Terms of Reference of the Advisory Board

Mandate of the Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments and Terms and Conditions of Appointment of Members


1 The Independent Advisory Board for Supreme Court of Canada Judicial Appointments ("Advisory Board") is an independent and non-partisan body whose mandate is to provide non-binding, merit-based recommendations to the Prime Minister on judicial appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada.

Composition of the Advisory Board

2 (1) Advisory Board members are appointed during pleasure under paragraph 127.1(1)(c) of the Public Service Employment Act as special advisers to the Prime Minister.

(2) The Advisory Board is to consist of

(a) three members, at least two of whom are not advocates or barristers in a province or territory, nominated by the Minister of Justice;

(b) a practising member in good standing of the bar of a province or territory, nominated by the Canadian Bar Association;

(c) a practising member in good standing of the bar of a province or territory, nominated by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada;

(d) a practising member in good standing of the bar of a province or territory, nominated by the Indigenous Bar Association;

(e) a retired superior court judge, nominated by the Canadian Judicial Council; and

(f) a legal scholar, nominated by the Council of Canadian Law Deans.

(3) The Governor in Council is to designate one of the members to be the Chairperson of the Advisory Board.

Length of Terms

3 (1) Advisory Board members are to be appointed for terms of up to five years, which terms may be renewed for one or more further terms.

(2) The Advisory Board is to be convened at the discretion and at the request of the Prime Minister.


4 The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs is to provide support to the Advisory Board and will be responsible for administering the application process.

5 The Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, or his or her delegate, is to act as an ex officio secretary to the Advisory Board.


6 (1) In accordance with this mandate, the Advisory Board must submit to the Prime Minister for his or her consideration, within the time period specified by the Prime Minister on the convening of the Advisory Board, the names of at least three, but up to five, qualified and functionally bilingual candidates for each judicial vacancy for which the Advisory Board is convened.

(2) The Advisory Board must provide an assessment of how each of those candidates meets the requirements of the Supreme Court Act and the extent to which they meet the criteria established by the Prime Minister, and any additional reasons in support of their candidacy.

7 The Prime Minister may request that the Advisory Board provide names of additional qualified candidates who are functionally bilingual.

Recommendation Process

8 Advisory Board members must

(a) at all times, observe the highest standards of impartiality, integrity and objectivity in their consideration of all candidates;

(b) review applications received from candidates and actively seek out qualified candidates;

(c) meet as required to assess candidates and engage in deliberations;

(d) be guided by the criteria established by the Prime Minister;

(e) consult with the Chief Justice of Canada and any key stakeholders that the members consider appropriate;

(f) in establishing a list of qualified candidates, seek to support the Government of Canada’s intent to achieve a gender-balanced Supreme Court of Canada that also reflects the diversity of members of Canadian society, including Indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of linguistic, ethnic and other minority communities including those whose members’ gender identity or sexual orientation differs from that of the majority; and

(g) comply with the Conflict of Interest Act and the Ethical and Political Activity Guidelines for Public Office Holders.

9 (1) Advisory Board members must declare to the other members any direct or indirect personal interest or professional or business relationship in relation to any candidate, including any gift or other advantage received by the members from the candidate.

(2) If such a declaration is made, the Advisory Board must decide, having regard to the nature of the interest or relationship, whether the member must withdraw from any deliberations about the candidate.

(3) If the Advisory Board decides that the member must withdraw from any deliberations about a candidate, those deliberations are undertaken by the remaining Advisory Board members, provided the number of remaining members is not less than four.

10 Advisory Board members may travel for the purpose of carrying out their mandate.


11 (1) Advisory Board members must sign a confidentiality agreement as a precondition of their appointment.

(2) Personal information provided to, and deliberations of, the Advisory Board are confidential and must be treated in a manner consistent with the provisions of the Privacy Act.

(3) Advisory Board members must keep confidential any information brought before them in the performance of their functions.


12 (1) Within one month after a judge is appointed, the Advisory Board must submit a report, in both official languages, to the Prime Minister that contains information on the carrying out of the mandate, the costs relating to the Advisory Board’s activities and the statistics relating to the applications received.

(2) The report may also contain recommendations for improvements to the process.

(3) The report must be made public.


13 A member of the Advisory Board is not eligible to be considered for a federal judicial appointment for a period of one year after the day on which they cease to be a member of the Advisory Board.