April 1, 2023

Canadian taxpayers have so far paid $2.2 million in legal fees to defend Judge Gérard Dugré, dismissed for his outrageous comments and excessive delays in writing his judgments.

• Read also: Dubious humor and repeated delays: Judge Gérard Dugré challenges his dismissal

• Read also: A judge severely blamed by the Judicial Council following our investigation

• Read also: Dismissal of judge Gérard Dugré confirmed

And the bill has not finished mounting, since Judge Dugré has decided to challenge his dismissal before the Federal Court.

The ousted magistrate also continues to be paid his full salary of $338,000 per year, even though he has not sat since 2020 due to proceedings before the Canadian Judicial Council.

According to figures obtained by our Bureau of Inquiry, Ottawa spent $2.2 million, divided between seven lawyers from two Montreal offices, so that Judge Dugré could present his defense to the Conseil de la magistrature.

For the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, it is time that such expenses were brought under control.

“I hope this is the last time that taxpayers will have to assume the challenge of the dismissal of a judge,” said his spokesperson, Nicolas Gagnon.

“I am glad to know that there is a bill to put an end to this practice. But there is nothing acceptable about any of this,” he added.

Many complaints

The proceedings against Judge Dugré, who sat at the Superior Court of Quebec in Montreal, lasted more than two years, before the latter was dismissed last December.

It had been the subject of a series of complaints from the general public and legal circles.

Among other things, he was criticized for his questionable humor, his inappropriate comments and his repeated delays in writing his judgments.

The amount for Justice Dugré’s legal fees that we obtained comes from public documents and was confirmed to us by the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, the organization responsible for paying the legal fees of judges appointed by Ottawa.

Last week, Judge Dugré filed a motion in Federal Court to have his dismissal overturned. The long document, which is nearly 90 pages, is a real attack on the decision of the Judicial Council.

If he loses in the Federal Court, the magistrate will be able to appeal to the Federal Court of Appeal, then, if necessary, to the Supreme Court.

No retirement pension

However, Judge Dugré will not be able to touch his retirement pension, since he has not completed the required minimum of 15 years of service before the announcement of his dismissal.

A recent case resembles that of Judge Dugré. This is Judge Michel Girouard, of the Superior Court of Quebec, in Abitibi, dismissed in 2018. He ended up resigning after bringing his case unsuccessfully to the Supreme Court, and just before the Canadian Parliament confirms his dismissal. This legal saga had cost the public treasury more than $4 million.

Despite our requests, it was impossible to obtain Judge Dugré’s comments.


  • 2018-2019 : Filing of seven separate complaints against Judge Dugré at the Canadian Judicial Council.
  • March 2020 : An inquiry committee of the Conseil de la magistrature obtains the mandate to examine the complaints.
  • January 2021 : Beginning of the public hearings of the inquiry committee.
  • June 2022 : Publication of the report of the inquiry committee which recommends the dismissal of Judge Dugré.
  • December 2022 : The Judicial Council confirms the dismissal of Judge Dugré.
  • January 2023 : Judge Dugré decides to challenge his dismissal before the Federal Court.


A sample of his inappropriate comments made in court:

In the dungeon with the rats!

“You could be in contempt of court. […] That means we could send you to think for a few moments in a cell […]. We have two kinds: one for the ladies, where there are little mice that we don’t feed. Then there are men, where there are rats […] ; they are hungry. »

“Advice” to parents who argue

“Let’s give [l’enfant] up for adoption. That’s the other solution I can take. I give the child up for adoption. […] If the parents are not able to take care of it, it is the other [solution]. »

“But the magic solution, I always have it. […] It’s that I order the parts to come back together, then to elevate [l’enfant] until he is 18 years old. But unfortunately this is not a solution […] which is accepted by the parties. I find it fantastic. »

His definition of alcoholism

“There are many who take two bottles of wine a day, one at noon, one in the evening, and […] they are not alcoholics at all, because they like wine. […] But the guy who takes a glass of wine and gets totally angry […], he has to be careful, he can’t touch that. He has no right, because he comes totally mad. So that’s alcoholism. »

A surprising question

“Your client isn’t charged with sexual assault yet?” »

Joke question asked by Judge Dugré to a lawyer who represents a supplier to the Just for Laughs festival. The judge refers to the case of the founder of the festival, Gilbert Rozon.

Source: Transcripts provided by the Judicial Council.

A bill to correct shortcomings

A bill about to be adopted by the Canadian Parliament will make it possible to avoid, in the future, that excessive sums are spent during the dismissal of a judge appointed by Ottawa.

Called for by the legal community, this new draft of the Judges Act, which is currently submitted for approval to the Senate, will ensure that a magistrate will cease to obtain his salary as soon as his dismissal is pronounced by the Canadian Council of the judiciary.

Appeals to the courts will also be limited, since only the Supreme Court can rule on the dismissal of a judge.

Currently, a dismissed magistrate can also apply to the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal to contest his dismissal, as is the case with Judge Gérard Dugré.

According to the assistant dean at the Faculty of Law at the University of Ottawa, Pierre Thibault, these changes are welcome.

The good of all

“For the good of all, the new law will ensure that the delays will be significantly reduced in the study of complaints against judges and also for the follow-up to be given to the decisions of the Judicial Council”, he underlined. .

For his part, the executive director of appointments at the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, Philippe Lacasse, confirms that the new law aims to reduce the cases of abuse of process observed in certain judges in the past.

” It is the objective [de la nouvelle loi] “, he explained.

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