For Immediate Release
Thursday, February 10, 2022
Ottawa, ONT – Please join the Indigenous Bar Association in Canada (the “IBA”) in congratulating Justice Jonathon George on his recent appointment to the Ontario Court of Appeal. Before this appointment, Justice George was first appointed to the Ontario Court in 2012 and then to the Superior Court in 2016.
As an Ojibway of Pottawatomi descent and a tenacious voice for Indigenous Peoples throughout his career in legal practice, Justice George’s designation is both merited and encouraging. He graduated from the University of Western Ontario and was admitted to the Ontario Bar in 2001. He articled and practiced law at Robbins, Henderson and Davis from 2001 to 2012, building an impressive criminal defence practice. He is originally from the Sarnia area and made his mark there in all aspects of criminal law, including representing members of the area’s Indigenous communities.
Justice George has represented members of the First Nations community, including as legal counsel to the Kettle and Stony Point Chief and Council. As special duty counsel with Legal Aid Ontario, he provided summary legal advice to those in the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation. Since 2004, he has been co-counsel for the Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, involved in complex land claim negotiations.
Justice George is a central and leading figure within the Ontario bar and a prominent leader in Indigenous issues. He has been on the panel for the Ontario Children’s Lawyer, representing children’s interests. He has served on the boards of directors for St. Clair Child and Youth Services in Sarnia and the Canadian Mental Health Association in Lambton-Kent. Justice George was also a member of the Lambton County Youth Justice Steering Committee and chair of the Kettle and Stony Point Constitutional Development Committee. Chief Justice Annemarie E. Bonkalo has assigned Justice George to preside in London.
The IBA has long advocated for increased representation of Indigenous voices at all levels of court, in part because it is important for Indigenous Peoples to see themselves represented in the judiciary, but also because a greater understanding of Indigenous law is critical to achieving meaningful justice for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. As is undoubtedly true for the appointment of Justice George, the IBA believes that any candidate for the Canadian judiciary must be fully aware of the desirable and necessary systemic changes that are needed to ensure justice for Indigenous Peoples within Canada’s ongoing process of reconciliation. The legal knowledge, Indigenous perspectives, and breadth of experience that Justice George brings to the Ontario judiciary are sure to benefit the provincial administration of law.
Towards his momentous and well-earned designation as Ontario Court of Appeal Judge, the IBA extends our compliments and congratulations to Justice Jonathon George.