Judicial vacancies
Canada's Supreme Court Chief Justice Richard Wagner speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Ontario, June 20, 2019. (REUTERS/Chris Wattie)

Ottawa is failing to appoint judges to federal courts, creating severe delays in trial times and a corrosion of public trust in the justice system, legal experts say.

“There are candidates available in every province, so there’s no reason why those [vacancies] cannot be filled,” Richard Wagner, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, told reporters in a press conference last month. Wagner told reporters he had written a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this year urging him to appoint more judges, but he hasn’t seen any progress on the matter.

As of July 1st, there were 81 vacancies in Canada’s federal courts, according to the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada. For context, there are currently 914 judges sitting full-time in the federal courts.

Legal professionals across the country have long expressed alarm over a problem they call inexplicable.

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Fin DePencier is a journalist, photographer and filmmaker based in Toronto. Over the past few years, he has reported on the ground from Ukraine, Armenia, Lebanon and Kazakhstan as a correspondent for Palladium...