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Bitter anniversary for Quebec government lawyers

It was one year ago today that the Quebec government passed a law that forced the province’s 1,100 civil lawyers and notaries back to work after a four-month general strike, the longest in Canadian public service history. But the head of the lawyers’ union says time hasn’t taken the sting out of the collective slap his members received when the law was passed following a marathon 24-hour debate in the National Assembly on Feb. 28, 2017.

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Publication date : 2018-02-28
‘Bully’ bosses issue ‘swept under the carpet’ until junior government lawyer sent email

A junior lawyer’s decision to speak out — with an email copied to dozens of government lawyers — about an allegedly “abusive” boss at Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General caused Queen’s Park to finally take notice of historic problems that were later called a “festering” sore in a government report.

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Publication date : 2018-02-22
Ontario government lawyers being terrorized by ‘bully’ bosses, secret report reveals

Ontario’s Liberal government has kept secret an explosive report that paints some of its most senior bureaucrats — male and female — as bullies who have harassed and discriminated against hundreds of provincial lawyers and administrative assistants for years.  The workplace for 600 government lawyers and several hundred administrative staff at the Ministry of the Attorney General is described as a “toxic” cesspool where fear and retribution rule the day...

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Publication date : 2018-02-21
Lawyers promise to drag Couillard and Moreau to court

Despite their four-month strike in the middle of the winter, lawyers and public notaries (LANEQ) will have to settle for the lowest wage increase in the entire public service. Unable to agree with Quebec, they promise to drag Philippe Couillard and Pierre Moreau before the courts.

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Publication date : 2017-07-13
Lawyers and Notaries of the Québec State: Predictable Failure of Mandatory Mediation

Quebec lawyers and notaries (LANEQ) react to the disclosure of the report resulting from mandatory mediation with the government under the law. The report concludes that mediation has failed. According to LANEQ, this desolate result was predictable, since the law passed by the government to force the return to work of its members did not allow a real negotiation.

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Publication date : 2017-07-13
A case of no respect?

Striking government lawyers in Quebec were forced back to work. Where does that leave them now? ....LANEQ is still hoping for positive outcomes to a legal challenge it launched against the government’s back-to-work law, as well as an action filed with Quebec’s labour relations board, accusing the government of bargaining in bad faith. One positive thing to come out of the strike, says Desroches-Lapointe, is the strong sense of solidarity that was forged among lawyers. 

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Publication date : 2017-07-10

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DoJ hunger games


Life has indeed been “interesting” since then for the thousands of lawyers, paralegals, researchers, managers, and support staff who work in Canada’s Department of Justice. While all ministries have been hard hit by the Harper government’s relentless drive to cut costs and restore Canada to the balanced budget it inherited in 2006, some argue Justice has been hit harder than most. In 2012, the Association of Justice Counsel, the union that represents an estimated 2,700 federal lawyers, negotiated its first collective agreement, which included a 15.25-per-cent salary increase, allowing federal government lawyers to catch up with many of their provincial counterparts.


Despite the boost to their paycheques, however, insiders say morale in the DoJ is just about at rock bottom. Promotions are few and far between. Resources are shrinking almost as fast as the desk space. “Speaking with different members across the country, from different agencies and departments, morale is low,” says former AJC president Lisa Blais. “People are working harder than ever with fewer resources. Depending on where they work, they are being questioned on expenses, on requests for professional development, on requests for leave.” In April, the department cut 20 per cent of its research budget, roughly $1.2 million. Most of the eight legal research positions cut were in social sciences. “Previous legal research in the department sometimes caught senior officials off-guard . . . and may even have run contrary to government direction,” said an internal report prepared for Deputy Minister William Pentney, obtained by the Canadian Press. The Justice Department’s performance report showed there were 211 fewer people working for the department in the 2012/13 fiscal year than there were in 2004/05. Roughly half of the jobs cut have been lawyers. Workforce adjustment, the government’s bureaucratic euphemism for layoffs, claimed about 50 positions and, tragically and indirectly, one life. A lawyer in the aboriginal law section with pre-existing mental-health issues was pushed over the edge by the prospect of having to compete against his colleagues to keep his job and committed suicide. The tax law section lost 30 lawyers after a call went out for volunteers to leave. Another 17 lawyer positions were cut in the business and regulatory section in British Columbia.