Employment lawyer appointed judge at Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Ottawa

The Ottawa sign in Canada's capital city. Photo: Jacob Meissner

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.

Karen Jensen, Federal Pay Equity Commissioner at the Canadian Human Rights Commission in Ottawa, is appointed a Judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Ottawa. Justice Jensen fills one of the three remaining positions authorized further to the Budget Implementation Act, 2021, No. 1.


“I wish Justice Jensen every success as she takes on her new role. I am confident she will serve Ontarians well as a member of the Superior Court.”

—The Hon. David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Justice Karen Jensen holds a B.A. from the University of Winnipeg (1982), an M.Ed. in Psychology from the University of Toronto (1988), and an LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario (1992, gold medal).

After clerking at the Supreme Court of Canada, Justice Jensen, who is bilingual, practised in the areas of civil litigation, human rights, and labour and employment law in both the private and public sectors. She was a full-time member of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal from 2005 to 2009, where she adjudicated and mediated human rights disputes in both official languages. She was a partner with Norton Rose Fulbright LLP for many years, holding the positions of National and Local Chair of the Employment and Labour Group. In 2019, she was appointed Canada’s first federal Pay Equity Commissioner, where she led a team dedicated to addressing the gender wage gap in the federal sector.

Prior to going into law, Justice Jensen had a career in social work, assisting marginalized populations and women in conflict with the law in both Winnipeg and Toronto. Throughout her career, she has devoted much of her time to mentoring young lawyers, teaching and giving presentations at universities, professional associations and conferences. 

Justice Jensen has four wonderful children, and a supportive spouse with whom she has shared the parenting role.

Quick Facts

  • At the Superior Court level, more than 575 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, 2SLGBTQI+, and those who self-identify as having a disability.
  • To support the needs of the courts and improve access to justice for all Canadians, the Government of Canada is committed to increasing the capacity of superior courts. Budget 2022 provides for 22 new judicial positions, along with two prothonotaries at the Tax Court of Canada. Along with the 13 positions created under Budget 2021, this makes a total of 37 newly created superior court positions. Since Budget 2017, the government has funded 116 new judicial positions.
  • Changes to the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments were announced in September 2022. The questionnaire continues to provide for a robust and thorough assessment of candidates but has been streamlined and updated to incorporate, among other things, more respectful and inclusive language for individuals to self-identify diversity characteristics.
  • 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 that 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.

SOURCE Department of Justice Canada

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