timeline

The Law

This timeline includes moments related to law, crime and legal reform in Canada.

Supreme Court of Canada

May 23, 1701

The Law 

Captain Kidd Hanged

William "Captain" Kidd, the famous Scottish pirate, was hanged for piracy. His treasure is reputed to be buried on Oak Island, NS.

June 21, 1734

Incendiary, Marie-Joseph Angelique

The Law 

Angélique Tortured and Hanged

Marie-Joseph Angélique allegedly set fire to her master's Montréal house and destroyed nearly 50 homes. She was tortured and hanged as an object lesson for all Blacks.

April 18, 1763

The Law 

Corriveau Hanged

Marie-Josephte Corriveau was hanged for the murder of her husband. She was initially convicted of being an accessory to her father, Joseph Corriveau, killing her husband, but when Joseph recanted his confession, Marie-Josephte was retried and admitted her crime during the second trial. Her execution gave rise to many myths and legends.

September 17, 1764

The Law 

Civil Courts in Québec

Québec establishes a system of civil courts, ending the military rule that had been implemented since the Seven Years' War.

June 22, 1774

Legislation 

Quebec Act Passed

The Quebec Act was passed (effective 1 May 1775); it established French civil law, British criminal law, freedom of worship for Roman Catholics and government by appointed council. It extended the boundaries of the province to the Ohio Valley.

June 02, 1779

The Law 

Newspapermen Arrested

Newspapermen Fleury Mesplet and Valentin Jautard were arrested by order of the governor after criticizing a judge''s rulings in their paper Gazette Littéraire.

April 21, 1785

The Law 

Trial by Jury

Trial by jury was first established in Canada.

July 09, 1793

Simcoe, John Graves

Legislation 

Slavery Act Passed

Governor John Graves Simcoe introduced the Act to Limit Slavery in Upper Canada, "an Act to prevent the further introduction of slaves, and to limit the term of contract for servitude within this province." It was the first step toward abolishing slavery in Upper Canada, and following its passage the country became a refuge for American slaves.

November 23, 1809

The Law 

Pirate Executed

Edward Jordan was found guilty of murder and piracy and was hanged. His tarred and chained corpse was gibbeted at the entrance to Halifax harbour.

June 20, 1822

The Law 

Law Society Founded

The Law Society of Upper Canada was incorporated.

June 05, 1832

Hart & Papineau

The Law 

Jews Receive Rights

A law giving Jews legal rights was passed in the Lower Canada Assembly. By 1768, the number of Jews in Montréal had grown, and the community established Canada's first synagogue, Shearith Israel. Jews had also settled in Québec City and other parts of Lower Canada. Ezekiel Hart had been elected to the legislature of Lower Canada in 1807 but was denied his seat on the basis of his religion.

April 12, 1838

The Law 

Lount and Matthews Hanged

Samuel Lount and Peter Matthews were hanged for treason, at Toronto, for their roles in the Rebellion of 1837.

May 22, 1838

The Law 

Last Fatal Duel

In Verdun, Qué, lawyer Robert Sweeny shot and killed Maj Henry Warde, who had sent a love letter to Mrs Sweeny, in the last fatal duel recorded in Canada.

May 28, 1838

The Law 

Outlaw Seizes Steamer

Outlaw William Johnston seized and burned the steamer Sir Robert Peel in the Thousand Islands, carrying off $175 000 in cash and plunder.

January 18, 1839

Battle of Saint-Eustache

The Law 

Rebels Hanged

Rebels were hanged at Montréal for their part in the Rebellions of 1837.

May 17, 1849

The Law 

Sayer Trial

Pierre Guillaume Sayer and 3 other Métis in the Red River Colony were brought to trial on charges of violating the Hudson's Bay Company's charter by illegally trafficking in furs.

September 18, 1850

Legislation 

The Fugitive Slave Act

The Fugitive Slave Act passed by the American Congress on 18 September 1850 dealt a severe blow to the American abolitionist cause. It gave slave-owners and their agents the right to track down and arrest fugitives anywhere in the country. Bounty hunters often kidnapped free Blacks and illegally sold them into slavery in the Southern states.

July 01, 1858

One-cent Coin

The Law 

First Coins Minted

A law required that the accounts of the Province of Canada be kept in dollars; the first Canadian coins were minted: silver 5-cent, 10-cent and 20-cent pieces and bronze pennies.

June 08, 1859

The Law 

Supreme Court of British Columbia Established

The Supreme Court of British Columbia was established.

December 02, 1859

The Law 

John Brown is Hanged

The Harpers Ferry raid left a deep impression on Canadians. In the days and weeks that followed, many newspapers took note of John Brown's efforts, and some even proclaimed him a "hero." Funeral bells tolled in Toronto after Brown's 2 December 1859 execution and many churches held memorial services.

February 11, 1869

Patrick James Whelan, c. 1840–68

The Law 

Whelan Hanged

Patrick James Whelan was hanged in Ottawa for murdering Thomas D'Arcy McGee. He was hanged in front of 5000 spectators in Ottawa, one of the last public executions in Canada.

May 23, 1873

North-West Mounted Police

The Law 

North-West Mounted Police

An Act of Parliament authorized the creation of the North-West Mounted Police; the prefix Royal was added 1904.

April 08, 1875

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Supreme Court Organized

An Act of the Canadian Parliament created the Supreme Court of Canada. The court sat for the first time on January 17, 1876.

January 17, 1876

Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada 

Supreme Court of Canada Sits for the First Time

Following its creation by the Supreme and Exchequer Court Act the year before, the Supreme Court of Canada sat for the first time. It would not hear its first case, however, until April 1876.

February 04, 1880

The Law 

Donnelly Massacre

Five members of the Donnelly family were massacred near Lucan, Ont.

November 16, 1885

Louis Riel Trial

The Law 

Louis Riel Hanged

Louis Riel was hanged for treason at the Regina jail. He had been convicted after a trial held in Regina from 28 July to 1 August. Macdonald's refusal to grant leniency made Riel a symbol of English-Canadian oppression.

March 06, 1889

Zola, Émile

The Law 

Zola Censored

A Toronto customs officer destroyed the novels of Émile Zola for being obscene.

March 25, 1893

The Law 

Driving a Lady on Sunday

A Toronto magistrate fined a cab driver $2 or 10 days in jail for "driving a lady on a Sunday."

February 02, 1897

Martin, Clara Brett

The Law 

First Woman Lawyer

The Law Society of Upper Canada changed its regulations, allowing Clara Brett Martin to become the first woman admitted to the profession of law in the British Empire.

May 06, 1898

The Law 

Yukon Field Force

The Yukon Field Force, consisting of 203 volunteers, left Vancouver for Dawson to maintain order during the Klondike Gold Rush.

April 25, 1903

The Law 

Jewish Education Rights (Québec)

The Québec legislature adopted legislation requiring Jews to pay their taxes to the Protestant schools panel and granting them education rights equal to those of Protestants. In 1928, the Privy Council ruled that the 1903 Act was ultra vires (beyond legal authority).

May 08, 1906

William (Bill) Miner, outlaw

The Law 

Train Robber Captured

Bill Miner stuck up a CPR train near Kamloops, but the robbery was bungled. Miner and 2 accomplices were captured by the Royal North-West Mounted Police.

July 11, 1906

Legislation 

Lord's Day Act Passed

The Lord's Day Act, officially making Sunday a day of rest in Canada, was passed into law by the Senate. The Act restricted trade, labour and recreation on Sundays.

July 31, 1910

The Law 

Crippen Caught by Radio

Dr Crippen was arrested aboard the SS Montrose as it was docking at Québec. Charged with the murder of his wife in England, he was the first criminal to be caught by the use of radio.

October 10, 1911

The Law 

BC Courthouse Opens

The BC provincial courthouse opened in Vancouver on Georgia Street in an impressive building designed by Francis Rattenbury.

November 05, 1914

The Law 

Cattle Grazing Granville Street

The Vancouver police were notified that a large number of cattle were at large on Granville Street. The police rounded up and impounded 97 head of cattle, which were later redeemed by the Swift Canadian Co. for a fee of $97.

July 27, 1918

The Law 

Albert Goodwin Shot

Labour organizer and draft resister Albert "Ginger" Goodwin was shot by police outside Cumberland, BC. On August 2, the day of his funeral, union members in Vancouver started a 24-hour strike and fought with returning servicemen.

February 01, 1920

Mountie with Dog

The Law 

Royal Canadian Mounted Police

The Royal North-West Mounted Police became the Royal Canadian Mounted Police after merging with the Dominion Police. RCMP headquarters was moved from Regina to Ottawa.

March 01, 1920

The Law 

Alberta Penitentiary Closes

The federal government ordered the Alberta Penitentiary in Edmonton closed down and the 147 prisoners moved to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan or Stony Mountain, Manitoba.

April 21, 1920

The Law 

Houde Murder Trial

The murder trial of Marie-Anne Houde ended. Houde was accused of murdering her step-daughter, Aurore, who became a martyr in the collective consciousness. Houde's defence was insanity exacerbated by pregnancy. Initially she was sentenced to be hanged but her sentence was changed to life imprisonment due to pressure from the citizenry and militant groups.

January 10, 1924

The Law 

Pérodeau Appointed Lieutenant-Governor

The Honourable Narcisse Pérodeau was appointed Québec''s 14th lieutenant-governor, serving until 10 January 1929.

April 24, 1928

Famous 5

The Law 

Persons Case

In the Persons Case, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously decided women were not "persons" who could hold public office as Canadian senators. In 1929 the British Privy Council reversed the decision.

February 17, 1932

The Law 

Mad Trapper Shot

Albert Johnson, the "Mad Trapper," was shot and killed by the RCMP on the Rat River, northern Yukon Territory.

June 21, 1940

Legislation 

Conscription Act Passed

Parliament passed the National Resources Mobilization Act, providing for the conscription of able-bodied men for home defence. It was amended in 1942 by Bill 80, giving the government power to conscript for overseas service.

August 05, 1940

Camillien Houde

The Law 

Houde Arrested for Sedition

Camillien Houde, the mayor of Montréal, was arrested by the RCMP for sedition in having advised Québec men not to take part in the compulsory National Registration.

April 29, 1941

The Law 

Women Admitted to the Québec Bar

Québec law was changed to admit women to the Bar. They would have to wait until 1956 to become notaries.

August 01, 1944

The Law 

Family Allowance Act

The House of Commons approved the Family Allowance Act, providing monthly baby bonuses to parents of children under 18.

February 23, 1946

The Law 

Yamashita Hanged

Japanese Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita was hanged near Manilla, Phillipines, for war crimes.

May 14, 1946

Legislation 

Canadian Citizenship Act Passed

The Canadian Citizenship Act was passed, to take effect 1 January 1947. The Act replaced British subject status with Canadian citizenship.

November 08, 1946

The Law 

Desmond Faces Segregation

Businesswoman Viola Desmond entered a movie theatre in New Glasgow, NS but was asked to leave when staff informed her that tickets sold to African Canadians were for the balcony and the main floor was reserved solely for White patrons. She was forcibly dragged out by police when she refused to leave and was fined $20 and sentenced to 30 days in prison.

January 01, 1947

Legislation 

Canadian Citizenship Act in Effect

The Canadian Citizenship Act, the first to define its people as Canadian rather than British subjects, came into effect.

January 13, 1949

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Supreme Court Made Final Court

The Supreme Court of Canada was made the final court of appeal in Canada, ending recourse to the British Privy Council.

September 16, 1952

The Law 

Boyd Gang Captured

Police in Toronto recaptured the Boyd Gang. Jailed for armed robbery and murder, the four men had escaped Toronto's Don Jail for the second time eight days earlier.

January 09, 1953

The Law 

Pitre Hanged

Marguerite Pitre, the last woman to be hanged in Canada, was executed at the Bordeaux jail. She was accused of participating in a plot to crash a Québec Airways DC-3 out of l'Ancienne-Lorette (Québec City), which killed 23 people. It was the first plane crash caused by a criminal act in North America.

March 06, 1957

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Padlock Act Nullified

The Supreme Court of Canada nullified the Québec "Padlock Law" of 1937. The Act was a 1937 law in Québec that allowed police to close, or padlock, for one year any building where "communism or bolshevism" was being promoted.

June 11, 1962

The Law 

Sons of Freedom Hearings Begin

Preliminary hearings in the conspiracy case against 72 Doukhobor protestors, known as the "Sons of Freedom," began at New Westminster, BC. The charges, for incidents that took place between 1958 and 1961, were dismissed a few months later.

December 11, 1962

The Law 

Last Hangings in Canada

The last judicial hanging in Canada took place in Toronto's Don Jail, when Ronald Turpin and Arthur Lucas were executed for murder.

June 18, 1964

The Law 

Married Women in Québec Gain Legal Capacity

Under Bill 16, Québec women were able to act independently of their husbands, i.e., make decisions without their husband’s approval. This ability to have legal capacity had a huge impact, particularly on contractual transactions. The bill was championed by Marie-Claire Kirkland-Casgrain, Québec’s first female member of the Legislative Assembly.

August 11, 1965

The Law 

Klan Activity in Amherstburg 

In 1965, racial tension ran high in Amherstburg, ON. A cross-burning set the tone; the Black Baptist Church was defaced and the town sign was spray-painted "Amherstburg Home of the KKK." Five days of racial incidents threatened to escalate but the situation was saved by an investigation by the Ontario Human Rights Commission. No arrests were made.

February 22, 1966

The Law 

LaPointe Appointed Lieutenant-Governor

The Honourable Hugues LaPointe was appointed Québec''s 22nd lieutenant-governor, serving until 27 April 1978.

November 07, 1967

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Mineral Rights Declared Federal

The Supreme Court ruled that offshore mineral rights on the West Coast belonged to the federal and not the BC government.

May 30, 1969

The Law 

Milgaard Arrested

Sixteen-year-old David Milgaard was arrested in Prince George, BC, for the murder of Gail Miller in Saskatchewan. He would be cleared by DNA evidence almost 30 years later, in 1997.

October 10, 1970

The Law 

Pierre Laporte Kidnapped

Québec labour minister Pierre Laporte was kidnapped in the Montréal suburb of St Hubert by FLQ terrorists.

March 13, 1971

The Law 

Rose Sentenced for Murder

Paul Rose was sentenced to life imprisonment for the murder of Pierre Laporte.

May 20, 1971

The Law 

Simard Sentenced

FLQ member Francis Simard was sentenced to life in prison for his role in Pierre Laporte's murder during the October Crisis.

November 30, 1971

The Law 

Rose Sentenced for Kidnapping

Paul Rose was sentenced to life in prison for the role he played in the kidnapping of Pierre Laporte during the October Crisis.

December 02, 1971

The Law 

Gendron Report

The Gendron Report was published, recommending that Québec have French as its official provincial language while maintaining both English and French as its two national languages.

May 01, 1972

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Compulsory Breath Tests

The Supreme Court ruled that compulsory breath tests administered by law enforcement officers constituted a "due process of the law" and therefore did not breach citizens' right to liberty and security of the person.

June 29, 1972

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Supreme Ruling on Breathalyzer

The Supreme Court ruled that motorists could seek legal advice before submitting to a breathalyzer test.

September 04, 1972

MusЋe des beaux-arts de MontrЋal

The Law 

Art Gallery Robbed

The Montreal Museum of Fine Arts was robbed of $2-million worth of paintings and other art objects, including a Rembrandt worth $1 million.

September 27, 1972

The Law 

Sale of Firecrackers Banned

Ottawa banned the sale of firecrackers.

January 31, 1973

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Aboriginal Title Recognized

The Supreme Court acknowledged the existence of Aboriginal title in law.

February 23, 1973

The Law 

Rose Acquitted of Laporte Murder

Jacques Rose was acquitted of the murder of Pierre Laporte during the FLQ crisis. On 9 December 1972, he would also be acquitted of Laporte''s kidnapping but would be convicted of being an accessory after the fact on 17 July 1973.

July 18, 1973

The Law 

Christine Demeter Murdered

Christine Demeter was murdered. Her husband, Peter Demeter, was sentenced to life imprisonment in December 1974 after Canada's longest and most bizarre murder trial.

September 07, 1973

The Law 

NWT Court Allows Land Claim

The Northwest Territories Supreme Court allowed the Indian Brotherhood of the NWT to file a land claim for one-third of the NWT.

November 13, 1973

The Law 

Jury Acquits Morgentaler

A jury acquitted Henry Morgentaler of violating the Criminal Code in performing abortions.

January 07, 1974

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Bora Laskin Sworn In

Bora Laskin was sworn in as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.

June 24, 1974

The Law 

No Extradition for FLQ

Prime Minister Trudeau declared that Canada would not seek the extradition of the FLQ members who had fled to Cuba and then France.

August 01, 1974

Legislation 

Election Expenses Act Passed

The Election Expenses Act came into force. The law provided for income-tax deductions, for disclosure of the source and amount of donations over $100, and limited the amount of money that could be spent in an election campaign.

November 29, 1974

The Law 

Saskatchewan Hijacking

Naim Djemal hijacked an aircraft over Saskatchewan, assaulted a stewardess and ordered the pilot to fly to Cyprus. He was apprehended in Saskatoon.

July 15, 1975

Declaration of Human Rights

The Law 

Human Rights Commission Created

Legislation was introduced to create a Human Rights Commission.

July 23, 1975

Fish, Marine

The Law 

Ottawa Bans Soviet Fleet

Ottawa banned the Soviet Atlantic fishing fleet from Canadian ports for overfishing.

August 01, 1975

The Law 

Helsinki Accords

The Helsinki accords were signed. Canada was one of the signatories, agreeing to respect the human rights and freedoms of its subjects.

November 18, 1975

The Law 

Mandatory Seat Belts

Ontario introduced legislation to make the wearing of seat belts mandatory.

February 04, 1976

The Law 

Ruling on Censorship in NS

The Supreme Court of Nova Scotia ruled that the province did not have the right to censor motion pictures.

June 30, 1976

The Law 

Members Vote vs Death Penalty

MPs voted 148-127 not to reinstate the death penalty.

February 16, 1977

The Law 

White Appointed

Marjorie (Cantryn) White became the first Aboriginal woman in BC to be appointed a citizenship judge.

August 26, 1977

The Law 

Bill 101 Passed

Bill 101, Québec's French-language charter, was passed by the National Assembly.

January 21, 1980

Gouzenko, Igor

The Law 

Canada Expels Spies

Canada expelled 3 Soviet Embassy employees for spying. They had been involved in buying classified information from a US citizen in Ottawa.

February 05, 1981

High-Profile Cases 

Toronto Bathhouse Raid

Toronto police descended on four Toronto bathhouses and rounded up close to 300 men. Such raids were a fixture on the gay scene, as police used a questionable interpretation of the term “bawdy house” to justify their actions.

June 12, 1981

Soldier and Child

The Law 

RCMP Charged in October Crisis

Seventeen present or past members of the RCMP were charged with a total of 44 offences following the Keable Report. The offences were connected to illegal operations conducted after the October Crisis.

September 28, 1981

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Court Rules on Patriation

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the federal proposal to patriate the Constitution unilaterally was strictly legal, but offended the constitutional convention requiring provincial consent.

March 08, 1982

Legislation 

Canada Act Passed

The British House of Commons passed the Canada Act of 1982. It was adopted by the House of Lords on March 25. The Act ended British legislative jurisdiction over Canada. Queen Elizabeth II signed the proclamation in Ottawa on April 17.

June 28, 1982

The Law 

Access to Information Act

The Access to Information Act was passed by the House of Commons. It came into effect in July 1983.

December 10, 1982

The Law 

200-Mile Limit Set

An international Law of the Sea agreement was signed, entrenching a 200-mile international limit.

March 30, 1983

Bertha Wilson

The Law 

Bertha Wilson Sworn In

Bertha Wilson was sworn in as Canada's first female Supreme Court Justice. She was appointed on March 4.

June 09, 1983

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

The Law 

Bill 101 Violates Charter

The Québec Court of Appeal ruled that Bill 101, Québec's language law, violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

September 18, 1984

The Law 

Hunter v Southam Case

In Hunter v Southam the Supreme Court of Canada declared that some sections of the Combines Investigation Act violated a portion of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, following a claim by Southam Inc that their newspaper offices were improperly searched.

December 15, 1984

The Law 

Bill 101 Challenged

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the compulsory exclusive use of French on public commercial signs, as per Bill 101, was contrary to the right of freedom of speech. The Bourassa government reacted by introducing Bill 178, reinstating the use of French-only signs.

January 03, 1985

The Law 

Grange Commission Report on Infant Deaths

Ontario Supreme Court Justice Samuel Grange delivered his report into infant deaths at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children. The inquiry had been called to look into the deaths of some 36 babies, many of them suspicious. Grange determined that nurse Susan Nelles, charged with murdering several babies, had been wrongly accused, but no one else was held criminally responsible. As of 2015, there were still no answers.

February 13, 1985

The Law 

Lortie Found Guilty

Denis Lortie was found guilty of the first degree murder of 3 government employees in a submachine-gun attack on Québec's National Assembly in May 1984.

February 28, 1985

The Law 

Zündel Convicted of Intolerance

Ernst Zündel was convicted of publishing false news causing harm to racial tolerance by publishing his claims that the mass extermination of Jews in Nazi Germany never occurred. The conviction was later overturned on constitutional grounds.

April 04, 1985

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Singh Case

In the Singh Case, the Supreme Court of Canada concluded that a refugee has the right not to "be removed from Canada to a country where his life or his freedom would be threatened."

April 24, 1985

Supreme Court of Canada

Legislation  The Law 

Lord's Day Act Ruled Contrary

The Supreme Court of Canada found that the Lord's Day Act was contrary to the freedom of religion guaranteed in the Charter of Rights.

May 09, 1985

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Cabinet Ruling by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court declared that federal Cabinet decisions are subject to judicial control under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

September 29, 1985

The Law 

Bank Inquiry Announced

The federal government announced an inquiry, headed by Supreme Court Justice Willard Estey, to investigate the failures of the Calgary-based Northland Bank and Edmonton's Canadian Commercial Bank.

June 19, 1986

The Law 

New Competition Act

The new Competition Act and Competition Tribunal Act came into force.

December 30, 1986

The Law 

War Crimes Commission Reports

The Commission of Inquiry into War Criminals reported after examining 3 lists of suspects. In most cases the commission found that the accused was either not in Canada or that there was no evidence that the individual had participated in war crimes.

December 06, 1989

The Law 

École Polytechnique Massacre

Marc Lépine, a 25-year-old with a hatred of women, went on a shooting rampage at École Polytechnique, the Université de Montréal's engineering faculty, killing 14 women and wounding 14 more people before committing suicide. In the wake of the tragedy, issues such as gun control, misogyny and gender-based violence came to the fore of public debate in Canada. Tighter firearms laws were instituted in the years that followed, and the events of 6 December have had a lasting influence on efforts to end gender-based violence.

January 26, 1990

The Law 

Donald Marshall Exonerated

The royal commission investigating the wrongful murder conviction of Donald Marshall Jr reported that the justice system had failed him. He had been imprisoned for 11 years for a murder he did not commit.

March 15, 1990

The Law 

Sikh Mounties Permitted to Wear Turbans

The Solicitor General of Canada, Pierre Cadieux, announced the decision in the Baltej Singh Dhillon case, allowing Sikh RCMP officers to wear a turban while in uniform.

March 08, 1991

The Law 

Gitksan Court Case

In Delgamuukw et al v The Queen, the BC Supreme Court ruled that, according to treaties, the Gitksan do not have Aboriginal title to the land, but they do have the right to use it for subsistence.

January 06, 1992

The Law 

Nancy B.

The Québec Superior Court gave paralysed patient Nancy B. the right to be disconnected from a respirator, which would result in her death.

May 15, 1992

Westray Mine Disaster

The Law 

Westray Inquiry Set

Mr Justice Peter Richard was named to head an inquiry into the Westray mine disaster.

August 27, 1992

The Law 

Zündel Acquitted

Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel was acquitted of charges for violating section 181 the Canadian Criminal Code pertaining to freedom of speech for publishing his treatise "Did Six Million Really Die?" Zündel was eventually deported back to Germany where he subsequently stood trial for and was convicted of holocaust denial in 2007. He was released on 1 Mar 2010.

January 01, 1994

The Law 

Québec Civil Code

The Civil Code of Québec, the legal text defining civil laws in the province, came into effect.

January 23, 1995

The Law 

Morin Conviction Overturned

The Ontario Court of Appeal overturned a conviction of Guy Paul Morin for the 1984 murder of a neighbourhood girl. DNA evidence showed that he could not have been the killer.

February 21, 1995

The Law 

Kingston Women's Prison Report

A federal ombudsman released a report accusing officials of the Prison for Women in Kingston, Ont, of using excessive force in quelling a disturbance in April 1994.

March 20, 1995

The Law 

Tobias Accused of War Crimes

The federal Immigration Department began legal proceedings against Erichs Tobias, a former Latvian accused of war crimes.

May 18, 1995

The Law 

Bernardo Trial Begins

The trial of Paul Bernardo, accused of the murder and torture of 2 girls, began.

May 23, 1995

The Law 

Tan Acquitted

An Edmonton judge acquitted Marilyn Tan of charges that she had injected her former lover Conrad Boland with HIV-infected blood.

May 24, 1995

Gay Pride Vancouver

The Law 

Gay Adoption Law Struck Down

Judge James Nevins of the Ontario Court struck down a provincial law preventing same-sex couples from adopting children.

May 25, 1995

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Court Rules Against Discrimination

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Charter protects the rights of homosexuals against discrimination, though sexual orientation is not specifically mentioned in the Charter.

June 13, 1995

The Law 

New Gun Bill Passed

The House of Commons passed its Gun Bill, with a vote of 192-63, barring handguns and requiring all firearms to be registered.

June 20, 1995

The Law 

Drunkenness Defence Bill

The House of Commons approved a bill to prevent suspects accused of assault from using drunkenness as a defence.

July 20, 1995

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Largest Libel Award

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a $1.6 million libel award to Casey Hill, the largest in Canadian history, in his dispute with the Church of Scientology.

August 02, 1995

The Law 

Sportscaster Shot

Sportscaster Brian Smith was shot and killed in Ottawa by Jeffrey Arenburgh, who cited anger against the media as his motive.

September 01, 1995

The Law 

Bernardo Found Guilty

A jury found Paul Bernardo guilty of the kidnapping, rape and murder of 2 girls in 1991 and 1992.

September 23, 1995

Dionne Quintuplets

The Law 

Dionne Quints Claim Abuse

Three of the famous Dionne quintuplets, Annette, Cécile and Yvonne claimed in a television interview that they had been sexually abused by their father. The claim was repeated in their book, The Dionne Quintuplets: Family Secrets.

April 05, 1996

The Law 

Mass Murder in Vernon

Mark Chahal killed 10 people in Vernon, BC.

May 09, 1996

The Law 

Joudrie Acquitted

Dorothy Joudrie was acquitted of charges of the attempted murder of her estranged husband, Calgary businessman Earl Joudrie. The jury found that she was suffering from a mental disorder.

May 29, 1996

The Law 

RCMP Board Taiwanese Ship

RCMP officers boarded the Taiwan-registered ship Maersk Dubai and arrested the captain on charges of murdering 2 Romanian stowaways.

July 30, 1996

The Law 

Violent Crime Rate Down

StatsCan reported that the violent crime rate in Canada had dropped to 995 incidents per 100 000 population, the third consecutive year the rate had fallen.

December 03, 1996

The Law 

Eagleson Charged

The RCMP finally charged Alan Eagleson, former executive director of the NHL Players Association, with fraud and theft. He had been indicted in 1994 for racketeering and fraud.

February 06, 1997

Robert Latimer

The Law 

Latimer to be Retried

A federal court ruled that Robert Latimer be retried for murder charges in the mercy killing of his daughter, citing flagrant abuse of process by the prosecution.

July 09, 1997

The Law 

Miss Canada Gives Up Title

Danielle House gave up her Miss Canada International title after pleading guilty of assault against her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend.

July 30, 1997

The Law 

Violent Crime Down

Statistics Canada reported that violent crime in Canada had dropped for the fourth straight year to 973 incidents per 100 000 population, including 633 murders.

October 01, 1997

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Bastarache Named New Supreme Court Justice

PM Jean Chrétien named Justice Michel Bastarache to fill the vacancy left on the Supreme Court by Gerard LaForest. He became the first Acadian appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada.

October 01, 1997

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Referendum Law Struck Down

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down Québec's controversial law limiting spending on referenda.

November 18, 1997

The Law 

Constitution Act Amended

Parliament voted to amend the 1982 Constitution Act in order to allow Québec to replace its religion-based school system with one drawn along linguistic lines.

November 24, 1997

The Law 

Death of Judge Sopinka

John Sopinka, former Supreme Court of Canada judge, died at the age of 64 in Ottawa. he was a vigorous champion of the rights of the accused.

December 01, 1997

Westray Mine Disaster

The Law 

Westray Report Issued

Justice Peter Richard of NS issued a report on the Westray mine disaster that cited slipshod government inspection and the mine management's disregard for safety as being responsible for the explosion.

January 06, 1998

The Law 

Eagleson Pleads Guilty

Alan Eagleson pled guilty to fraud in Boston, Mass, and fined $1 million.

January 07, 1998

The Law 

Eagleson Pleads Guilty Again

Alan Eagleson pleaded guilty to fraud in a Toronto court and was sentenced to 18 months in prison.

February 13, 1998

The Law 

Girls Found Guilty in Slaying

Three girls of ages 14, 15, and 16 were found guilty in Victoria, BC, of killing 14-year-old Reena Virk. Three others pled guilty of assault.

February 16, 1998

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Unilateral Secession Dispute

The Supreme Court of Canada began to hear arguments on whether unilateral secession by Québec would be legal.

February 27, 1998

The Law 

Eagleson Stripped of Order

Governor General Romeo LeBlanc announced that Alan Eagleson had been expelled from the Order of Canada after his conviction for fraud.

August 20, 1998

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Supreme Court Rules on Separation

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Québec could not secede from Canada without first negotiating the terms of secession with the federal government and the other provinces.

April 06, 1999

The Law 

Gun Rampage in Ottawa

Pierre Lebrun, a former employee of OC Transpo, an Ottawa bus company, shot and killed 4 workers and wounded another before killing himself.

April 12, 1999

The Law 

First Black Judge in Québec

The government of Québec appointed Juanita Westmorland-Traore as the first black judge of the Québec court.

April 23, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Court Rules on Aboriginal Sentencing

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the lower courts should apply traditional disciplinary practices when sentencing Indigenous persons found guilty of criminal offences.

April 28, 1999

The Law 

Taber Killings

A 14-year-old boy armed with a .22 calibre rifle shot two students at W.R. Myers High School in Taber, Alberta. One died and the other was critically injured. The shooting occurred just eight days after the Colorado massacre.

May 17, 1999

The Law 

Milgaard Award

The Saskatchewan government awarded David Milgaard $10 million in compensation for his wrongful conviction for murder and 23 years of imprisonment. Milgaard was cleared by DNA evidence in 1997.

May 20, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Gay Spousal Rights

The Supreme Court of Canada struck down the definition of the term "spouse" in Ontario law under which homosexuals were denied the right to sue for spousal support.

May 20, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Off-Reserve Voting Rights

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously to open aboriginal band elections to off-reserve band members, stating that excluding them violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

June 17, 1999

The Law 

Faulder Executed

Canadian citizen Joseph Stanley Faulder was executed in Huntsville, Texas, the first Canadian executed in the US since 1952.

June 30, 1999

The Law 

Controversial Ruling on Child Pornography

The BC Court of Appeal upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a law prohibiting the possession of child pornography, stating that the law violated privacy and freedom of expression. The next year, however, in R v. Sharpe, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled in favour of the law against child pornography, finding that it balances freedom of expression with the protection of children. The case was finally sent back to the British Columbia Supreme Court, where John Robin Sharpe was convicted of possessing child pornography.

July 09, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Unborns Cannot Sue Parents

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that children could not sue their mothers for injuries suffered while they were in the womb. The case was brought in 1993 by Gerald Price on behalf of his grandson, who was injured in a car crash.

July 09, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Child Refugee Rights

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that immigration officers must consider children's best interests before deporting their illegal immigrant parents.

August 21, 1999

The Law 

Justice Lamer Retires

Chief Justice Antonio Lamer announced his retirement from the Supreme Court of Canada, effective January 7, 2000.

September 15, 1999

Louise Arbour

The Law 

Arbour Joins Supreme Court

Louise Arbour was sworn in as Supreme Court justice one day after stepping down as chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunal investigating crimes in the former Yugoslavia.

September 17, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Mi'kmaq Fishing Rights Upheld

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that treaties from the 1760s guaranteed Mi'kmaq rights to fish, hunt and log year round. The ruling sparked controversy, as the Mi'kmaq began to fish lobster out of season. Angry non-Indigenous fishermen destroyed lobster traps and other equipment, sunk a boat and carried out an armed blockade of Yarmouth Harbour, NS. The conflict ended when an agreement was reached that allowed the Mi’kmaq to fish for subsistence only.

November 16, 1999

The Law 

Skinheads Sentenced

A BC judge sentenced 5 skinheads to prison for the 1998 beating death of Nirmal Singh Gill. The judge ruled that the attack was racially motivated.

November 17, 1999

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Mi'kmaq Rights Clarified

The Supreme Court of Canada clarified its earlier ruling (September 17) regarding Mi'kmaq (Micmac) fishing rights, stating that the ruling had been misinterpreted. It stated that the ruling applied did not guarantee open season on fishing.

November 22, 1999

The Law 

Fisher Found Guilty

Convicted serial rapist Larry Fisher was found guilty of the murder in 1969 of Gail Miller. The verdict ended the 30-year saga of David Milgaard, wrongly convicted of the murder.

November 25, 1999

The Law 

Court Upholds Assault Law

The Supreme Court upheld a controversial law protecting the confidentiality of a sexual-assault complainant's counselling documents.

December 14, 1999

The Law 

Algerian Terrorist Stopped at US Border

US customs officials arrested an Algerian-born man, named Ahmed Ressam, entering the US from Canada at Port Angeles, Washington. He was headed for Los Angeles International Airport, where he planned to blow up a terminal on New Year's Eve.

January 07, 2000

Beverley McLachlin

The Law 

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin Sworn In

The first female Chief Justice of Canada, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin, was appointed by Prime Minister Jean Chrétien. McLachlin is the longest serving chief justice in Canadian history and has been on the top court’s bench for 25 years. Her aim has been to make the court more transparent, with faster turnaround and consensus-oriented decisions.

April 19, 2000

Natural Gas Well

The Law 

Ludwig Found Guilty

An Alberta judge found activist Wiebo Ludwig guilty of a 1998 gas-well bombing. Ludwig claimed that the wells were responsible for deadly pollution in the area.

June 09, 2000

The Law 

Border Security Agreement

Canada and the United States signed a border security agreement under which the two countries would bolster security along the eastern border directed by a joint enforcement team.

August 03, 2000

The Law 

Mafia Boy Arrested

The RCMP filed charges against a 16-year-old Montreal boy whom it had arrested in April in connection with computer attacks that paralysed several Internet sites, including CNN.

January 01, 2001

The Law 

Religious Tolerance and the Kirpan

In 2001, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that a Québec student had the right to wear a kirpan while in school. The Québec Court of Appeal struck down the decision in 2004, ruling that community safety was more important than wearing the ceremonial dagger, but in 2006 the Supreme Court again decided that religious tolerance was to be encouraged in Canadian society and that a total ban infringed on the guarantee of religious freedom under the Charter of Rights.

January 18, 2001

Robert Latimer

The Law 

Court Upholds Latimer Sentence

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the 10-year sentence imposed by Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on Robert Latimer for the mercy killing of his disabled daughter. A jury had handed down a lighter sentence.

January 26, 2001

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Court Upholds Law Against Child Porn

The Supreme Court of Canada upheld a federal law prohibiting the possession of child pornography, overruling a lower court decision that struck down the law on the basis of freedom of speech.

June 30, 2001

The Law 

Duplessis Orphans

Some 1500 Duplessis Orphans received an apology and a “fault-free” offer of compensation. Each received a lump sum payment of $10 000 and an additional $1000 for each year spent in an asylum, roughly $25 000 per person.

November 06, 2003

The Law 

Canada Ratifies Law of the Sea

Canada ratified the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, which entered into force in 1994.

March 19, 2004

Rainbow graffiti Montreal

The Law 

Same-Sex Marriage Legalized

A Court of Appeal ruling legalized same-sex marriage in Québec.

January 08, 2007

The Law 

James Pardoned

Convicted sex offender Graham James was granted a pardon by the National Parole Board. Found guilty of 2 counts of abuse involving hockey players he coached, he was sentenced in 1997 to 3 and a half years in prison. The pardon was not made public until 4 Apr 2010 when another victim came forward to report alleged abuse.

December 10, 2007

The Law 

Pickton Convicted

Accused serial killer Robert Pickton was found guilty of the second-degree murders of Sereena Abotsway, Andrea Joesbury, Mona Wilson, Georgina Papin, Brenda Wolfe and Marnie Frey, sex trade workers who disappeared from Vancouver's Downtown Eastside between 1997 and 2001.

September 30, 2011

The Law 

Top Court Defends Safe Injection Sites

In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court of Canada barred the federal government from closing Insite, a safe injection facility in Vancouver. Maintaining that such services play a crucial role in treating drug addiction and saving lives, the court decided that the benefit to public health outweighed the government's concerns surrounding the sanctioned use of illegal substances.

January 25, 2013

The Law 

Supreme Court of Canada releases judgement on common-law rights in Québec

In the now famous Lola v. Eric case, the Supreme Court of Canada rules clause 585 of the Civil Code of Québec "discriminatory but acceptable". This clause does not recignize the same rights for common-law spouses and married couples upon the disolution of the relationship.

December 20, 2013

The Law 

Prostitution Laws Struck Down

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the nation's prostitution laws violated sex workers' constitutional rights — namely, the right to practice their trade safely and to exercise freedom of expression. "It is not a crime in Canada to sell sex for money," noted Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin in the decision, which gave Parliament one year to rewrite the law.

January 10, 2014

Indigenous Peoples 

First Indigenous Constitution in Ontario

Members of the Nipissing First Nation voted in favour of adopting their own constitution, or Gichi-Naaknigewin, believed to be the first such document among First Nations communities in Ontario. Its purpose is to allow the nation to define its membership and create laws. Legal experts say it is unclear, however, whether this constitution will run up against Canadian laws such as the Indian Act, which it is designed to replace.

March 20, 2014

The Law 

Retroactive Changes to Parole Eligibility Struck Down

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the application of the Abolition of Early Parole Act to offenders who had already been sentenced was unconstitutional. The court maintained that these offenders would have been "thwarted" in their expectation of liberty and effectively punished again for the same crime.

March 21, 2014

The Law 

Justice Nadon Denied Seat on Top Court

The unprecedented legal drama surrounding Prime Minister Stephen Harper's 2013 appointment of Québec judge Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada reached its decisive moment when the same court ruled, in a 61 decision, that Nadon did not meet the criteria for judges representing Québec on the court. Many commentators had been surprised by the appointment, viewing Nadon as an unlikely candidate for the seat, but it wasn't until Toronto lawyer Rocco Galati legally challenged the appointment that Nadon's position was jeopardized.

April 25, 2014

The Law 

Supreme Court Rules on Senate Reform

In response to changes proposed by the Harper government, Canada's top court decided that Parliament cannot unilaterally make fundamental changes to the Senate. It ruled that abolishing this long-standing political institution would require consent from all the provinces, while introducing new term limits or elections for Senators would require consent from seven provinces representing half the population.

January 30, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Right to Strike Upheld by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court of Canada decided that the right to strike was constitutionally protected under the freedom of association clause of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The ruling struck down a Saskatchewan law that allowed government to prevent workers in essential services from striking.

February 06, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Supreme Court Rules Against Ban on Assisted Suicide

In a historic decision on an emotionally charged issue, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that competent adults suffering from enduring and "irremediable" medical conditions should have the right to doctor-assisted suicide. The unanimous ruling gave Parliament one year to change the existing laws.

March 19, 2015

Supreme Court of Canada

The Law 

Supreme Court Rules on Faith-Based Education

The top court decided that the Québec government infringed on religious freedom by requiring that a Jesuit high school in Montréal teach a course on ethics and religious culture from a secular, neutral perspective. The decision affirmed Loyola High School's right to include its own perspective in the course, which is designed to promote understanding of diverse cultures and religious traditions.

May 07, 2015

The Law 

Omar Khadr Freed on Bail

Toronto-born Omar Khadr, whom the United States captured in a firefight during the war in Afghanistan in 2002, was granted bail by an Alberta judge. At 15 years old, Khadr was accused of throwing a grenade that killed an American soldier, detained at Guantanamo Bay and later charged for his role in the firefight by the US military. In 2010, he pleaded guilty to five war crimes charges. In 2012, he was granted a transfer to the Canadian prison system to serve out the rest of his eight-year sentence. Khadr's polarizing and controversial legal saga ranks among the highest-profile cases in 21st-century Canada.

May 11, 2015

Meeting in Seaview African United Baptist Church with Human Rights activist Alan Borovoy and residents of Africville, in July, 1962.

People 

Death of Alan Borovoy

Civil rights activist and lawyer Alan Borovoy died at the age of 83. Often cited for his ardent defence of free speech, Borovoy served as general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association from 1968 to 2009. He also authored several books and a column that ran in the Toronto Star from 1992 to 1996. Borovoy was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1982.

March 24, 2016

High-Profile Cases 

Ghomeshi Acquitted in First Sexual Assault Trial

A verdict of not guilty on all charges was delivered at the end of former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi’s first trial on charges of sexual assault. In his decision, Justice William Horkins questioned the credibility of the three complainants. The high-profile proceedings raised questions about why victims of sexual assault might stay silent for years before making complaints to the police. In addition, the gruelling cross-examinations each woman went through during the trial threw a national spotlight on how complainants may be treated inside a courtroom.

April 14, 2016

Supreme Court of Canada

Supreme Court of Canada 

Supreme Court Ruling Changes Legal Definition of “Indian”

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled unanimously that the legal definition of “Indian” — as laid out in the Constitution — includes the Métis and non-status Indians. This ruling will facilitate possible negotiations over traditional land rights, access to education and health programs, and other government services.

May 11, 2016

High-Profile Cases 

Ghomeshi Signs Peace Bond, Avoids Second Trial

Weeks after the end of his first sexual-assault trial, former CBC host Jian Ghomeshi avoided a second trial by signing a peace bond in which he committed to be of good behaviour and avoid contact with former CBC co-worker Kathryn Borel. Ghomeshi also apologized to Borel in court for "sexually inappropriate" behaviour toward her when they worked together. In her statement to the public, Borel said that while the ordeal “won’t be over until he admits to everything that he’s done,” the apology was “the clearest path to the truth.”

May 17, 2016

Legislation 

Liberals Table Transgender Rights Bill

On the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, Liberal justice minister Jody Wilson-Raybould introduced legislation to protect the rights of transgender Canadians. If passed, the bill would make it illegal to deny someone a job or discriminate against them in the workplace based on their gender identity or expression. The Criminal Code would also be updated to protect transgender individuals from being targeted by hate propaganda and hate crimes.

June 02, 2016

Gavel

High-Profile Cases 

Longest Jury Trial in Canadian History

Ronald Weinberg, the founder of Cinar, a once-successful children’s television production company based in Montréal, was found guilty of defrauding the company of $120 million along with associates Lino Matteo and John Xanthoudakis. The trial ran for over two years and was reported to be the longest jury trial in Canadian history. Eleven of the original panel of 14 jurors served for the entire duration of the proceedings.

June 17, 2016

Legislation 

Assisted Dying Bill Passed

The Senate passed a new law allowing physician-assisted dying for terminally ill patients who are suffering and whose death is “reasonably foreseeable.” The creation of the law, which spurred intense debate among Canada’s parliamentarians and senators, was prompted by a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada decision that ended the ban on assisted suicide.

June 22, 2016

High-Profile Cases 

Toronto Police Express Regret for Bathhouse Raids

Toronto police chief Mark Saunders publicly expressed "regret" on behalf of his force for the 1981 bathhouse raids. On 5 February of that year, Toronto police officers arrested about 300 gay men on charges of being found in a common bawdy house or keeping a common bawdy house. Most of the charges were dropped, but the raids further persecuted and marginalized a group whose rights were largely unprotected in Canadian society of the time. They also spurred a new era of political activism in the city’s LGBT community.

November 29, 2016

Legislation 

Ontario’s All Families Are Equal Act Passed

Ontario passed Bill 28, the All Families are Equal Act, giving all parents equal rights under the law, “whether they are LGBTQ2+ or straight, and whether their children were conceived with or without assistance.”

February 14, 2017

Sixties Scoop

Indigenous Peoples 

First Victory of a Sixties Scoop Lawsuit

Ontario Superior Court judge Edward Belobaba ruled in favour of Sixties Scoop victims, finding that the federal government did not take adequate steps to protect the cultural identity of on-reserve children taken away from their homes. This was the first victory of a Sixties Scoop lawsuit in Canada.

May 18, 2017

Canada's Opioid Crisis

Legislation 

Law Changes to Address Opioid Crisis

Bill C-37, An Act to amend the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and to make related amendments to other Acts, received Royal Assent and became federal law. Presented by health minister Jane Philpott, the bill aimed to combat Canada’s opioid crisis, an epidemic of addiction to painkiller drugs such as fentanyl and oxycodone. Among other changes, it simplified the process for opening supervised consumption sites, made it harder to import drug-making equipment such as pill presses and allowed border officers to open mail weighing 30 grams or less.

July 05, 2017

Omar Khadr

High-Profile Cases 

Omar Khadr Receives Settlement and Apology from Ottawa

The Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau awarded Omar Khadr $10.5 million in compensation for the violation of his constitutional rights while he was a prisoner at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as a teenager. Canadian officials had participated in his interrogation on the condition that they share the information with the Americans. The controversial compensation package, along with a formal apology issued two days later, settled the lawsuit Khadr had launched against the government years earlier.

November 29, 2017

Supreme Court of Canada 

Sheilah Martin appointed new justice to the Supreme Court of Canada

Sheilah Martin was appointed new justice to the Supreme Court of Canada. The Montreal-born and Alberta-based judge takes over the seat left by the retirement of Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin (Richard Wagner took over the position of Chief Justice on 18 December 2017). With a wide legal and judicial expertise and bilingual in both French and English, she brings 30 years of experience to the Supreme Court. Among her famous cases, she crafted the Residential Schools settlement and rendered an important judgment regarding compensation for wrongful conviction.

December 15, 2017

Beverley McLachlin

People  Supreme Court of Canada 

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin retires

The Right Honorable Beverley McLachlin retires from her position as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada after 28 years on the bench, 17 of which were spent as Chief Justice. Born into a rural Alberta farming family of modest means, McLachlin rose to become the first female chief justice of a Commonwealth high court and the longest serving chief justice of the Supreme Court of Canada.

December 18, 2017

Supreme Court of Canada 

Richard Wagner sworn in as new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court

Richard Wagner was sworn in as the new Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. He was called to the Québec Bar in 1980 and worked at the law firm Lavery, de Billy in Montréal until his appointment to the Superior Court in 2004. While at this court, he sat in the Civil, Commercial and Criminal Divisions. In 2011, Richard Wagner was appointed to the Québec Court of Appeal. Less than two years later, in 2012, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada and then, on 18 December 2017, he was sworn in as Chief Justice, the highest judicial position in the country. His appointment follows a long tradition of having alternatively a Chief Justice from a Common Law background and then one with a Civil Law background. He replaced Beverley McLachlin as Chief Justice.

January 18, 2018

High-Profile Cases 

Bruce McArthur charged with multiple murders

Bruce McArthur, suspected of murdering two men, was arrested at his Toronto home. The 66-year-old was later charged with multiple additional murders after bodies were discovered in private gardens McArthur had worked on as a landscaper. His alleged victims were gay men.

January 26, 2018

High-Profile Cases 

Death of Barry and Honey Sherman ruled a homicide

Toronto police announced that Barry and Honey Sherman, found dead in their Toronto mansion on 15 December 2017, were the targeted victims of a double homicide. Private investigators hired by the Sherman family concluded that the murders appeared to be contract killings. Barry Sherman, founder of the drug company Apotex, was the 15th richest person in Canada with a net worth of almost $5 billion.