The federal Department of Justice announced on April 6, 2020 the appointment of Steve Coroza as Justice of the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
It was the third historic appointment for Coroza, son of Filipino immigrants to Canada.
Coroza is the first and only Canadian Filipino to be appointed to the Court of Appeal for Ontario, and before this, the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, and the Ontario Court of Justice.
David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, made the announcement.
The Philippine Consulate General in Toronto issued a media release dated April 19, 2020, hailing the appointment of Coroza.
“This singular achievement brings honor and pride not only to his family but also to the larger Filipino-Canadian community, which has conveyed its warm congratulations on his appointment,” the consulate stated.
Lametti’s announcement recalled that Coroza was appointed to the Ontario Court of Justice (St. Catharines) in 2009, and to the Superior Court of Justice (Brampton) in 2013.
Coroza received his bachelor of laws degree from the University of Windsor and was admitted to the Bar of Ontario in 1997. He also received a master of laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2003.
Coroza was a staff duty counsel for Ontario Legal Aid in Toronto from 1997 to 1998. From 1998 to 2009, he was senior counsel with the Department of Justice and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, where his main area of practice was criminal law.
Coroza was a member of the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers. He is a past adjunct instructor of the Trial Advocacy Course at Osgoode Hall Law School and a guest instructor with the University of Notre Dame Law School.
Coroza frequently participates as a panelist in continuing education programs for lawyers and judges. He was also a co-author of a publication entitled Sentencing Drug Offenders.
Coroza and his spouse, Mary, a nurse practitioner, have three children.
In 2013, following Coroza’s appointment as the first Canadian Filipino to the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario, the North America-based Asian Journal reported that during his younger years, Coroza sought academic excellence.
Coroza was born in Belleville, Ontario, and raised in Toronto.
His parents are Lota Banate Coroza, a native of Roxas City in Capiz province in the Philippines, and Romy Mabilangan Coroza of Santo Tomas town in the province of Batangas.
The Asian Journal quoted a 2013 press release from then Philippine Ambassador to Canada Leslie B. Gatan, saying that he joins “Filipino communities across Canada in celebrating Justice Coroza’s latest achievement”.
“His elevation to a prominent position in the Canadian judiciary sharpens the visibility of Filipinos in Canada’s multicultural society and should inspire younger generations of Filipino-Canadians to aim for excellence in all their endeavors,” Gatan said at the time.