Justice Rivoalen was raised on the family farm in St. Labre, Manitoba, and pursued her university studies in Winnipeg and Moncton, New Brunswick. Justice Rivoalen received a B.A. (mathematics) from the Université de Saint-Boniface in 1984 and an LL.B. from the Université de Moncton Law School in 1988. She was called to the Manitoba Bar in 1989.
Justice Rivoalen was appointed to the Court of Queen’s Bench of Manitoba on February 2, 2005. She became the Associate Chief Justice (Family Division) on May 22, 2015, after acting in that role for three years. During her 13 years on the Court of Queen’s Bench, Justice Rivoalen was active in the court’s committee work, serving as chair of its Education and Conference committees. She also served as chair of the Canadian Judicial Council’s Committee on Inter-Jurisdictional Child Protection and as a member of its Education Committee.
Prior to her appointment to the bench, Justice Rivoalen was Senior Counsel and Team Leader with the Department of Justice Canada’s Aboriginal Law Services Group, responsible for its lawyers in Manitoba handling Indian Residential School litigation. Before that, she had a broad litigation and advocacy practice in both official languages with two Winnipeg law firms, Pitblado & Hoskin and Aikins MacAulay & Thorvaldson. She also served as an arbitrator with the Manitoba Labour Board and as a Deputy Chief Commissioner of Manitoba’s Residential Tenancies Commission. She served on several committees of the Law Society of Manitoba, was a life council member with the Manitoba Bar Association and was president of the Association des juristes d’expression française du Manitoba. She received the Manitoba Bar Association Equality Recognition Award in 2003, the Femme remarquable de l’année 2001 award from La Fédération nationale des femmes canadiennes-françaises, and the Prix Réseau in 2001.
Justice Rivoalen was appointed a judge of the Federal Court of Appeal on September 20, 2018.