The Honourable Madam Justice
|Puisne Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada|
December 1, 2014
|Born||September 21, 1958|
|Spouse(s)||Gérald R. Tremblay|
|Alma mater||Université Laval|
Suzanne Côté (born September 21, 1958) is a puisne justice of the Supreme Court of Canada. She was nominated by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to replace retiring justice Louis LeBel. Prior to being appointed to the Supreme Court, she was a partner at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP and previously Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montréal. She is the first woman appointed to the Supreme Court directly from private practice.
She had wanted to be a lawyer since age 11. While her mother wanted her to become a teacher, as a child Suzanne enjoyed reading about high-profile legal cases. Côté did her legal studies at the Faculté de droit de l'Université Laval.
While a student, Côté worked at a small law firm in Gaspé. She bought half of her employer's practice. Côté was called to the Bar of Quebec in 1981. She went on to become a partner at Stikeman Elliott LLP in Montréal, and later Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. At Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt, she oversaw the firm's Montreal office litigation group while her own practice area centered around complex civil and commercial cases. Her clients in private practice included Jean Pelletier, who once served as chief of staff to Prime Minister Jean Chretien, and Imperial Tobacco. She defended Imperial Tobacco in a 2012 class-action lawsuit by arguing that the public had been aware of the negative effects of smoking since the 1960s.
She was nominated to the Supreme Court of Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper to replace retiring justice Louis LeBel. She was appointed a puisne justice on December 1, 2014. She is the first woman appointed directly from private practice.
In June 2018, Côté wrote a concurrence when the majority found that the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal's determination that the Indian Act did not violate the Canadian Human Rights Act was reasonable due to judicial deference, in which she argued instead that the Tribunal's decision was correct.