Specific Claims Tribunal of Canada



Member Appointments

The Tribunal shall consist of no more than six full-time members; or any number of part-time members, or combination of full-time and part-time members, so long as the combined time devoted to their functions and duties does not exceed the combined time that would be devoted by six full-time members.  The Governor in Council shall establish a roster of six to eighteen superior court judges to act as members of the Tribunal.  The Chairperson and other members may be appointed from the roster by the Governor in Council.  Each member shall be appointed for a term not exceeding five years and holds office so long as he or she remains a superior court judge.  Each member, on the expiry of the first term of office, is eligible to be reappointed for one further term. 

Current Members

The Honourable Harry Slade, Chairperson

Justice Slade was admitted to the Bar of British Columbia in 1974.  His primary area of practice as a lawyer was Aboriginal Law.  He has extensive experience in Specific Claims negotiation, including the British Columbia cut-off land claims.  He was active in the litigation of Aboriginal law issues, including representation of national and provincial First Nations organizations on interventions before the Supreme Court of Canada in seminal cases concerned with S. 35, Constitution Act, 1982.  His work included intergovernmental relations among First Nations, Canada and Provinces, including Treaty processes, self-government initiatives, and commercial development of reserve lands.  As a lawyer, Justice Slade also worked with First Nations on ventures in forestry, fishing, and energy resource development.  He practiced law at Ratcliff & Company, a North Vancouver, British Columbia, law firm with an extensive aboriginal and environmental law practice. 

Justice Slade was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1998 and became a Justice of the British Columbia Supreme Court in March 2001.

The Governor in Council initially appointed Justice Slade to the Specific Claims Tribunal as a Tribunal Member on November 26, 2009. He was appointed Chairperson on December 11, 2010. When Justice Slade volunteered, the Chief Justice of the BC Supreme Court nominated him for reappointments. He has since been re-appointed Chairperson for two consecutive five-year terms, the most recent of which commenced on December 11, 2015.          

The Specific Claims Tribunal adjudicates claims brought by First Nations, including claims related to reserve lands and treaties.

The Honourable Johanne Mainville

Justice Johanne Mainville studied at the University of Montreal in history of art (B.A., 1979) and in law (L.L.B., 1983). She was called to the Bar of Québec in 1984. She practiced as a lawyer in various law firms, and at the time of her appointment to the bench, she was a partner at Gowling, Lafleur, Henderson  LLP.

She was appointed Judge of the Superior Court of Québec on November 22, 2006.

Justice Mainville has an extensive background in aboriginal, constitutional and administrative law. Throughout her career as a lawyer, she was involved in numerous matters involving aboriginal and treaty rights.  These included negotiations concerning the administration of justice in aboriginal communities, the creation of a new forestry regime in Northern Québec and the implementation of treaties.  She also led important litigation involving aboriginal peoples and concerning the implementation of land claims agreements, environmental and social impact processes and constitutional issues.

Justice Mainville was first appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on November 27, 2009. Her current appointment to the Tribunal will expire on December 19, 2016.

The Honourable W. Larry Whalen

Justice W. Larry Whalen was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario in Sault Ste. Marie on May 6, 1992.  As a member of a generalist court, he circuits in the vast territorial Northeast Region of Ontario (comprising Sault Ste. Marie, Sudbury, Gore Bay, Parry Sound, North Bay, Haileybury, Timmins and Cochrane).  He has wide experience in all areas of civil and criminal law.  He serves regularly on the Ontario Divisional Court and has served as an “ad hoc” member of the Ontario Court of Appeal.    

Justice Whalen was born and raised in Sault Ste. Marie.  He graduated with a B.A. (Hon.) in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto, and an M.A. in Canadian Studies (focusing on Canadian constitutional issues) from Carleton University.  He completed his LLB in 1973 at the University of Toronto Law School, articled with a large law firm in Toronto and was called to the Ontario bar in 1974.  As a practitioner, Justice Whalen specialized in litigation, including civil litigation and family law.  For the last 8 years of his legal career he was also a special federal prosecutor.    

Justice Whalen served for eight years (until 2008) as a director of the Canadian Superior Court Judges Association, where he acted as chair of the Members’ Advisory Committee and founding chair of the Technology Committee.  He is a founding and current director of the Canadian Centre for Court Technology, where he serves as chair of the Governance Committee. In 2010 he was also co-chair of the Centre’s 2010 “Forum on Technology” Conference and at the Centre’s recent “Forum 2012” he moderated a panel on eTrials. He is currently a member of the Chief Justice’s Information Technology Advisory Committee and of the Ontario Joint Courts IT Committee. 

In December 2012, Justice Whalen was appointed to a four-year term as a part time member of the Specific Claims Tribunal.

The Honourable William G. E. Grist

Biography coming soon

The Honourable Barry G.A. MacDougall

Biography coming soon

The Honourable Paul Maye

Biography coming soon

Former Members


The Honourable Patrick Smith

Justice Patrick Smith, a Superior Court of Ontario Judge, was first appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on November 27, 2009, for a one-year term.  He was re‑appointed on November 27, 2010 for a two-year term.

Justice Smith was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario (Thunder Bay, Ontario) in October 2001.  He has extensive experience in criminal and complex civil litigation with a special interest in alternate dispute resolution and mediation.  He has been extensively involved for several years in the education of lawyers and judges, is a member of the Superior Court of Ontario Judicial Education Committee, a faculty member of the National Judicial Institute and past instructor at the Ontario Bar Admission Programme.

The Honorable Jocelyn Geoffroy

Justice Jocelyn Geoffroy has a master’s degree in business administration, a Bachelor of Laws as well as a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Ottawa. Called to the Bar in 1984, he first acted as Senior General Counsel at the Fédération des caisses populaires Desjardins in Abitibi. He practised as a lawyer from 1987 to 2008 with the firm of Geoffroy Matte et Associés, with offices in Abitibi-Témiscamingue, in the Outaouais region and in North Bay in northern Ontario.

In nearly 25 years of practice, Justice Geoffroy specialized in civil law, property law, corporate law, commercial law, insurance law and aboriginal law litigation. He was appointed to the Superior Court of Quebec on February 20, 2008.

His involvement in the Amos region has included service as Bâtonnier in 2001-2002, President of the Chamber of Commerce in 1994-1995 and President of the Community Residential Centre. He was also an administrator of various health care institutions and development organizations.

Originally from Parent, Justice Geoffroy regularly presides in courts in the districts of Abitibi, Rouyn-Noranda and Témiscamingue.

The Honourable Jocelyn Geoffroy was appointed to the Specific Claims Tribunal on December 20, 2011, for a one-year term.