Justice deputy minister appointed newest judge to Yukon territorial court

·2 min read
John Phelps has been appointed judge to the Yukon Territorial Court. (Yukon government - image credit)
John Phelps has been appointed judge to the Yukon Territorial Court. (Yukon government - image credit)

Yukon's deputy minister of justice has been appointed as a judge to the Territorial Court.

John Phelps is replacing Judge Peter Chisholm, who is retiring.

Yukon's judicial council, which is responsible for assessing applications, recommended Phelps' appointment.

The announcement was made Thursday through a government news release.

On Friday, Premier Sandy Silver appointed Jeff Ford, a 15-year veteran of the Yukon public service, as interim deputy minister of the Department of Justice.

Broad experience

Phelps, a long time Yukon lawyer, served as a Crown prosecutor and as a defence lawyer before becoming deputy minister.

"He has broad experience and knowledge of Yukon First Nations' history, culture and experiences of the justice system, and has been a strong advocate for advancing reconciliation within the territory's justice system, informed by Yukon First Nations self-government agreements," said Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee in the news release.

Phelps received his law degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1997 after earning an economics degree at Simon Fraser University. Previously, he attended Yukon College.

He's been active with many groups and organizations in the territory to promote issues such as alternative and restorative justice.

Phelps is the son of Willard Phelps, a former Yukon MLA and government leader.

New interim deputy minister

The new interim deputy minister of the Department of Justice has worked in the Yukon public service for 15 years, serving since February 2019 as assistant deputy minister in the executive council.

Previously, Ford worked in several executive positions including nine years as director of public safety and investigations with the Department of Justice. He also worked as interim assistant deputy minister in the Department of Health and Social Services.

"Jeff Ford has extensive experience with justice initiatives and a strong track record as a thoughtful and inclusive leader. I look forward to continuing to work with him in his new role," said Silver in a news release.

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