CORNWALL, Ontario – Ginette Forgues always knew she wanted to explore a career in the legal world – it just took a little time.
The local retired educator has been tapped as one of 21 new justices of the peace that will assume the bench later this year.
Forgues will sit in the Cornwall area.
She said in an interview when she was completing her schooling more than 30 years ago she had a choice between teaching and entering the legal field.
“I was anxious to get married and start a family,” she said, adding a career in law would have required more schooling. “I opted for education and I loved my career.”
But three decades of schools, classroom and students as both a teacher and a longtime principal are being traded for courtrooms, lawyers and prisoners beginning this spring with nine months of intensive training.
“I always wanted to pursue the legal field,” said Forgues. “I’m still young and have the ability to give back to the community.”
Her dream was no secret among family members, and it was her daughter-in-law Robyn Hurtubise who brought an ad to Forgues’ Cornwall home last year along with a strong suggestion that she file an application.
“She was the real wind beneath my wings,” said Forgues, who is married to husband Jacques Frappier and has two children, daughter Cassandre and son Gabriel.
A detailed application was filed with the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the selection process included an interview with 15 members of the legal community, including judges, justices and lawyers.
Forgues was put at ease by the “warmth” of the questions put to her by the panel.
“It was a very welcoming interview,” she said. “They made me feel at ease.”
Forgues finally got the call last week advising her of her success.
She’s also received many phone calls from local judges and justices with messages of congratulations.
“It shows you that it is really a tight-knit community,” said Forgues.
Her unofficial swearing-in takes place March 12, and later this year she will be officially sworn-in as a justice.
FAST FACTS (courtesy of the Ministry of the Attorney General):
Justice of the Peace Ginette Forgues has a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Ottawa and an Ontario teacher’s certificate from Laurentian University. She is bilingual and has worked as a teacher and school principal for the French Catholic School Board of Eastern Ontario for the past 34 years. She has also worked as a mentor for new principals and vice-principals. She has been a volunteer for the Optimist Club of Cornwall, Palais d’Alexandria Retirement Home, and the Cornwall Community Hospital.