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Feds announce two appointments to Ontario Superior Court of Justice

Monday, October 05, 2020 @ 11:25 AM | By John Chunn

The federal Department of Justice (DOJ) on Oct. 5 announced two judicial appointments for the province of Ontario. 

Roger Chown, a partner at Carroll Heyd Chown LLP in Barrie, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario. Justice Chown replaces Justice John R. Sproat (Owen Sound), who elected to become a supernumerary judge effective Sept. 26, 2018.

Joanne Bruhn, a sole practitioner in Barrie, is appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Justice, Family Court Branch in Newmarket. Justice Bruhn fills the remaining position authorized under the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1.

According to the DOJ press release, Justice Chown was born and raised in St. Catharines. He studied mechanical engineering at Queen’s University, graduating in 1985. He worked as an engineer at a nuclear station and earned his professional engineer designation before deciding on a career change that took him into the law. He earned his law degree from the University of Windsor in 1991.

After articling and working as a lawyer in Toronto until 1994, Justice Chown moved to Barrie to join what was then Carroll Heyd. His main area of practice was civil litigation, primarily insurance-related litigation.

Justice Chown actively volunteered in several professional organizations, notably The Advocates’ Society and Canadian Defence Lawyers. He served on the board of directors of The Advocates’ Society from 2008 to 2011 and then on numerous committees and task forces of the society until 2019. He helped draft multiple submissions on legislative reforms in the insurance and personal injury area. He was appointed a director of Canadian Defence Lawyers in 2018, and he has also served on its Public Policy Secretariat. Justice Chown enjoys teaching and mentoring. He was a co-chair of The Advocates’ Society’s Court House Series program in Barrie from its inaugural program in 2016 until 2020. He has been a frequent speaker at legal education programs, often on advocacy and legal technology topics.

Justice Bruhn earned a BA from Queen’s University in 1991 and an LL.B. from the University of Western Ontario in 1994. She was admitted to the bar of Ontario in 1996.

Justice Bruhn has been a sole practitioner in Barrie since 1997. Her practice focused primarily on family law and mediation services. She has represented financially disadvantaged clients through the Legal Aid Ontario certificate and duty counsel programs, as well as children in family law and child-protection proceedings through the Office of the Children’s Lawyer. Since 2008, Justice Bruhn has been assisting parties in resolving their family law issues as a comprehensive mediator with the Barrie Mediation Centre and a member of the Ontario Association for Family Mediation. She has also worked as a dispute resolution officer in Central East Ontario since 2010.

Justice Bruhn has been involved in the legal community for many years in her roles as vice-president and treasurer of the Simcoe County Family Law Lawyers’ Association and through her work as a member of the Legal Aid Area Committee. She has also been a member of the Simcoe County Law Association since 1998.