FACL BC Statement on Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin’s Confirmation as SCC Justice
August 28, 2022
The Federation of Asian-Canadian Lawyers (British Columbia) Society (“FACL BC”) congratulates the Honourable Justice Michelle O’Bonsawin on her confirmation as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada on Friday, August 26, 2022. This is a historic appointment. Justice O’Bonsawin, an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation, is the first Indigenous person to be appointed as a justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in its 147-year history.
Throughout her distinguished career, Justice O’Bonsawin has demonstrated a special interest in mental health law and Indigenous issues. These topics ultimately formed the specialization of her PhD at the University of Ottawa, which she completed while sitting as a justice of the Superior Court of Justice.
FACL BC is heartened to see an Indigenous woman appointed to this influential position. The Supreme Court is the highest court in Canada. In deciding cases of national importance, the Court makes decisions that affect the lives of many Canadians. Diversity in judicial appointments — especially to our highest court — allows courts to reflect the diversity of those who live here and gives a voice to those who often go unheard. In the context of Canada’s colonial legal system, which has long allowed injustices to be imposed against Indigenous peoples and lands, Justice O’Bonsawin’s confirmation is an important step toward reconciliation.