While the Chief Justice retains the discretion to assign judges according to the needs of the Court at any time, it is the general policy of the Ontario Court of Justice that no personal request for permanent reassignment will be considered for a period of at least five years following a judge’s appointment.
The determination of a judicial vacancy involves a review and assessment of the needs of the Court and a long-term commitment to the community in which the vacancy is declared. It is a commitment that is made both by the Court and by the judge who is appointed to that position. Generally speaking, where a judge is appointed to sit at a base court location and the judge does not live within that community or near to it, the Court will expect the judge to move either to the community or to within a reasonable distance of it shortly after the judge’s appointment. The Court will, as set out in the Judge’s Manual in those circumstances, pay for the cost of transportation for the judge and the judge’s family, and for moving expenses.
Once a judge has been on the bench for a period of five years, the judge may request a re-assignment to another base court location. If a vacancy subsequently arises, that request will be considered along with requests received from other judges who wish to move to the same location. Other factors will also be taken into account, including the needs of the locations involved, the views of the regional senior judges and of the judges at the affected locations.