Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada


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Member Appointments

The Tribunal shall consist of no more than six full-time members; or any number of part-time members, or combination of full-time and part-time members, so long as the combined time devoted to their functions and duties does not exceed the combined time that would be devoted by six full-time members. The Governor in Council shall establish a roster of six to eighteen superior court judges to act as members of the Tribunal. The Chairperson and other members may be appointed from the roster by the Governor in Council. Each member shall be appointed for a term not exceeding five years and holds office so long as he or she remains a superior court judge. Each member, on the expiry of the first term of office, is eligible to be reappointed for one further term.

A judge who has ceased to be a member for any reason other than removal may, with the authorization of the Chairperson, complete any outstanding functions or duties within a period of 120 days after ceasing to be a member.

Current Members

The Honourable Victoria R. Chiappetta, Chairperson

Justice Chiappetta was born in Sault Ste. Marie. She earned a Bachelor of Laws from Osgoode Law School in 1993 and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1995. She was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in Toronto in November 2012.

Prior to her appointment, Justice Chiappetta served as Vice President, Legal and General Counsel, for Essar Steel Algoma (now Algoma Steel). She remains the only woman to hold a position on the steel company’s executive. From 1995 to 2007, Justice Chiappetta served a number of legal firms across Ontario. Her main areas of practice were corporate law, civil litigation, environmental law, labour law, and human rights.

As a member of the Superior Court, Justice Chiappetta has a breadth of experience adjudicating in civil, family, and commercial courts. Her most recent position was overseeing commercial list matters. Justice Chiappetta has been a Deputy Judge of the Nunavut Court of Justice since December 2017, where she has assisted the territory and its history of judicial excellence.

Justice Chiappetta has been a member of numerous professional organizations, including the Canadian Italian Advocates Organization and the Legal Advisory Committee of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police. She frequently lectures on legal matters at the University of Toronto and has been a contributing writer for Influential Women of Northern Ontario and Canada Law Book.

On June 22, 2019, Justice Chiappetta was appointed as a full-time member of the Specific Claims Tribunal for a term of five years. On December 11, 2020, she was appointed Chairperson for a term of five years.

The Honourable William G. E. Grist

Justice William Grist studied at the University of British Columbia and completed a Bachelors of Commerce in 1973 and LLB in 1974. He was called to the Bar of British Columbia in June of 1975 and articled at Griffith Mclelland & Company. From 1976-78, Justice Grist was employed at the British Columbia Legal Aid Society. Justice Grist was a partner at the law firm Rempel Kaye & Company in Chilliwack, British Columbia from 1980-89.

Justice Grist was appointed a British Columbia Supreme Court Master in January of 1990 and was later appointed to the British Columbia Supreme Court in June 1996.

Currently, Justice Grist is a Supernumerary Judge at the British Columbia Supreme Court in Chilliwack, British Columbia. He was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal for a term of two years on May 18, 2016. He was re-appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal, as a part-time member, for a term beginning on May 18, 2018 and ending on September 5, 2022.

The Honourable Paul Mayer

Paul Mayer was named a judge of the superior court in June 2008.

He graduated with a B.A. (honours) in history from Trent University in 1979, a B.C.L. and LL.B. from McGill University in 1983 and a doctorate in international and community law from the faculty of law and political science of Aix-Marseilles in 1985.

Admitted to the Quebec Bar in 1986, he practiced law with Lafleur, Brown, de Grandpré from 1986 to 1987, and with Fasken Martineau from 1988 to 2008. He became a partner in 1997. He specialized in real estate law.

He taught a course on commercial leases at the faculties of law of University of Montreal (1993) and McGill University (1995-1999).

He was recognized as a first-rank practitioner of commercial lease law with the mention “repeatedly recommended” by the Canadian legal directory, l’Expert.

He was also active in the area of real estate brokerage, having acted as the secretary of the Quebec Real Estate Brokers and Agents Association (OACIQ) from 1991 to 1994. He was also the chairman of the Board of the real estate brokerage indemnity fund from 2005 to 2008.

In November 2006, he was appointed the Senior Ministerial Representative of the Federal Minister of Indian Affairs and Northern Development with respect to the issue of Nunavut devolution. The Mayer Report on this topic was published in June 2007. He continued to act in this matter until his appointment to the bench.

In May 2016, Justice Mayer was appointed to a two-year term as a part time member of the Specific Claims Tribunal. He was re-appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal, as a part-time member, for a five year term beginning on May 18, 2018 and ending on May 18, 2023.

The Honourable Todd Ducharme

Justice Todd Ducharme has a B.A. from McGill University, an M.A. from Yale University, an LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and an LL.M. from Yale Law School.

Mr. Justice Ducharme was appointed to the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario in May 2004 and sits in Toronto. He has since been appointed a Deputy Judge of the Supreme Court of the Northwest Territories, the Supreme Court of Yukon, and the Nunavut Court of Justice. With the Superior Court of Justice, he has worked primarily on the Criminal Law and Divisional Court teams. Prior to his appointment as a judge, he was a criminal lawyer doing primarily defence work. He also worked as a standing agent for the Attorney General of Canada, conducting prosecutions under various federal statutes, and was as well the first Clinic Director of Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto.

A proud Métis, Justice Ducharme was active in Toronto’s Indigenous community and was a member of the Boards of Native Child and Family Services and Anishnawbe Health Toronto. He served as a bencher of the Law Society of Upper Canada for six years and was active in numerous other professional organizations.

On April 13, 2021, Justice Ducharme was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal as a part-time member for a term of five years.

Former Members

The Honourable Johanne Mainville

Justice Johanne Mainville studied at the University of Montreal in history of art (B.A., 1979) and in law (L.L.B., 1983). She was called to the Bar of Québec in 1984. She practiced as a lawyer in various law firms, and at the time of her appointment to the bench, she was a partner at Gowling, Lafleur, Henderson LLP.

She was appointed Judge of the Superior Court of Québec on November 22, 2006.

Justice Mainville has an extensive background in aboriginal, constitutional and administrative law. Throughout her career as a lawyer, she was involved in numerous matters involving aboriginal and treaty rights. These included negotiations concerning the administration of justice in aboriginal communities, the creation of a new forestry regime in Northern Québec and the implementation of treaties. She also led important litigation involving aboriginal peoples and concerning the implementation of land claims agreements, environmental and social impact processes and constitutional issues.

Justice Mainville was first appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on November 27, 2009. Her appointment with the Tribunal expired on December 19, 2016.

The Honourable Patrick Smith

Justice Patrick Smith, a Superior Court of Ontario Judge, was first appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on November 27, 2009, for a one-year term. He was re‑appointed on November 27, 2010 for a two-year term.

Justice Smith was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario (Thunder Bay, Ontario) in October 2001. He has extensive experience in criminal and complex civil litigation with a special interest in alternate dispute resolution and mediation. He has been extensively involved for several years in the education of lawyers and judges, is a member of the Superior Court of Ontario Judicial Education Committee, a faculty member of the National Judicial Institute and past instructor at the Ontario Bar Admission Programme.

The Honorable Jocelyn Geoffroy

Justice Jocelyn Geoffroy has a master’s degree in business administration, a Bachelor of Laws as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa. Called to the Bar in 1984, he first acted as Senior General Counsel at the Fédération des caisses populaires Desjardins in Abitibi. He practised as a lawyer from 1987 to 2008 with the firm of Geoffroy Matte et Associés, with offices in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, in the Outaouais region and in North Bay in northern Ontario.

In nearly 25 years of practice, Justice Geoffroy specialized in civil law, property law, corporate law, commercial law, insurance law and aboriginal law litigation. He was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec on February 20, 2008.

His involvement in the Amos region has included service as Bâtonnier in 2001-2002, President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1994-1995 and President of the Community Residential Centre. He was also an administrator of various health care institutions and development organizations.

Originally from Parent, Justice Geoffroy regularly presides in courts in the districts of Abitibi, Rouyn-Noranda and Témiscamingue.

The Honourable Jocelyn Geoffroy was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on December20, 2011, for a one-year term.

The Honourable Barry G.A. MacDougall

Justice Barry MacDougall was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Peterborough on March 21, 1995. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Toronto (1964) and completed his Bachelor of Laws degree at the University of Toronto in 1967. Justice MacDougall articled with a law firm in Toronto and in 1969 was admitted to the Ontario Bar with Honours.

Justice MacDougall was born and raised in Timmins and on being called to the Bar, he practised law in Peterborough. Throughout his extensive career, Justice MacDougall has taught evening law courses for the Peterborough Public Board of Education and developed and hosted a weekly television program, “The Law – Issues and Answers”, presenting programs on Real Estate, Wills, Landlord and Tenant rights, Family Law, Criminal Law, etc.

He served on many volunteer Boards including serving as Campaign Chairmen and President of the United Way, a founding director of a Non-Profit Housing project for women in Peterborough and as Vice President of the Greater Peterborough Economic Council. He was appointed to the Mental Health Review Board where he served a 5 year term. He also has served two terms as Director of the Ontario Superior Court Judges Association and was on the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association’s council for 3 terms. From 2010-2011 Justice MacDougall was approved for a Judicial Study Leave at the University of British Columbia Law School where, among other things, he conducted reviews of published works on cross-cultural mediation.

Justice MacDougall was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on May 18, 2016. His appointment ends July 31, 2017.

The Honourable W. Larry Whalen

Justice W. Larry Whalen was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in Sault Ste. Marie on May 6, 1992. As a member of a generalist court, he circuits in the vast territorial Northeast Region of Ontario (comprising Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Gore Bay, Parry Sound, North Bay, Haileybury, Timmins and Cochrane). He has wide experience in all areas of civil and criminal law. He serves regularly on the Ontario Divisional Court and has served as an “ad hoc” member of the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Justice Whalen was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie. He graduated with a B.A. (Hon.) in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto, and an M.A. in Canadian Studies (focusing on Canadian constitutional issues) from Carleton University. He completed his LLB in 1973 at the University of Toronto Law School, articled with a large law firm in Toronto and was called to the Ontario bar in 1974. As a practitioner, Justice Whalen specialized in litigation, including civil litigation and family law. For the last 8 years of his legal career he was also a special federal prosecutor.

Justice Whalen served for eight years (until 2008) as a director of the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association, where he acted as chair of the Members’ Advisory Committee and founding chair of the Technology Committee. He is a founding and current director of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology, where he serves as chair of the Governance Committee. In 2010 he was also co-chair of the Centre’s 2010 “Forum on Technology” Conference and at the Centre’s recent “Forum 2012” he moderated a panel on eTrials. He is currently a member of the Chief Justice’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and of the Ontario Joint Courts IT Committee.

In December 2016, Justice Whalen was reappointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal, as a part-time member, for a term ending April 1, 2019.

The Honourable Harry Slade

Justice Slade was admitted to the Bar of British Columbia in 1974. His primary area of practice as a lawyer was Aboriginal Law. He has extensive experience in Specific Claims negotiation, including the British Columbia cut-off land claims. He was active in the litigation of Aboriginal law issues, including representation of national and provincial First Nations organizations on interventions before the Supreme Court of Canada in seminal cases concerned with S. 35, Constitution Act, 1982. His work included intergovernmental relations among First Nations, Canada and Provinces, including Treaty processes, self-government initiatives, and commercial development of reserve lands. As a lawyer, Justice Slade also worked with First Nations on ventures in forestry, fishing, and energy resource development. He practiced law at Ratcliff & Company, a North Vancouver, British Columbia, law firm with an extensive aboriginal and environmental law practice.

Justice Slade was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1998 and became a Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court in March 2001.

The Governor in Council initially appointed Justice Slade to the Specific Claims Tribunal as a Tribunal Member on November 26, 2009. He was appointed Chairperson on December 11, 2010. When Justice Slade volunteered, the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court nominated him for reappointments. He has since been re-appointed Chairperson for two consecutive five-year terms, the most recent of which commenced on December 11, 2015 and ended on December 11, 2020.