By Chad Ingram
Published Aug. 10 2017
Former Haliburton-Kawartha Lakes-Brock MPP Rick Johnson has been named an Ontario justice of the peace.
According to the Ministry of the Attorney General Johnson is one of 25 new justices of the peace announced in late July.
He will serve in the Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa and was scheduled to begin his new position on Aug. 9.
A professional musician and former chairman of the Trillium Lakelands District School Board Johnson was the Liberal MPP between 2009 and 2011 after defeating then-Progressive Conservative leader John Tory in a by-election.
Tory did not have a seat in Queen’s Park at the time and local PC MPP Laurie Scott vacated her to seat to allow Tory to run in a by-election in the riding.
Johnson then lost the seat back to Scott in the 2011 provincial election and ran unsuccessfully against her in the 2014.
Johnson who currently sits on Durham College’s board of governors has held various positions within government and since 2014 has worked as a senior consultant with Toronto’s Capital Hill Group a government relations and lobbying firm.
“Respecting criminal law justices of the peace preside over virtually all judicial interim release (bail) hearings in the province and the majority of criminal remand courts” reads the ministry website. “They also preside over other criminal hearings. They receive informations (the document which commences a criminal proceeding) confirm or consider the issuance of process by either a summons or a warrant and are responsible for receiving and considering the denial or issuance of search warrants and other matters of criminal process.”
Regulations also state that “on appointment a justice of the peace must cease other employment and refrain from any political activity.”
Ontario justices of the peace do not require a legal background.
“The justice of the peace bench is a lay bench” the ministry website reads. “There is no requirement that a candidate for the position have legal training or experience in the justice system. As a result justices of the peace have varied educational business and community backgrounds. All new justices of the peace regardless of background go through a rigorous training and mentoring program prior to presiding on their own.”
Justices of the peace are paid $131000 a year.
A shortage of justices of the peace in the province’s Central East district has led to provincial offence proceedings at the Minden courthouse to be suspended for a year – from July 1 2017 to July 1 2018 – with those proceedings taking place in Lindsay instead.