The first Greek-Canadian jurist of Supreme Court in Canada
Andromache Karakatsanis is a jurist to the Supreme Court of Canada and the first Greek-Canadian judge on Supreme Court in Canada.
Karakatsanis was born on 3 October 1955 in Toronto of Canada. Her parents were from Greece and she was raised with an emphasis on her Greek heritage. She studied English Literature in Victoria College at the University of Toronto, where she graduated in 1977. Afterwards she completed her legal training at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School, where she received her Bachelor of Laws in 1980.
Two years later, in 1982, Karakatsanis was called to the Ontario bar. For the period 1982 – 1983, she served as a law clerk for the judges of the Ontario Court of Appeal and then entered private practice. There she practiced criminal, civil and family litigation in Toronto.
“We were expected to pick a profession. That was one of the advantages of being in an immigrant family. I had no choice. I was going to go to university, I was going to pick a profession, and I was going to work hard. I am very grateful to my parents,” she says. Extremely proud of her Greek heritage, she says it helped her as a lawyer and as a judge. “It made me more sensitive to different cultures, different perspectives.”
In 1987, Karakatsanis was appointed to the Liquor Licensing Board of Ontario as Vice-Chair. One year later, she was appointed as Chair and then CEO. She held that position until her 1995 appointment as Assistant Deputy Attorney General and Secretary of the Ontario Native Affairs Secretariat.
In 1997, she was named Deputy Attorney General for the province of Ontario and in 2000 she became Secretary of the Cabinet and Clerk of the Executive Council of the Government of Ontario. She kept that position until November 2002.
In December 2002, she was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and developed an expertise in administrative law. On March 26 2010, she was elevated to the Ontario Court of Appeal. After serving for 19 months, she was appointed to the Supreme Court.
Andromache Karakatsanis, while in the public service, was actively involved in issues related to education and reform in the field of administrative justice. She was a recipient of the Society of Ontario Adjudicators and Regulators (SOAR) Medal in 1996 for outstanding service to Ontario’s administrative justice system. She volunteered extensively with the YMCA of Greater Toronto from 1990 to 2002 and held a number of senior positions, including that of Chair of the Board of Directors. She also served as a member of the Board of the Public Policy Forum and of Canadian Policy and Research Networks (CPRN). In 2015, she was made a Grand Commander of the Order of Honour by the Government of Greece.
She is married to Tom Karvanis and they have two children, Paul and Rhea.