Rothstein has written to Justice Minister Peter MacKay advising him of his plans to retire following the end of the spring session, according to a release Friday.
"Upon my retirement, I will have been a judge for over 23 years, including more than nine years as a judge of the Supreme Court of Canada," Rothstein said in the release. "I am grateful for this privilege and mindful of the honour and public trust that attach to the holding of judicial office in Canada."
He will still be able to participate in judgments for cases heard before Aug. 31 up to a period of six months after his retirement.
In the release, McLachlin said Rothstein "served on the court with distinction, and made enormous contributions to the court and to Canada."
She added: "He is a wonderful colleague and friend who will be greatly missed."
Rothstein's appointment stirred controversy because of his unilingual status. He was the only justice to not speak French until Justice Michael Moldaver's appointment in 2011.
Rothstein also made history when he was questioned by an all-party committee of MPs during a publicly televised hearing. He is the first such nominee to undergo a public review by members of Parliament.
He was the first Supreme Court justice appointed by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, replacing former justice John Major.
Rothstein was confirmed on March 1, 2006.
Rothstein served as a judge on the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal for more than 13 years, following a career at the Manitoba Bar.Suggest a correction