Federal Commissioner of Official Languages Proposes Ontario Model to Increase Bilingual Judges
Official Languages Commissioner Graham Fraser found that there was a lack of bilingual federally-appointed judges in many parts of Canada and that this state of affairs was hampering access to justice for language minorities.
An article today in the Law Times (Feds should follow Ontario in seeking bilingual judges: report) reports that Fraser spoke on the issue last week at the annual conference of the Canadian Bar Association. Fraser suggested that the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada that looks at the qualifications of potential federal judges should look at the practices adopted in Ontario for the selection of provincial judges:
"In contrast, bilingual judges must fill certain posts at the Ontario Court of Justice. Ontario, along with New Brunswick, Quebec, and Manitoba, also interviews candidates to evaluate, among other things, their language skills."
"Candidates applying to be justices of the peace are assessed on their oral and written French skills in line with provincial language standards."
"The commissioner highlighted these practices as ones that could apply to federally appointed judges."