Jun 19, 2024

Gail L. Gatchalian is the first female Canadian Filipino to be appointed justice for a provincial supreme court.

Lawyer Gail L. Gatchalian, QC was recently appointed as Justice with the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia. The announcement was made by Canada’s Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada David Lametti in April.

Gatchalian, daughter of Dr. Celso Gatchalian who immigrated from the Philippines, is the first female Canadian Filipino to be appointed to a provincial supreme court.

Gatchalian graduated from the Dalhousie University with a bachelor of science degree with honours in 1993 and a bachelor of laws from the University of Toronto in 1996.

She articled with the firm Cavalluzzo Hayes Shilton McIntyre and Cornish in Toronto before returning to Nova Scotia in 1999 to join Pink Larkin in Halifax where she specialized in labour, employment, human rights and constitutional law for over 20 years.

In 2018, Gatchalian received her Queen’s Counsel (QC) designation for her exceptional contribution to the legal profession.

Aside from practicing law, Gatchalian is also a former president and equity chair of the Canadian Bar Association’s Nova Scotia (CBANS) branch, former chair of the CBA National Labour and Employment Law Section and former chair of the Nova Scotia Human Rights Board. She recently chaired the CBANS Sexual Harassment Work Group, leading the development and delivery of Empowering Bystanders training to address sexual harassment in workplaces.

Together with Gatchalian, two others were appointed: Jean M. Dewolfe and Lloyd I. Berliner.

Gatchalian replaces Justice P. J. Duncan who was appointed Associate Chief Justice in 2020.

In a media release provided by the Department of Justice Canada, Minister Lametti said, “I wish Justices Dewolfe, Berliner and Gatchalian every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve the people of Nova Scotia well as members of the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia.”

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