The Rainy River District Law Association congratulates Justice Terry Peter Waltenbury on his appointment today to the Ontario Court of Justice in Fort Frances.
Justice Waltenbury will be the only judge based in the Rainy River District. His appointment fills a decade-long vacancy at the Fort Frances Courthouse.
The Rainy River District has been without a local judge for 11 years, following the departure of Justice Thomas McKay in 2012. Since that time, local provincial courts have been presided over by visiting judges from across Ontario, but primarily from the Kenora District. The Rainy River District Law Association, with the support of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations, has been continuously lobbying provincial officials to place a provincial court judge in Fort Frances.
Judges of the Ontario Court of Justice, also known as the provincial court, hear the majority of criminal and family law matters in the province. Consequently, the provincial court is Ontario’s busiest court. The Northwest Region is also served by Superior Court judges (who are federal appointees). They are based in Kenora and Thunder Bay.
The Rainy River District Law Association extends its thanks to Kenora—Rainy River MPP Greg Rickford and Attorney General Doug Downey for their support, and their understanding of the need for a locally-based judge to facilitate access to justice and maintain a responsive and efficient justice system in the Rainy River District. We also thank Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas for allocating this judicial position to Fort Frances.
Douglas W. Judson, President of the Rainy River District Law Association and Chair of the Federation of Ontario Law Associations:
“Justice Waltenbury's appointment today is a breakthrough after more than a decade of advocacy by the local law association and others in the community. Having a judge based in your community helps to create a more locally-responsive justice system. It improves access to justice. It means that the judiciary will be closer to the issues in your community. The bar is looking forward to welcoming Justice Waltenbury to Fort Frances. We are grateful to Attorney General Doug Downey and our local MPP, Greg Rickford, for their recognition of the importance of this role to our court and the communities it serves.”
Douglas W. Judson
President, Rainy River District Law Associations
Chair, Federation of Ontario Law Associations