In a recent announcement, the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, unveiled the appointment of Marie Cossette as a Judge of the Superior Court of Quebec for the district of Quebec.
Marie Cossette, a distinguished Senior Partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP in Quebec, will be assuming the role. She will be taking over from Justice S. Ouellet (Quebec), who opted to become a supernumerary judge effective February 22, 2023.
Expressing his confidence in Justice Cossette’s capabilities, Minister Lametti stated, “I wish Justice Cossette every success as she takes on her new role. I am confident she will serve the people of Quebec well as a member of the Superior Court.”
Marie Cossette, fluent in both English and French, was called to the Barreau du Québec in 1991 and has since gained extensive experience in major litigation cases. Her focus areas encompass public law, construction law, professional liability, and general civil law. Additionally, she has developed significant expertise in public inquiries, coroner’s inquests, and judicial inquiries, including the Chamberland Commission, Charbonneau Commission, Gomery Commission, Johnson Commission, Poitras Commission, and the Canadian Judicial Council inquiry into the Honourable Justice Michel Girouard of the Superior Court. She has also been involved in matters concerning ethical and professional conduct, integrity, and governance, and has been a sought-after speaker and media analyst in these fields.
Justice Cossette’s professional achievements have been widely recognized. She has been honored with the title of Advocatus Emeritus by the Barreau du Québec. Furthermore, she has been acknowledged as a leader by LEXPERT, a renowned Canadian legal directory, and has been recommended in various legal directories such as Legal 500 Canada, Canada’s leading litigation lawyers, and Canadian lawyers in infrastructure – Special Editions. Her expertise in administrative and public law has been recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada. Moreover, Justice Cossette has actively contributed to the advancement of women, serving as Chair of the Board of Directors of the Fondation du Musée national des beaux-arts du Québec.
The appointment of Justice Cossette reflects the Government of Canada’s commitment to fostering a diverse judiciary. Since November 2015, over 625 judges have been appointed, with more than half being women. The appointments also strive to increase representation from visible minorities, Indigenous communities, 2SLGBTQI+ individuals, and those with disabilities.
To address the needs of the courts and enhance access to justice, the Government of Canada is working on expanding the capacity of superior courts. Budget 2022 includes provisions for 22 new judicial positions, along with two associate judges at the Tax Court of Canada. This follows the creation of 13 positions under Budget 2021, resulting in a total of 37 newly established superior court positions. Since Budget 2017, the government has funded 116 new judicial positions.
In September 2022, the Questionnaire for Federal Judicial Appointments underwent revisions, incorporating more respectful and inclusive language for candidates to self-identify their diversity characteristics. The questionnaire ensures a thorough and comprehensive assessment of candidates while streamlining the process.
Federal judicial appointments are made by the Governor General based on the advice of the federal Cabinet and recommendations from the Minister of Justice. The Judicial Advisory Committees, represented by each province and territory, play a crucial role in evaluating