Our Judges

Final Bench Judges

  • Photo of The Honourable Michelle OBonsawin The Honourable Michelle OBonsawin
  • Photo of The Honourable David Stratas The Honourable David Stratas
  • Photo of The Honourable Katherine van Rensburg The Honourable Katherine van Rensburg

The Honourable Michelle OBonsawin

Judge, Supreme Court of Canada

The Honourable Michelle O’Bonsawin is a widely respected member of Canada’s legal community with a distinguished career spanning over 20 years.

Justice O’Bonsawin was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa in 2017. Prior to her appointment, she was General Counsel for the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group for eight years. In this role, she developed a thorough understanding of legal issues related to mental health and performed significant research regarding the use of Gladue principles in the forensic mental health system, appearing before various administrative tribunals and levels of courts, including the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, the Consent and Capacity Board, the Ontario Review Board, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, the Ontario Court of Justice, and the Ontario Court of Appeal. She began her legal career with the legal services at the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and was then Counsel with Canada Post, specializing in labour and employment law, human rights, and privacy law.

Justice O’Bonsawin has taught Indigenous law at the University of Ottawa’s Common Law Program and was previously responsible for the Indigenous Relations Program at the Royal Ottawa Health Care Group. She is a frequent guest speaker on Gladue principles, Indigenous issues, as well as mental health, labour, and privacy law. Justice O’Bonsawin is also the author of various publications such as: Access to Justice and Gladue Reports: We All Have a Role to Play in Lawyer’s Daily (2020); A Principled Approach: Applying Gladue Principles at the Ontario Review Board in the National Judicial Institute Indigenous Law Subject Collection (2018); Canada’s Bill C-14 [NCR] A Knee Jerk Reaction to Sensationalized Not Criminally Responsible Cases in the Canadian Criminal Law Review (2016); Mental Health Checklist: A Guide for Members of the Judiciary (2016).

Justice O’Bonsawin previously served on the Board of Governors of the University of Ottawa, as well as its Executive Committee, and as a Board member for the Aboriginal Legal Services of the University of Ottawa Legal Aid Clinic. She was an observer member of the Membership Committee of Odanak First Nation and a Board member of the Canadian Institute for the Administration of Justice.  She is currently a Partner Judge for Afghanistan Women Judges with the International Association of Women Judges.

Justice O’Bonsawin holds a Bachelor of Arts from Laurentian University, a Bachelor of Law from the University of Ottawa, a Master of Law from Osgoode Hall Law School, and a Doctorate in Law from the University of Ottawa.

Born in Hanmer, Ontario, a small Francophone town near Sudbury, she now resides in Ottawa with her family. A fluently bilingual Franco-Ontarian, Justice O’Bonsawin is an Abenaki member of the Odanak First Nation.

She was appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada on September 1, 2022.

The Honourable David Stratas

Acting Chief Justice, Federal Court of Appeal

(DAY-vid STRA-tuss /deɪvɪd strætəs pronouns: he/him) LL.B. (Queen’s University, 1984); B.C.L. (Oxford University, 1986); LL.D. (Queen’s University, 2012, honoris causa). Born in Toronto, Ontario. Law clerk to Justice Bertha Wilson of the Supreme Court of Canada (1986-1987). Called to the Bar of Ontario (1988). Litigation partner in firms in Toronto, Ontario. Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (2008). Appointed Special Advocate by the Minister of Justice (2008). Appointed Judge of the Federal Court of Appeal, and a member ex officio of the Federal Court on December 11, 2009. Appointed Judge of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, May 3, 2012. Chair of the Subcommittee on Global Revision to the Federal Courts Rules (2012-2013). Member of the Federal Courts Rules Committee (2010-2019) and the Registry Committee (2020-present). Acting Chief Justice (2023). Adjunct member, Faculty of Law, Queen's University (1994 to the present), winning ten faculty teaching awards. Instructor at judicial education sessions held across Canada each year (1997 to the present), particularly in the area of administrative law. Author of over 150 articles or conference papers and over 250 presentations on various legal topics, particularly in the areas of administrative law, constitutional law and legal writing. Currently the senior puisne judge on the Federal Court of Appeal.

The Honourable Katherine van Rensburg

Judge, Court of Appeal for Ontario

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. 

Preliminary, Semi-Final, and Factum Judges