Our Judges

Final Bench Judges

  • Photo of Katherine van Rensburg Katherine van Rensburg
  • Photo of Richard Wagner Richard Wagner
  • Photo of George Strathy George R. Strathy

Katherine van Rensburg


Justice Katherine van Rensburg was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario in October 2013.  Prior to her appointment to this court she had served on the Superior Court of Justice in the Central West Region since November 2006.  As a trial judge, Justice van Rensburg was chambered in Brampton, and presided over criminal, family and civil law matters. She also served on the Divisional Court.

Justice van Rensburg was an associate lawyer and then a partner at the Toronto law firm Smith Lyons LLP, and she became a partner in Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP with the merger of the two firms in 2001.  She practised civil litigation and environmental law, having been certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada as a specialist in each.

Justice van Rensburg is a graduate of the University of Toronto (B.A.), Queen's University (LL.B.) and Cambridge University (LL.M.).  She spent her articling year as law clerk for the Honourable Justice Wm. McIntyre at the Supreme Court of Canada.

Richard Wagner

Chief Justice of Canada

Richard Wagner earned a Bachelor of Social Sciences (B.Soc.Sc.) with a major in Political Science from the University of Ottawa in 1978, graduating cum laude.  He received a Licentiate in Laws (LL.L.) from the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Law in 1979, also graduating cum laude.                           

Richard Wagner was called to the Quebec Bar in 1980 and practised law until being appointed to the Quebec Superior Court on September 24, 2004.  He was a partner in the law firm of Lavery, de Billy (formerly Lavery, O’Brien and Lavery, Johnston, Clark, Carrière, Mason & Associés) from 1980 to 2004. He argued cases before all the Quebec courts and quasi-judicial tribunals, as well as before the Federal Court and the Supreme Court of Canada.

In 1998, he was a founding Fellow of the Canadian College of Construction Lawyers (CCCL).  In 1989-90 and in 2001, he taught trial advocacy courses at the École du Barreau du Québec.  He was elected First Councillor of the Bar of Montréal for 2000-2001 before being elected Bâtonnier of the Bar of Montréal for 2001-2002.

On September 24, 2004, Richard Wagner was appointed to the Quebec Superior Court for the District of Montréal, where he sat in the Civil Division, the Commercial Division and the Criminal Division.  He was appointed to the Quebec Court of Appeal on February 3, 2011.

In June 2005, he received the Barreau du Québec’s Award of Merit in recognition of his contribution to the legal profession and, in particular, to the creation of the Centre d’accès à l’information juridique (CAIJ) which has provided access to legal information for members of the profession throughout Quebec since 2002.  He was a member of the CAIJ’s board of directors and its vice-president until being appointed to the Quebec Superior Court.

He was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on October 5, 2012 and appointed Chief Justice of Canada, December 18, 2017.

George R. Strathy

Chief Justice of Ontario

The Honourable George R. Strathy was appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario on April 25, 2013, and was subsequently appointed as Chief Justice of Ontario and President of the Court of Appeal for Ontario on June 13, 2014.

For the previous five years, he served as a judge of the Superior Court of Justice in the Toronto Region, where he presided over civil, class action and criminal matters. He was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice on December 13, 2007.

Chief Justice Strathy received a Bachelor of Arts from McGill University in 1970 and a Master of Arts from the University of Toronto in 1971. He studied law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law where he received his LL.B. in 1974 and was awarded the Gold Medal. He was called to the Ontario Bar in 1976.

In practice, he specialized in civil litigation, with an emphasis on maritime and transportation law. He was active in a number of professional organizations, including the Canadian Bar Association, the Canadian Maritime Law Association and the Canadian Association of Maritime Arbitrators. He is the author of two books on maritime law, as well as numerous papers and articles.

Chief Justice Strathy is married to Elyse Strathy. They have five daughters and nine grandchildren.