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Each year well over 100,000 criminal cases, 17,000 family and child protection cases and about 10,000 civil cases are commenced in the provincial court. Over the last two years, there has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of active criminal cases in the criminal court system.
In recognition of these workload pressures, Alberta’s government has created four new positions. This is the first expansion of the provincial court since 2018. In addition, eight judges have been appointed to vacant positions across the province. In total, appointments are being made to both Edmonton and Calgary Criminal, to Edmonton and Calgary Family and Youth, to Calgary Civil and to both the North Region and Edmonton Region.
“The Provincial Court of Alberta plays an essential role in the lives of Albertans by upholding the rule of law through the administration of Alberta’s justice system. I am proud to be part of a government that recognizes that invaluable contribution and honoured to be able to announce the first expansion of the provincial court since 2018.”
“On behalf of all the judges and justices of the peace of the provincial court, I welcome these outstanding appointees to our bench. The filling of existing vacancies and the creation of four new judicial positions will increase the ability of our court to provide a fair, accessible and timely system of justice for all Albertans.”
Judicial appointments – newly created positions
Aldo Argento received a bachelor of laws from the University of Calgary in 1988, graduating as the gold medallist. He is a senior partner at Norton Rose Fulbright Canada LLP and has practised litigation and dispute resolution since 1988. He has practised primarily in the areas of Indigenous law and the interpretation of treaty and Aboriginal rights, international commercial arbitration and insurance and tort litigation. He served on the University of Calgary senate, sat on the board of directors for the Canadian Bar Association (Alberta) and coached high school football. He has been appointed to Calgary Civil Division effective June 1.
Joanne M. Heudes received her bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta in 1997. From 1998 to 2000, she was an assistant negotiator for Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and from 2000 to 2004, she was counsel for Justice Canada. She has had two postings in Nova Scotia – from 2005 to 2009, she was the vice-chair for the Department of Health’s Mental Health Review Board and from 2004 to 2011, she was counsel for Justice Canada. From 2012 to 2014, she was an associate lawyer for Verhaeghe Law Office and since 2014 is the sole practitioner for Law on Main in Athabasca. Her areas of law include family, real estate, wills and estates and child welfare. She has participated in numerous professional associations and community mentorship programs. She has been appointed to Edmonton Region effective June 1.
Kimberley E. Palichuk received her master of arts in 1994, followed by a bachelor of laws in 1997, both from the University of Alberta. She is executive legal counsel for the chief judge of the provincial court and has practised litigation since 1997. She has also been legal counsel for the Department of Justice Canada and senior legal counsel for Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. She has practised primarily in the areas of civil litigation, tax, finance, energy, construction, administrative/regulatory proceedings, Aboriginal rights and constitutional law. She has served on provincial court committees for the Indigenous Justice Initiative and judicial education, and is president of the board of directors and a pro bono legal adviser for Dogs with Wings Assistance Dog Society. She has been appointed to Edmonton Criminal Division effective June 1.
Jayme D. Williams received her bachelor of laws from the University of Saskatchewan in 2000 and a master’s degree in criminal law and procedure from York University in 2015. From 2002 to 2006, she worked for the Saskatchewan Department of Justice and between 2006 and 2018, she worked in a variety of roles for Calgary criminal prosecutions, including as assistant chief Crown prosecutor. Since 2019, she has worked for Alberta Crown Prosecution Services in roles such as project counsel, executive director and chief prosecutor. Williams is involved in many committees, has a wide range of teaching experience and is currently vice-chair for the National Canadian Bar Association – criminal section. She has been appointed to the Calgary Criminal Division and Calgary Region effective May 4.
Judicial appointments – existing positions
Gerald T. Annetts received his bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta in 2000. He served as a member of the RCMP for 25 years. From 2015 to 2019, he was the executive director of the legal and regulatory services division with the Edmonton Police Service (EPS), served as general counsel for the chief of police and ensured appropriate legal representation for matters involving the chief, the EPS and its members. During his career, he has participated in numerous professional associations as well as many community and civic activities, including serving as a foster parent and coaching basketball and baseball. He has been appointed to Edmonton Region effective June 1.
Chang (Trang) Thi Doan Du received her bachelor of laws from the University of Victoria in 1999. She is senior counsel for tax law services, Department of Justice of Canada, and has practised primarily in the areas of tax and tort litigation since 1999. She has also practised in various positions for McLennan Ross LLP, the Attorney General of British Columbia and the British Columbia Ministry of Housing and Municipal Affairs. She is a member of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers and the Employment Equity Committee for the Government of Canada. She is actively involved in the Vietnamese community as a community liaison, interpreter, fundraiser and volunteer, including at the Edmonton Vietnamese Language School. She has been appointed to Edmonton Family and Youth Division effective June 1.
David B.H. Findlay, QC, received his bachelor of laws from the University of Calgary in 2002. From 2004 to 2007, he was an associate lawyer for Bruni and Co., and from 2007 to 2009, he was in-house counsel with a land development corporation. In 2009, he founded Findlay Law Firm and, until 2014, he was partner and owner at Findlay Smith LLP. His areas of law include child protection, wills and estates, adoptions, private guardianship and residential real estate. Since 2016, he has been a partner with Findlay McQuaid Law. He is involved in many professional associations and community activities, including as a board member for the Special Olympics and has coached soccer and hockey for the last 12 years. He has been appointed to Family and Youth Court in Calgary effective May 4.
Steven Hinkley, QC, received his bachelor of laws from McGill Law School in 1999. From 2010 to 2012, he was the chief Crown prosecutor for the Fort McMurray Crown prosecutor’s office. In 2012, he became chief Crown prosecutor in the Grande Prairie office and, in 2021, he became senior counsel for regional prosecutions. He has also worked as legal counsel for the RCMP, served as prosecutor for Criminal Code and Controlled Drugs and Substances Act matters in the Northwest Territories and southern New Brunswick, and served as family Crown prosecutor. Hinkley is involved in a variety of restorative justice committees, mentorship programs and many community outreach teaching initiatives. He has been appointed to the Northern Region of the provincial court effective May 4.
Kathleen S.V. Linton received her bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta in 1987. She has been sole practitioner and operated her own firm since 1989. She has been practising exclusively in family and youth representation for about 30 years. She has represented children at the trial and appellate courts who were involved in child protection proceedings, dependent adult applications and custody disputes. Linton has also worked to develop cross-ministry strategies to promote early intervention, conflict/harm reduction and promote counselling or other after care services. In her first 10 years of practice, she was a volunteer and board member for WIN House and Safe House and is a certified mediator. She has been appointed to Edmonton Family and Youth Division effective May 4.
Barry L. Nordin received his bachelor of laws from the University of British Columbia in 1985 and a post-graduate certificate in human rights in 1990. He has been the chief federal prosecutor for the Public Prosecution Service of Canada for the Alberta regional office since 2016. During his career, he has practised in numerous roles, including as chief federal prosecutor, chief Crown prosecutor and Crown counsel, and for Public Prosecution Service of Canada in the Atlantic region, Nunavut region and the Northwest Territories. He was also a Crown prosecutor in both Ontario and British Columbia. His legal responsibilities include file reviews, providing advice on major criminal organizations and reviews of applications to intercept private communications. He is a member of various justice committees including the Alberta Justice Forum. As well, he is a former councillor for the City of Quesnel, B.C. He has been appointed to the Calgary Criminal Division and Calgary Region effective May 9.
Gordon D. Putnam, QC, received his bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta in 1991. Since 1992, he has been practising at Putnam & Lawson in Gibbons and Morinville, where he has been managing partner since 1996. His professional experience has included real estate, corporate, wills and estates, subdivision and land development. He has appeared before many administrative tribunals and all levels of court in Alberta. He has been involved in a number of organizations, including currently serving as co-president of the Rotary Club of Morinville-Sturgeon, where he has been a member since 1996. A former councillor for the Town of Morinville, Putnam has also served as chairman of the Sturgeon County Economic Development Board and been involved with many community organizations in Morinville and Sturgeon County. He has been appointed to Edmonton Region effective June 1.
Lisa C. Tchir, QC, received her bachelor of laws from the University of Alberta (U of A) in 1993. She is currently the assistant deputy minister of the Legal Services Division with Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and was previously the assistant deputy minister of the Consultation, Land and Policy Division with Indigenous Relations, and assistant deputy minister of the Policy Strategy and Innovation Division with Status of Women. She has worked in government for 27 years, with more than 16 years in leadership roles. She worked as a prosecutor in the criminal justice system for more than 20 years, employed on the front line and in leadership in both the federal and provincial prosecutions services. She was also a sessional instructor with the University of Alberta law school, an assistant adjunct professor with the department of emergency medicine at the U of A and a leadership coach. She volunteers extensively in her community and is actively involved in her church. She has been appointed to Edmonton Criminal Division effective May 4.
- Lawyers with at least 10 years at the bar can apply to become a provincial court judge.
- Applications are considered first by the Alberta Judicial Council, which makes recommendations to the Provincial Court Nominating Committee.
- The committee makes recommendations to the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General, who then makes recommendations to cabinet.