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Justice Gloria Epstein in November 2016

Gloria Jean Epstein is a supernumerary judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She had also previously been appointed to the Court of Ontario.[1] On January 1, 2015, Epstein retired to become a supernumerary judge, and was replaced as a full-time judge by Bradley Miller.[2]

Epstein graduated in 1972 from Queen's University, earning an Honours Bachelor of Commerce.[3] Epstein is a graduate of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, earning a Bachelor of Laws in 1977.[4] She founded one of the first Toronto-based law firms that was owned by a woman.[4] She often lectures on the role of female lawyers in Canadian law and her own experience in being raised to the bench while raising three children.[4]

In 1999, Epstein, then serving on the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, ruled in M v H that the definition of a spouse in the Ontario Family Law Act was unconstitutional because it discriminated against homosexuals. The ruling was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Canada after appeals by the Ontario government of Premier Mike Harris.[5] That same year, she also ruled that the plaintiff of Joly v Pelletier had no valid standing before the Court because his claim that he was a martian meant he was not a "person" for the purposes of court proceedings.[6]

In 2011, Epstein was considered a candidate to fill a vacant Supreme Court of Canada seat for Ontario, which ultimately went to Court of Appeal judge Andromache Karakatsanis.[7]

In 2013, Epstein won a Toronto YWCA Women of Distinction Award for her contributions to the legal field.[4] From 2013 to 2015, Epstein served as the volunteer president of the University of Toronto Law Alumni Association.[8]

In 2014, after the December 2013 retirement of Warren Winkler as Chief Justice of Ontario, Epstein was considered as one of the two leading candidates to replace him as Ontario's highest judge.[9]

The Toronto Police Services Board chair cited Epstein's "legal rigour and reputational excellence" as she was retained to head an independent review of the handling of missing persons investigations by Toronto police.[10] Epstein is to retire as a part-time judge on September 1, 2018, to dedicate herself to the review, which is expected to conclude in early 2020.[11]

Epstein began horse-riding in 1986, when she was 35. At The Royal 2012 she won the Adult Amateur Stake with a horse named Moonshadow. Epstein was overall Adult Amateurs champion with a horse called High Voltage on the Canadian Circuit in back-to-back years. In June 2013, Epstein was both the Champion and Reserve Champion in the Adult Amateurs at the Palgrave Summer Classic show.[12]


  1. ^ "Judicial Biography". Retrieved September 10, 2013.
  2. ^ Taddese, Yamri (June 24, 2015). "Controversial judicial appointment in Ontario". Canadian Lawyer Magazine. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  3. ^ "The Honourable Justice Gloria Epstein". Queen's University. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d "U of T's YWCA Women of Distinction 2013". U of T News. University of Toronto. March 12, 2013. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  5. ^ Makin, Kirk (May 21, 1999). "Gay couples win rights". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  6. ^ Joly v. Pelletier et al. (Ontario Superior Court May 16, 1999). Text
  7. ^ Makin, Kirk (June 8, 2011). "Two Ontario judges frontrunners for Supreme Court vacancies". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  8. ^ Ciccocioppo, Lucianna (Spring–Summer 2015). "Q & A with Justice Gloria Epstein, LLB 1977". Nexus. University of Toronto Faculty of Law. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  9. ^ MacCharles, Tonda (June 4, 2014). "Ontario's top judicial seat sits empty six months after chief justice retired". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 23, 2016.
  10. ^ Freeman, Joshua (25 June 2018). "Judge named to head review of Toronto police handling of missing person cases". CTV News. Toronto: Bell Media. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  11. ^ Germano, Daniela (25 June 2018). "Toronto police board retains judge to lead review into missing persons cases". The Toronto Star. Toronto: Toronto Star Newspapers Limited. Retrieved 30 June 2018.
  12. ^ Graham, Laurel (October 23, 2013). "'Gloria the Good' Named YWCA Woman of Distinction". Ontario Equestrian Federation. Retrieved November 24, 2016.