontario May 18, 1927 – December 7, 1933
2,396
King Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1885)
Supreme Court of Ontario (Appellate Division)
30 Lawrence Arthur Dumoulin Cannon
(1877–1939)
Quebec January 14, 1930 – December 25, 1939
3,633
King Université Laval, Faculté de droit
(1899)
Court of King's Bench for Quebec
31 Oswald Smith Crocket
(1868–1945)
New Brunswick September 21, 1932 – April 13, 1943
3,857
Bennett Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1892)
Supreme Court of New Brunswick
32 Frank Joseph Hughes
(1883–1967)
Ontario March 17, 1933 – February 13, 1935
699
Bennett Osgoode Hall Law School (Law Society of Upper Canada)
(1911)
Lawyer
33 Henry Hague Davis
(1885–1944)
Ontario January 31, 1935 – June 30, 1944
3,439
Bennett University of Toronto Faculty of Law
(1911)
Court of Appeal for Ontario
34 Patrick Kerwin
(1889–1963)
Ontario July 20, 1935 – February 2, 1963 July 1, 1954 – February 2, 1963 10,060 3,139 Bennett (as puisne justice);
St. Laurent (as Chief Justice)
Osgoode Hall Law School (Law Society of Upper Canada)
(1911)
High Court of Justice of Ontario
35 Albert Blellock Hudson
(1875–1947)
Manitoba March 24, 1936 – January 6, 1947
3,941
King University of Manitoba, Faculty of Law
(1898)
Lawyer
36 Robert Taschereau
(1896–1970)
Quebec February 9, 1940 – September 1, 1967 April 22, 1963 – September 1, 1967 10,067 1,549 King (as puisne justice);
Diefenbaker (as Chief Justice)
Université Laval, Faculté de droit)
(1920)
Lawyer
37 Ivan Cleveland Rand
(1884–1969)
New Brunswick April 22, 1943 – April 27, 1959
5,850
King Harvard Law School
(1912)
Lawyer
38 Roy Lindsay Kellock
(1893–1975)
Ontario October 3, 1944 – January 15, 1958
4,853
King
Court of Appeal for Ontario
39 James Wilfred Estey
(1889–1956)
Saskatchewan October 6, 1944 – January 22, 1956
4,126
King Harvard Law School
(1915)
Attorney General of Saskatchewan
40 Charles Holland Locke
(1887–1980)
British Columbia June 3, 1947 – September 16, 1962
5,585
King Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(1910)
Lawyer
41 John Robert Cartwright
(1895–1979)
Ontario December 22, 1949 – March 23, 1970 September 1, 1967 – March 23, 1970 7,397 935 St. Laurent (as puisne justice);
Pearson (as Chief Justice)
Osgoode Hall Law School (Law Society of Upper Canada)
(1920)
Lawyer
42 Joseph Honoré Gérald Fauteux
(1900–1980)
Quebec December 22, 1949 – December 23, 1973 March 23, 1970 – December 23, 1973 8,768 1,372 St. Laurent (as puisne justice);
Trudeau (as Chief Justice)
Université de Montréal Faculty of Law
(1925)
Quebec Superior Court
43 Douglas Charles Abbott
(1899–1987)
Quebec July 1, 1954 – December 23, 1973
7,116
St. Laurent McGill Law School Minister of Finance (federal)
44 Henry Grattan Nolan
(1893–1957)
Alberta March 1, 1956 – July 8, 1957
495
St. Laurent Articles of clerkship with a senior lawyer
(English and Alberta bars)
Lawyer
45 Ronald Martland
(1909–1997)
Alberta January 15, 1958 – February 10, 1982
8,793
Diefenbaker University of Alberta, University of Oxford
(1928, 1931)
Lawyer
46 Wilfred Judson
(1902–1980)
Ontario February 5, 1958 – July 20, 1977
7,106
Diefenbaker Osgoode Hall Law School (Law Society of Upper Canada)
(1932)
High Court of Justice of Ontario
47 Roland Almon Ritchie
(1910–1988)
Nova Scotia May 5, 1959 – October 31, 1984
9,312
Diefenbaker University of Oxford
(1932)
Lawyer
48 Emmett Matthew Hall
(1898–1995)
Saskatchewan November 23, 1962 – March 1, 1973
3,752
Diefenbaker University of Saskatchewan College of Law
(1919)
Chief Justice of Saskatchewan, Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan
49 Wishart Flett Spence
(1904–1998)
Ontario May 30, 1963 – December 29, 1978
5,693
Pearson Osgoode Hall Law School (Law Society of Upper Canada)
(1928)
High Court of Justice of Ontario
50 Louis-Philippe Pigeon
(1905–1986)
Quebec September 21, 1967 – February 8, 1980
4,524
Pearson Université Laval, Faculté de droit
(1928)
Lawyer
51 Bora Laskin
(1912–1984)
Ontario March 23, 1970 – March 26, 1984 December 27, 1973 – March 26, 1984 5,118 3,739 Trudeau (as both puisne justice and later as Chief Justice) University of Toronto
(1936)
Harvard Law School
(1937)
Osgoode Hall Law School (Law Society of Upper Canada)
(1937)
Court of Appeal for Ontario
52 Robert George Brian Dickson
(1916–1998)
Manitoba March 26, 1973 – June 30, 1990 April 18, 1984 – June 30, 1990 6,306 2,265 Trudeau (as both puisne justice and later as Chief Justice) University of Manitoba Faculty of Law
(1938)
Manitoba Court of Appeal
53 Jean Beetz
(1927–1991)
Quebec January 1, 1974 – November 10, 1988
5,428
Trudeau Université de Montréal Faculty of Law
(1950)
Pembroke College, Oxford
(1953)
Quebec Court of Appeal
54 Louis-Philippe de Grandpré
(1917–2008)
Quebec January 1, 1974 – October 1, 1977
1,370
Trudeau McGill University Faculty of Law President of the Canadian Bar Association
55 Willard Zebedee Estey
(1919–2002)
Ontario September 29, 1977 – April 22, 1988
Harvard University
3,859
Trudeau University of Saskatchewan College of Law Chief Justice of Ontario
56 Yves Pratte
(1925–1988)
Quebec October 1, 1977 – June 30, 1979
638
Trudeau Université Laval (Faculté de droit (Université Laval)) and University of Toronto Chairman of Air Canada
57 William Rogers McIntyre
(1918–2009)
British Columbia January 1, 1979 – February 15, 1989
3,699
Trudeau University of Saskatchewan British Columbia Court of Appeal
58 Julien Chouinard
(1929–1987)
Quebec September 24, 1979 – February 6, 1987
2,693
Clark Université Laval Quebec Court of Appeal
59 Antonio Lamer
(1933–2007)
Quebec March 28, 1980 – January 6, 2000 July 1, 1990 – January 6, 2000 7,224 3,477 Trudeau (as puisne justice);
Mulroney (as Chief Justice)
Université de Montréal Quebec Court of Appeal
60 Bertha Wilson
(1923–2007)
Ontario March 4, 1982 – January 4, 1991
3,229
Trudeau Dalhousie Law School Court of Appeal for Ontario
61 Gerald Eric Le Dain
(1924–2007)
Ontario May 29, 1984 – November 30, 1988
1,647
Trudeau McGill University Faculty of Law Federal Court of Appeal
62 Gérard La Forest
(b. 1926)
New Brunswick January 16, 1985 – September 30, 1997
4,641
Mulroney University of New Brunswick Faculty of Law and Yale Law School New Brunswick Court of Appeal
63 Claire L'Heureux-Dubé
(b. 1927)
Quebec April 15, 1987 – July 1, 2002
5,557
Mulroney Université Laval (Faculté de droit (Université Laval)) Quebec Court of Appeal
64 John Sopinka
(1933–1997)
Ontario May 24, 1988 – November 24, 1997
3,472
Mulroney University of Toronto Lawyer
65 Charles Gonthier
(1928–2009)
Quebec February 1, 1989 – August 1, 2003
5,295
Mulroney McGill University Faculty of Law Quebec Court of Appeal
66 Peter Cory
(b. 1925)
Ontario February 1, 1989 – June 1, 1999
3,773
Mulroney Osgoode Hall Law School Court of Appeal for Ontario
67 Beverley McLachlin
(b. 1943)
British Columbia March 30, 1989 – present January 7, 2000 – present 9,404[9] 5,469[9] Mulroney (as puisne justice);
Chrétien (as Chief Justice)
University of Alberta Faculty of Law Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of British Columbia
68 William Stevenson
(b. 1934)
Alberta September 17, 1990 – June 5, 1992
628
Mulroney University of Alberta Faculty of Law Court of Appeal of Alberta
Court of Appeal for the Northwest Territories
69 Frank Iacobucci
(b. 1937)
Ontario January 7, 1991 – June 30, 2004
4,924
Mulroney University of British Columbia and Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge Chief Justice of the Federal Court
70 John C. Major
(b. 1931)
Alberta November 13, 1992 – December 25, 2005
4,791
Mulroney University of Toronto Court of Appeal of Alberta
71 Michel Bastarache
(b. 1947)
New Brunswick September 30, 1997 – June 30, 2008
3,926
Chrétien University of Ottawa Faculty of Law New Brunswick Court of Appeal
72 William Ian Corneil Binnie
(b. 1939)
Ontario January 8, 1998 – October 21, 2011
5,034
Chrétien Faculty of Law, University of Cambridge University of Toronto Lawyer
73 Louise Arbour
(b. 1947)
Ontario September 15, 1999 – June 30, 2004
1,751
Chrétien Université de Montréal Faculty of Law Chief Prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia and for Rwanda
74 Louis LeBel
(b. 1939)
Quebec January 7, 2000 – November 30, 2014
5,442
Chrétien Université Laval
University of Toronto
Quebec Court of Appeal
75 Marie Deschamps
(b. 1952)
Quebec August 7, 2002 – August 7, 2012
3,653
Chrétien Université de Montréal Quebec Court of Appeal
76 Morris J. Fish
(b. 1938)
Quebec August 5, 2003 – August 31, 2013
3,680
Chrétien McGill University Faculty of Law Quebec Court of Appeal
77 Rosalie Abella
(b. 1946)
Ontario October 4, 2004 – present
3,737[9]
Martin University of Toronto Court of Appeal for Ontario
78 Louise Charron
(b. 1951)
Ontario October 4, 2004 – August 30, 2011
2,521
Martin University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Court of Appeal for Ontario
79 Marshall Rothstein
(b. 1940)
Manitoba March 1, 2006 – present
3,224[9]
Harper University of Manitoba Federal Court of Appeal
80 Thomas Cromwell
(b. 1952)
Nova Scotia December 22, 2008 – present
2,197[9]
Harper Queen's University Faculty of Law
University of Oxford
Nova Scotia Court of Appeal
81 Michael J. Moldaver
(b. 1948)
Ontario October 21, 2011 – present
1,164[9]
Harper University of Toronto Court of Appeal for Ontario
82 Andromache Karakatsanis
(b. 1955)
Ontario October 21, 2011 – present
1,164[9]
Harper Osgoode Hall Law School Court of Appeal for Ontario
83 Richard Wagner
(b. 1957)
Quebec October 5, 2012 – present
814[9]
Harper University of Ottawa Faculty of Law Quebec Court of Appeal
84 Clément Gascon
(b. 1960)
Quebec June 9, 2014 – present
202[9]
Harper McGill University Faculty of Law Quebec Court of Appeal
85 Suzanne Côté
(b. )
Quebec December 1, 2014 – present
27[9]
Harper Laval University Lawyer

List of current justices by mandatory retirement date[edit]

When the Supreme Court was created, the justices of the Court had life tenure, meaning they could sit on the Court until they either retired or died. In 1927, a mandatory retirement age of 75 was introduced.[10] The retirement age applied to any judge who was already over age 75, which meant that Justice Idington, aged 86, was forced to retire on the day the amendment came into force, March 31, 1927.

The mandatory retirement age is still set at 75 by the Supreme Court Act.[7] Justices can retire from the Court prior to the mandatory retirement date.

In this list, "Seniority" is based on the date of appointment to the Court.

Seniority Justice Birth date Current Age Mandatory Retirement Date
1
Beverley McLachlin September 7, 1943
71
September 7, 2018
2
Rosalie Abella July 1, 1946
68
July 1, 2021
3
Marshall Rothstein December 25, 1940
74
December 25, 2015
4
Thomas Cromwell May 5, 1952
62
May 5, 2027
5
Michael Moldaver December 23, 1947
67
December 23, 2022
6
Andromache Karakatsanis October 3, 1955
59
October 3, 2030
7
Richard Wagner April 2, 1957
57
April 2, 2032
8
Clément Gascon September 5, 1960
54
September 5, 2035
9
Suzanne Côté
--
--
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See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Supreme and Exchequer Court Act, S.C. 1875, c. 11.
  2. ^ An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act, S.C. 1927, c. 38, s. 1
  3. ^ An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act, S.C. 1949, c. 37, s.1
  4. ^ Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S‑26, s. 6.
  5. ^ Reference re Supreme Court Act, ss. 5 and 6, 2014 SCC 21.
  6. ^ Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26, s. 5.
  7. ^ a b Supreme Court Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. S-26, s. 9.
  8. ^ Peter McCormick (2000). Supreme at Last: The Evolution of the Supreme Court of Canada. James Lorimer & Company. p. 154. ISBN 1550286927. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Current to most recent page update.
  10. ^ An Act to amend the Supreme Court Act, S.C. 1927, c. 38, s. 2.

Bibliography[edit]

  • James G. Snell; Frederick Vaughan (1985). The Supreme Court of Canada: History of the Institution. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802034179. 
  • Peter McCormick (2000). Supreme at Last: The Evolution of the Supreme Court of Canada. James Lorimer & Company. ISBN 1550286927. 
  • Donald R. Songer (2008). The Transformation of the Supreme Court of Canada: An Empirical Examination. University of Toronto Press. ISBN 0802096891. 

Further reading[edit]