Judge Maryka Omatsu
Maryka Omatsu is the first East Asian woman to be appointed a judge in Canada. Prior to this appointment, she practiced criminal and administrative law for 16 years in Toronto.
Judge Omatsu was on the National Association of Japanese Canadians’ (NAJC) strategy and negotiation team that won Redress in 1988 for her community. Her book, Bittersweet Passage, documented that struggle and won the Prime Minister’s Award for Publishing and the Laura Jamieson Prize for “best feminist book”. In 2018, her Toronto Community Film Festival award-winning video, Swimming Upstream, set out the Japanese Canadian case for Redress from the British Columbia government.
Judge Omatsu has been named to the: Canadian Race Relations Foundation: Special Advisory Council (2018); NAJC’s Steering Committee for B.C. Redress (2019) and National Honorary Advisory Committee (2017). She has been awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from Ryerson University (2019); the Order of Ontario (2015); the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association Trailblazer of the Year (2013); and the Federation of Asian Canadian Lawyers’ Lifetime Achievement Award (2010).