Canada: Trudeau appoints Michelle O'Bonsawin, first Indigenous justice on Supreme Court

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OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed Ontario judge Michelle O'Bonsawin to the Supreme Court of Canada, making her the first Indigenous person to sit on the country's highest bench. 

  Trudeau appoints Michelle O'Bonsawin, first Indigenous justice on Supreme Court © Provided by The Canadian Press

O'Bonsawin comes to the court after spending five years as a judge at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa.

She has also taught law at the University of Ottawa and served as the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group's general counsel for eight years.

O'Bonsawin identifies as a bilingual Franco-Ontarian and an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation, according to a biography released by the Prime Minister's Office. 

The requirement for English-French bilingualism has been cited as a factor that previously complicated efforts to find Indigenous candidates for the court. 

O'Bonsawin's appointment will fill the vacancy left by Justice Michael Moldaver, who is set to retire Sept. 1. 

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Aug. 19, 2022. 

The Canadian Press

Chief justice welcomes Michelle O'Bonsawin to Supreme Court of Canada .
Canada's chief justice is welcoming the appointment of the first Indigenous member of the Supreme Court of Canada. In a statement today, Richard Wagner says Michelle O'Bonsawin has proven herself to be principled, authentic and hard-working throughout her career as a lawyer and judge. In a statement today, Richard Wagner says Michelle O'Bonsawin has proven herself to be principled, authentic and hard-working throughout her career as a lawyer and judge.

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