Second Chance Scholarship Foundation Co-founder Named First Black Chief Justice of Ontario

This Black man has made an impact in his community and the courts.

Michael Tulloch, who has maneuvered from a Crown attorney to a judge on the Superior Court, has made history by becoming the first Black chief justice on the Ontario Court of Appeal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Tulloch as the new Chief Justice of Ontario and President of the Court of Appeal for Ontario on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

According to Toronto Star, Tulloch replaces Chief Justice George Strathy, who retired in August, drawing praise from community leaders and colleagues, including Justice Patrick LeSage, who has been impressed with Tulloch since he was a Crown attorney in the 1990s.

Toronto entrepreneur and civil rights activist Denham Jolly shared his belief that Tulloch, who he has known for over 30 years, is brilliant and will amplify diversity, saying Tulloch’s appointment “will send the message that there’s going to be fairness, as much as it’s in his ability.”

After being called by the previous Liberal provincial government to lead two reviews on police oversight and police street checks, Tulloch released a report in 2017 recommending better transparency from the Special Investigations Unit that usually kept investigation incidents hidden from the public.

“Those reports were essential reading for anyone who practices in the justice system, and it shows he has a keen understanding of how police interact with the public and how that can impact our confidence in the justice system,” said lawyer Daniel Brown, president of the Criminal Lawyers’ Association.

Lawyer Danielle Robitaille praised Tulloch’s emotional intelligence and ability to connect with a wide array of stakeholders, saying, “He could make himself completely approachable in meetings involving police unions, and also meetings involving mothers of sons who had been shot dead by police.”

University of Windsor law professor David Tanovich added to the praise, sharing Tulloch’s abilities to address the challenges of anti-Black racism.

Tulloch co-founded the Second Chance Scholarship Foundation alongside his work in the courts, helping young adults who have come into conflict with the law.

Tulloch was born in Jamaica and received his law degree from Osgoode Hall Law School. He was admitted to the Ontario bar in 1991, practiced as a Crown attorney, and progressed in his career as a criminal defense lawyer before he was appointed to Superior Court in 2003.