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Canada's Supreme Court Justices, Suzanne Cote, Richard Wagner, Michael Moldaver, Rosalie Abella, Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin, Thomas Cromwell, Andromache Karakatsanis, Clement Gascon and Russell Brown (L-R) take part in a welcoming ceremony at the Supreme Court of Canada in Ottawa, October 6, 2015.

CHRIS WATTIE/REUTERS

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has opened the process to choose the next Supreme Court justice and for the first time, candidates from the North are being specifically invited to apply.

Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin is retiring this year, and tradition dictates her vacancy would be filled by a qualified judge or lawyer from one of Canada's four western provinces, as she is from B.C.

But in a statement Friday, Trudeau says the North is now being acknowledged in that tradition and so candidates from there and the West will be eligible for the post.

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The Northwest Territories, Yukon and Nunavut do not have a representative on the court.

The new justice will be chosen by an independent advisory board, the members of which will be announced a later date.

The other qualities listed for the job include being "jurists of the highest calibre, functionally bilingual, and representative of the diversity of our great country."

Who will replace McLachlin as chief justice will be determined from the nine justices who will be on the bench once her replacement is in place.

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