Rosalie Silberman Abella, is a Canadian jurist. She was appointed in 2004 to the Supreme Court of Canada, becoming the first Jewish woman to sit on the Canadian Supreme Court bench. Rosalie Silberman Abella was born in a displaced persons camp in Stuttgart, where her father, a lawyer, was defence counsel for displaced persons in the Allied Zone of Southwest Germany, she moved to Canada with her family in 1950. She attended Oakwood Collegiate Institute and Bathurst Heights Secondary School in Toronto, the University of Toronto, where she obtained a B. A. in 1967 and an LL. B in 1970. Abella was called to the Ontario bar in 1972, she practised civil and family law until 1976, when at the age of 29 she was appointed to the Ontario Family Court, becoming both the youngest and first pregnant judge in Canadian history. She was appointed to the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1992, she has acted as chair of the Ontario Labour Relations Board, the Ontario Study into Access to Legal Services by the Disabled and the Ontario Law Reform Commission, as a member of the Ontario Human Rights Commission and of the judicial inquiry into the Donald Marshall, Jr. case.
She is considered one of Canada's foremost experts on human rights law, has taught at McGill Law School in Montreal. In 2004, Prime Minister Paul Martin appointed Abella to the Supreme Court of Canada. Abella became the first Jewish woman to sit on the court, she is eligible to serve on the Supreme Court until July 1, 2021. In 1983, Abella was appointed to oversee the Royal Commission on Equality in Employment and in that role, coined the term employment equity, a strategy for reducing barriers in employment faced by women, visible minorities, people with disabilities, aboriginal peoples; the recommendations of the report were adopted by other countries such as New Zealand, South Africa, Northern Ireland. She moderated a televised leaders debate in 1988 between Brian Mulroney, John Turner and Ed Broadbent. Abella is the recipient of 37 honorary degrees, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2007.
In May 2016, she was awarded an honorary degree from Yale University, becoming the first Canadian woman to earn such an honour. She has been a judge of the Giller Prize, is a graduate of the Royal Conservatory of Music in classical piano. In January 2017, Northwestern Pritzker School of Law’s Center for International Human Rights named her the Global Jurist of the Year in 2016 for her lifelong commitment to human rights and international criminal justice. In April 2018, Abella was elected a member of the American Philosophical Society. Abella is married to historian Irving Abella, has two sons. Reasons of the Supreme Court of Canada by Justice Abella CanadaSupremeCourtbio http://archives.cbc.ca/politics/parties_leaders/clips/15773/ Entry on Rosalie Silberman Abella, Jewish Women: A Comprehensive Historical Encyclopedia http://news.yale.edu/2016/05/22/honorary-degrees-awarded-nine-outstanding-individuals
Treaty 4 is a treaty established between Queen Victoria and the Cree and Saulteaux First Nation band governments. The area covered by Treaty 4 represents most of current day southern Saskatchewan, plus small portions of what are today western Manitoba and southeastern Alberta; this treaty is called the "Qu'Appelle Treaty," as its first signings were conducted at Fort Qu'Appelle, North-West Territories, on 15 September 1874. Additional signings or adhesions continued until September 1877; this treaty is the only indigenous treaty in Canada that has a corresponding indigenous interpretation. In 1870, Hudson's Bay Company sold Rupert's Land for £300,000 to the Dominion of Canada; the Company's land covered the edge of the Rocky Mountains to the Great Lakes and was divided into the Province of Manitoba and the North-West Territories. The Indigenous people who lived on the land felt that it belonged to them, but they were not included in discussing the land transfer. After finding out about the transaction, the Indigenous people were not impressed and they wanted some sort of compensation.
The subsequent years, between 1871 and 1877, saw the first seven of the eleven numbered treaties signed by Canada and the Prairie First Nations. The government of Canada negotiated the first five Numbered Treaties to gain land from the First Nations for settlement and industry. Prime Minister John A. Macdonald saw the land as necessary to complete a transcontinental railway, which would run through the cities of Regina, Moose Jaw, Swift Current in southern Saskatchewan; the Canadian Government feared that potential conflict with Indigenous people could disrupt the advancement in the west. The Indigenous people knew that change was inevitable because their natural food source was fading and settlers were arriving, they believed. Both parties cooperated with the treaty negotiations. Treaty 4 was signed on September 15, 1874, between select Cree and Assiniboine Indigenous who lived in the specified area, “her most Gracious Majesty the Queen of Great Britain and Ireland”. However, decisions were made by the Canadian Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie, his government and the treaty commissioners.
The treaty was signed at Fort Qu’Appelle, which at the time was a Hudson's Bay Company outpost and is the cause for the nickname ‘Qu’Appelle Treaty’. The land, represented by the treaty is the south of contemporary Saskatchewan. Treaty 4 is the first of the numbered treaties in which First Nations adhered to the treaty after it had been determined and signed, therefore they had to accept the terms as is; the commissioners for Canada were: Alexander Morris, appointed as Lieutenant-Governor for Manitoba and the North-West Territories in 1872, who acted as the primary negotiator. These men were selected by the Canadian government as representatives, but they stated that the Indigenous people were making a deal with the Queen herself. A number of Metis signed Treaty 4 as witnesses; these men were: Charles Pratt, Pascal Breland, Edward McKay, Pierre Poitras, Jean Baptiste Davis, Pierre Desnomme,Joseph McKay, Donald McDonald and Pierre Lapierre. It is noteworthy that on September 7, 1876,the Metis at Fort Walsh submitted a petition to Inspector Walsh on behalf of the Metis of the four districts of Assiniboia to join Treat 4.
This petition did not received a favourable hearing. In 1873, the first three numbered treaties were concluded and as a result, a clear route was established for the intended transcontinental railway; the Canadian government had decided that there was enough land for the beginning of settlement and development. Therefore, they had no interest to negotiate any other treaties at that time. However, the Indigenous people who had not been a part of treaty discussions were worried about their future because of the dwindling bison and the ongoing settlement, they were aware that other Indigenous communities who lived southeast in the newly confederated land had signed treaties for themselves. They believed that the treaties provided protection from the change and economic hardships, they wanted that for themselves too; until treaties were signed with them, the Prairie Indigenous people made it clear to the Canadian government that they believed the land belonged to them and thus they demanded compensation and assistance.
Chief of the Plains Cree, Sweet Grass, wrote a letter to Morris in which he wrote, “we heard our lands were sold and we did not like it”, made a list of demands. Chief Yellow Quill of Saulteaux bands took action when settlers cut wood for timber without Indigenous permission; when he asked for a treaty and did not receive an answer, he put a sign on a church door warning the settlers not to cut any more wood because without a treaty, the wood belonged to the Saulteaux. Because of this consistent pressure, the Canadian government agreed to negotiate treaties sooner than expected; the disruptions made by the Indigenous people were interrupting the development of the land. Treaty 4 negotiations had a slow start and discussions were delayed several times. Conflict surrounding the negotiations arose from disagreement between the different bands, they felt resentment towards the Canadians and the commissioners due to the sale of Rupert's Land and the £300,000 that the Hudson's Bay Company received.
The Canadian commissioners arrived at the outpost on September 8, 1874, but the bands were not able to select spokesmen. The discussions were delayed until September 11 when they elected some of them to represent their side in the discussions. However, on tha
Royal Proclamation of 1763
The Royal Proclamation of 1763 was issued by King George III on October 7, 1763, following Great Britain's acquisition of French territory in North America after the end of the French and Indian War/Seven Years' War. This proclamation rendered all land grants given by the government to British subjects who fought for the Crown against France worthless, it forbade all settlement west of a line drawn along the Appalachian Mountains, delineated as an Indian Reserve. Exclusion from the vast region of Trans-Appalachia filled people within various colonies with indignation. Discontent would arise during the American Revolution; the Royal Proclamation continues to be of legal importance to First Nations in Canada. The 1763 proclamation line is similar to the Eastern Continental Divide's path running northwards from Georgia to the Pennsylvania–New York border and north-eastwards past the drainage divide on the St. Lawrence Divide from there northwards through New England; the Seven Years' War ended with the Treaty of Paris.
Under this treaty, France ceded ownership of all of continental North America east of the Mississippi River, including Quebec, the rest of Canada to Britain. Spain received all French territory west of the Mississippi. Both Spain and Britain received some French islands in the Caribbean. France kept a few small islands used by fishermen, modern-day Haiti and the rich sugar island of Guadeloupe; the Proclamation of 1763 dealt with the management of inherited French colonies from the French and Indian War, as well as regulating colonial expansion. It established new governments for four areas: the province of Quebec, the new colonies of West Florida and East Florida, Grenada. At the outset, the Royal Proclamation of 1763 defined the jurisdictional limits of the occupied territories of North America. Explaining parts of the Frontier expansion in North America, in Colonial America and Canada colony of New France, a diminutive new colony, the Province of Quebec was carved; the territory northeast of the St. John River on the Labrador coast was placed under the Newfoundland Colony.
The lands west of Quebec and west of a line running along the crest of the Allegheny mountains became Indian territory, temporarily barred to settlement, to the great disappointment of the land speculators of Virginia and Pennsylvania, who had started the Seven Years' War to gain these territories. The proclamation created a boundary line between the British colonies on the Atlantic coast and American Indian lands west of the Appalachian Mountains; the proclamation line was not intended to be a permanent boundary between the colonists and Aboriginal lands, but rather a temporary boundary which could be extended further west in an orderly, lawful manner. It was not designed as an uncrossable boundary, its contour was defined by the headwaters. All land with rivers that flowed into the Atlantic was designated for the colonial entities, while all the land with rivers that flowed into the Mississippi was reserved for the native Indian population; the proclamation outlawed the private purchase of Native American land, which had created problems in the past.
Instead, all future land purchases were to be made by Crown officials "at some public Meeting or Assembly of the said Indians". Furthermore, British colonials were forbidden to settle on native lands, colonial officials were forbidden to grant ground or lands without royal approval; the proclamation gave the Crown a monopoly on all future land purchases from American Indians. British colonists and land speculators objected to the proclamation boundary since the British government had assigned land grants to them. Many settlements existed beyond the proclamation line, some of, temporarily evacuated during Pontiac's War, there were many granted land claims yet to be settled. For example, George Washington and his Virginia soldiers had been granted lands past the boundary. Prominent American colonials joined with the land speculators in Britain to lobby the government to move the line further west, their demands were met, the boundary line was adjusted in a series of treaties with the Native Americans.
In 1768 the Treaty of Fort Stanwix and the Treaty of Hard Labour, followed in 1770 by the Treaty of Lochaber, opened much of what is now Kentucky and West Virginia to British settlement. A new map was drawn up at the Treaty of Fort Stanwix in 1768, that moved the line much further to the west, gave the lands claimed by the colonists to the British side. Pontiac's Rebellion was a war involving Native American tribes from the Great Lakes region, the Illinois Country, Ohio Country who were dissatisfied with British postwar policies in the Great Lakes region after the British victory, they were able to take over a large number of the forts which commanded the waterways involved in trade within the region and export to Great Britain. The Proclamation of 1763 had been in the works before Pontiac's Rebellion, but the outbreak of the conflict hastened the process. British officials hoped the proclamation would reconcile American Indians to British rule and help to prevent future hostilities; some Native American peoples—primarily in the Great Lakes region—had a long and close relationship with France, were dismayed to find that they were now under British sovereignty.
They missed the amicable relationship with the French, along with the gifts they bestowed upon them, neither of which they had with the British. The Royal Proclamation continued to govern the cession
Aboriginal title is a common law doctrine that the land rights of indigenous peoples to customary tenure persist after the assumption of sovereignty under settler colonialism. The requirements of proof for the recognition of aboriginal title, the content of aboriginal title, the methods of extinguishing aboriginal title, the availability of compensation in the case of extinguishment vary by jurisdiction. Nearly all jurisdictions are in agreement that aboriginal title is inalienable, that it may be held either individually or collectively. Aboriginal title was first acknowledged in the early 19th century, in decisions in which indigenous peoples were not a party. Significant aboriginal title litigation resulting in victories for indigenous peoples did not arise until recent decades; the majority of court cases have been litigated in Australia, Malaysia, New Zealand, the United States. Aboriginal title is an important area of comparative law, with many cases being cited as persuasive authority across jurisdictions.
Many commentators believe. Aboriginal title is referred to as indigenous title, native title, original Indian title, customary title. Aboriginal title jurisprudence is related to indigenous rights and influenced by non-land issues, such as whether the government owes a fiduciary duty to indigenous peoples. While the judge-made doctrine arises from customary international law, it has been codified nationally by legislation and constitutions. Aboriginal title arose at the intersection of three common law doctrines articulated by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council: the Act of State doctrine, the Doctrine of Continuity, the Recognition Doctrine; the Act of State doctrine held that the Crown could confiscate or extinguish real or personal property rights in the process of conquering, without scrutiny from any British court, but could not perpetrate an Act of State against its own subjects. The Doctrine of Continuity presumed that the Crown did not intend to extinguish private property upon acquiring sovereignty, thus that pre-existing interests were enforceable under British law.
Its mirror was the Recognition Doctrine, which held that private property rights were presumed to be extinguished in the absence of explicit recognition. In 1608, the same year in which the Doctrine of Continuity emerged, Edward Coke delivered a famous dictum in Calvin's Case that the laws of all non-Christians would be abrogated upon their conquest. Coke's view was not put into practice, but was rejected by Lord Mansfield in 1774; the two doctrines were reconciled, with the Doctrine of Continuity prevailing in nearly all situations in Oyekan v Adele. The first Indigenous land rights case under the common law, Mohegan Indians v. Connecticut, was litigated from 1705 to 1773, with the Privy Council affirming without opinion the judgement of a non-judicial tribunal. Other important Privy Council decisions include In re Southern Rhodesia and Amodu Tijani v. Southern Nigeria; the former rejected a claim for aboriginal title, noting that: Some tribes are so low in the scale of social organization that their usages and conceptions of rights and duties are not to be reconciled with the institutions or the legal ideas of civilized society.
Such a gulf cannot be bridged. Two years Amodu Tijani laid the basis for several elements of the modern aboriginal title doctrine, upholding a customary land claim and urging the need to "study of the history of the particular community and its usages in each case." Subsequently, the Privy Council issued many opinions confirming the existence of aboriginal title, upholding customary land claims. Modern decisions have heaped criticism upon the views expressed in Southern Rhodesia; the requirements for establishing an aboriginal title to the land vary across countries, but speaking, the aboriginal claimant must establish occupation from a long time ago before the assertion of sovereignty, continuity to the present day. Aboriginal title does not constitute allodial title or radical title in any jurisdiction. Instead, its content is described as a usufruct, i.e. a right to use, although in practice this may mean anything from a right to use land for specific, enumerated purposes, or a general right to use which approximate fee simple.
It is common ground among the relevant jurisdictions that aboriginal title is inalienable, in the sense that it cannot be transferred except to the general government —although Malaysia allows aboriginal title to be sold between indigenous peoples, unless contrary to customary law. In Australia, the content of aboriginal title varies with the degree to which claimants are able to satisfy the standard of proof for recognition. In particular, the content of aboriginal title may be tied to the traditions and customs of the indigenous peoples, only accommodate growth and change to a limited extent. Aboriginal title can be extinguished by the general government, but again, the requirement to do this varies by country; some require the legislature to be explicit when it does this, others hold that extinguishment can be inferred from the government's treatment of the land. In Canada, the Crown cannot extinguish aboriginal title without the explicit prior informed consent of the proper aboriginal title holders.
New Zealand required consent, but today requires only a justification, akin to a public purpose requirement. Jurisdict
In Canada, the First Nations are the predominant indigenous peoples in Canada south of the Arctic Circle. Those in the Arctic area are distinct and known as Inuit; the Métis, another distinct ethnicity, developed after European contact and relations between First Nations people and Europeans. There are 634 recognized First Nations governments or bands spread across Canada half of which are in the provinces of Ontario and British Columbia. Under the Employment Equity Act, First Nations are a "designated group", along with women, visible minorities, people with physical or mental disabilities. First Nations are not defined as a visible minority under the Act or by the criteria of Statistics Canada. North American indigenous; some of their oral traditions describe historical events, such as the Cascadia earthquake of 1700 and the 18th-century Tseax Cone eruption. Written records began with the arrival of European explorers and colonists during the Age of Discovery, beginning in the late 15th century.
European accounts by trappers, traders and missionaries give important evidence of early contact culture. In addition and anthropological research, as well as linguistics, have helped scholars piece together an understanding of ancient cultures and historic peoples. Although not without conflict, Euro-Canadians' early interactions with First Nations, Métis, Inuit populations were less combative compared to the violent battles between colonists and native peoples in the United States. Collectively, First Nations, Métis peoples constitute Indigenous peoples in Canada, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, or first peoples. First Nation as a term became used beginning in 1980s to replace the term Indian band in referring to groups of Indians with common government and language; the term had come into common usage in the 1970s to avoid using the word Indian, which some Canadians considered offensive. No legal definition of the term exists; some indigenous peoples in Canada have adopted the term First Nation to replace the word band in the formal name of their community.
A band is a "body of Indians for whose use and benefit in common lands... have been set apart... moneys are held... or declared... to be a band for the purposes of" the Indian Act by the Canadian Crown. The term Indian is a misnomer given to indigenous peoples of North America by European explorers who erroneously thought they had landed on the Indian subcontinent; the use of the term Native Americans, which the US government and others have adopted, is not common in Canada. It refers more to the Indigenous peoples residing within the boundaries of the United States; the parallel term Native Canadian is not used, but Native and autochtone are. Under the Royal Proclamation of 1763 known as the "Indian Magna Carta," the Crown referred to indigenous peoples in British territory as tribes or nations; the term First Nations is capitalized. Bands and nations may have different meanings. Within Canada, First Nations has come into general use for indigenous peoples other than Inuit and Métis. Individuals using the term outside Canada include U.
S. tribes within the Pacific Northwest, as well as supporters of the Cascadian independence movement. The singular used on culturally politicized reserves, is the term First Nations person. A more recent trend is for members of various nations to refer to themselves by their tribal or national identity only, e.g. "I'm Haida". For pre-history, see: Paleo-Indians and Archaic periods First Nations by linguistic-cultural area: List of First Nations peoplesFirst Nations peoples had settled and established trade routes across what is now Canada by 1,000 BC to 500 BC. Communities developed, each with its own culture and character. In the northwest were the Athapaskan-speaking peoples, Slavey, Tłı̨chǫ, Tutchone-speaking peoples, Tlingit. Along the Pacific coast were the Haida, Kwakiutl, Nuu-chah-nulth, Nisga'a and Gitxsan. In the plains were the Blackfoot, Kainai and Northern Peigan. In the northern woodlands were the Chipewyan. Around the Great Lakes were the Anishinaabe, Algonquin and Wyandot. Along the Atlantic coast were the Beothuk, Innu and Micmac.
The Blackfoot Confederacies reside in the Great Plains of Montana and Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Saskatchewan. The name "Blackfoot" came from the colour of the peoples' leather footwear, known as moccasins, they had painted the bottoms of their moccasins black. One account claimed that the Blackfoot Confederacies walked through the ashes of prairie fires, which in turn coloured the bottoms of their moccasins black, they had migrated onto the Great Plains from the Plateau area. The Blackfoot may have lived in their homeland since the end of the Pleistocene 11,000 years ago.. For thousands of years, they managed the prairie to support bison herds and cultivated berries and edible roots, they allowed only legitimate traders into their territory, making treaties only when the bison herds were exterminated in the 1870s. The Squamish history is a series of past events, both passed on through oral tradition and recent history, of the Squamish indigenous peoples of the Pacific Northwest Coast.
Prior to colonization, they recorded their history through oral tradition as a way to transmit stories and knowledge across generations. This was common among all the peoples; the writing system esta
James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement
The James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement is an Aboriginal land claim settlement, approved in 1975 by the Cree and Inuit of northern Quebec, slightly modified in 1978 by the Northeastern Quebec Agreement, through which Quebec's Naskapi First Nation joined the treaty. The agreement covers economic development and property issues in northern Quebec, as well as establishing a number of cultural and governmental institutions for Indigenous people who are members of the communities involved in the treaties. Before Canadian Confederation, the lands of northern Quebec had been a part of Rupert's Land – the territory administered by the Hudson's Bay Company as part of the charter it received from King Charles II in 1670. In 1870, Rupert's Land was ceded to Canada, in 1895 the region between the then-province of Quebec and the Hudson Strait became the District of Ungava of the Northwest Territories. In 1898, the border of Quebec was extended north to the Eastmain River. Quebec continued to claim the remaining District of Ungava, north of the Eastmain River, in 1912 the area was transferred to Quebec, subject to the condition that a treaty be negotiated with the Indigenous peoples of the region recognizing their cultural rights and surrendering their title to the land to Quebec and Canada.
There was at the time no pre-existing treaty covering that area. The government of Quebec did not undertake such negotiations. In the 1960s, Quebec began developing potential hydroelectric resources in the north, in 1971 created the James Bay Development Corporation to pursue the development of mining and other potential resources starting with the James Bay Hydroelectric Project; this massive undertaking, directed by an assertive government of Quebec without consulting Indigenous people, was opposed by most of northern Quebec's Cree and Inuit. The Quebec Association of Indians – an ad hoc representative body of Indigenous northern Quebecers – sued the government and, on 15 November 1973, won an injunction in the Quebec Superior Court blocking hydroelectric development until the province had negotiated an agreement with the Indigenous nations; this judgment was overruled by the Quebec Court of Appeal seven days after the government's efforts to negotiate an agreement failed. Nonetheless, the legal requirement that Quebec negotiate a treaty covering the territory had not been overturned though construction continued.
Over the course of the next year, the government of Quebec negotiated the required accord. On 15 November 1974 – a year after the Superior Court decision – an agreement-in-principle was signed between the governments of Canada, publicly owned Hydro-Québec, the Grand Council of the Crees, headed by Billy Diamond, the Northern Quebec Inuit Association; the final accord – the James Bay And Northern Quebec Agreement – was signed on 11 November 1975. This convention only covered claims made by Quebec Cree and Inuit; the James Bay and Northern Quebec agreement has been further modified by some 20 additional accords affecting the implementation and details of the original agreement, as well as expanding their provisions. Furthermore, the Constitution Act, 1982, entrenched in the Constitution of Canada all the rights granted in treaties and land claims agreements enacted before 1982, giving the rights outlined in the original agreement the status of constitutional rights; the James Bay agreement touches on a number of subjects and, as the first Canada-Indigenous treaty since the 1920s, it bears little resemblance to previous treaties but has become the prototype of the many agreements made since then.
It established a number of provisions, principally in the following areas: LandsThe traditional lands of the signatories are divided into three categories: Category I: Lands reserved for the use of Inuit and Cree beneficiaries. Category II: Lands owned by the Crown-in-right-of-Quebec, but in which hunting and trapping rights are reserved for Indigenous peoples and over which forestry and tourism development authority is shared. Category III: Lands in which some specific hunting and harvesting rights are reserved for Indigenous peoples, but all other rights are shared subject to a joint regulatory scheme. Section 7 of the James Bay and Northern Quebec Agreement states that northern Quebec, above the 55th parallel, belongs to the Inuit; this land is split into three categories, Category I lands 14,000 square kilometers, Category II lands, 150,929 square kilometers, Category III lands, 908,000, nearly 60% of Quebec. Category I – The title to the Category I lands was transferred to the Inuit Community Corporations for Inuit community purposes.
Each community was given about 243 square miles. Though category I lands are owned by the Inuit communities of Nunavik, the subsurface and the minerals rights are still owned by the Quebec government, though they cannot extract minerals in the subsurface without permission of the local village and without compensation. Category I lands can not be given up except to the Crown in the right of Quebec. Note* At no time may the total area of Category I land be greater than 3,130 squares miles without the consent of Quebec, or be less than 3,130 square miles without the consent of Inuit. Category II – Category II lands belong to the Government of Quebec, but the Inuit have exclusive hunting and trapping rights. Cat
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada, the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial and federal appellate courts, its decisions are the ultimate expression and application of Canadian law and binding upon all lower courts of Canada, except to the extent that they are overridden or otherwise made ineffective by an Act of Parliament or the Act of a provincial legislative assembly pursuant to section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The creation of the Supreme Court of Canada was provided for by the British North America Act, 1867, renamed in 1982 the Constitution Act, 1867; the first bills for the creation of a federal supreme court, introduced in the Parliament of Canada in 1869 and in 1870, were withdrawn. It was not until 8 April 1875 that a bill was passed providing for the creation of a Supreme Court of Canada. However, prior to 1949, the Supreme Court did not constitute the court of last resort: litigants could appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London.
As well, some cases could bypass the court and go directly to the Judicial Committee from the provincial courts of appeal. The Supreme Court formally became the court of last resort for criminal appeals in 1933 and for all other appeals in 1949; the last decisions of the Judicial Committee on cases from Canada were made in the mid-1950s, as a result of their being heard in a court of first instance prior to 1949. The increase in the importance of the Court was mirrored by the numbers of its members; the Court was established first with six judges, these were augmented by an additional member in 1927. In 1949, the bench reached its current composition of nine justices. Prior to 1949, most of the appointees to the Court owed their position to political patronage; each judge had strong ties to the party in power at the time of their appointment. In 1973, the appointment of a constitutional law professor Bora Laskin as chief justice represented a major turning point for the Court. In this period, appointees either came from academic backgrounds or were well-respected practitioners with several years experience in appellate courts.
Laskin's federalist and liberal views were shared by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who recommended Laskin's appointment to the Court. The Constitution Act, 1982 expanded the role of the Court in Canadian society by the addition of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which broadened the scope of judicial review; the evolution from the Dickson court through to the Lamer court witnessed a continuing vigour in the protection of civil liberties. Lamer's criminal law background proved an influence on the number of criminal cases heard by the Court during his time as chief justice. Nonetheless, the Lamer court was more conservative with Charter rights, with only about a 1% success rate for Charter claimants. Lamer was succeeded as chief justice by Beverly McLachlin in January 2000, she is the first woman to hold that position. McLachlin's appointment resulted in a more centrist and unified Court. Dissenting and concurring opinions were fewer than during the Lamer Courts. With the 2005 appointments of Justices Louise Charron and Rosalie Abella, the court became the world's most gender-balanced national high court, four of its nine members being female.
Justice Marie Deschamps' retirement on 7 August 2012 caused the number to fall to three, however the appointment of Suzanne Côté on 1 December 2014 restored the number to four. After serving on the Court for 28 years, 259 days, McLachlin retired in December 2017, her successor as chief justice is Richard Wagner. The structure of the Canadian court system is pyramidal, a broad base being formed by the various provincial and territorial courts whose judges are appointed by the provincial or territorial governments. At the next level are the provinces' and territories' superior courts, where judges are appointed by the federal government. Judgments from the superior courts may be appealed to a still higher level, the provincial or territorial courts of appeal. Several federal courts exist: the Tax Court of Canada, the Federal Court, the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. Unlike the provincial superior courts, which exercise inherent or general jurisdiction, the federal courts' jurisdiction is limited by statute.
In all, there are over 1,000 federally appointed judges at various levels across Canada. The Supreme Court of Canada rests at the apex of the judicial pyramid; this institution hears appeals from the provincial courts of last resort the provincial or territorial courts of appeal, the Federal Court of Appeal, although in some matters appeals come straight from the trial courts, as in the case of publication bans and other orders that are otherwise not appealable. In most cases, permission to appeal must first be obtained from the court. Motions for leave to appeal to the Court are heard by a panel of three judges of the Court and a simple majority is determinative. By convention, this panel never explains why it grants or refuses leave in any particular case, but the Court hears cases of national importance or where the case allows the Court to settle an important issue of law. Leave is granted, meaning that for most litigants, provincial courts of appeal are courts of last resort, but leave to appeal is not required for some cases criminal cases and appeals from provincial references.
A final source of cases is the referral power of the federa