Ontario Superior Court welcomes new judges Ira Parghi and Benita Wassenaar

Parghi is a lawyer in Toronto, while Wassenaar served as crown counsel

Ontario Superior Court welcomes new judges Ira Parghi and Benita Wassenaar

The Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Arif Virani, has announced the appointments of Ira G. Parghi and Benita Wassenaar as judges of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario in Toronto.

Justice Ira G. Parghi, a sole practitioner in Toronto, will replace Justice C.A. Gilmore, who became a supernumerary judge effective August 23, 2023. Born and raised in Kamloops, Justice Parghi is the daughter of Indian immigrants. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Public Policy (with distinction) from Stanford University, a Bachelor of Laws from the University of Toronto, and a Master of Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government. She has been admitted to the bars of Ontario, New York, and California.

Justice Parghi’s extensive practice in litigation and advisory work spans multiple jurisdictions, focusing on privacy and information law, health regulatory law, tort law, digital health, and artificial intelligence. Her clients have included hospitals, medtech companies, universities, and non-profits. She has served as Co-Chair of the University of Toronto Tribunal and has been recognized in the Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory. Her professional experience includes positions at Torys, Lax O’Sullivan Cronk (now Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb), Borden Ladner Gervais, Ropes & Gray, and INQ Law.

Justice Parghi has actively contributed to the legal profession and the community through her roles on the Canadian Blood Services Research Ethics Board and the boards of the South Asian Bar Association—Toronto, the South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario, and the Gerstein Crisis Centre.

Justice Benita Wassenaar, previously crown counsel at the Crown Law Office (Criminal) of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario, will replace Justice T. Ducharme, who became a supernumerary judge effective October 1, 2023.

Born and raised in Toronto, Justice Wassenaar holds an Honours degree in Business Administration from Western University and a Masters in Environmental Studies from York University. She graduated from law school at the University of British Columbia and clerked at the Court of Appeal for British Columbia. She was called to the Bar of Ontario in 2001.

Justice Wassenaar has served as counsel at the Crown Law Office – Criminal, appearing at all levels of court in Ontario and handling numerous complex appeals in the Court of Appeal for Ontario and the Supreme Court of Canada. She has held several administrative and managerial roles, including Summer Student Program Coordinator, Counsel to the Director, and Deputy Director. She has also been a member of the F/P/T Heads of Prosecution sub-committee on the Prevention of Miscarriages of Justice and was appointed to the Death Investigation Oversight Council in 2023.

Justice Wassenaar has been an articling principal to law students and a mentor to lawyers. She has run an annual Crown school course on Appellate Advocacy, taught Legal Research and Writing, assisted with moots, and volunteered with the Ontario Justice Education Network.

"I wish Justices Parghi and Wassenaar every success as they take on their new roles. I am confident they will serve Ontarians well as members of the Superior Court of Justice of Ontario," said Minister Virani.

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