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Government of Canada and public service unions announce compensation for federal employees impacted

Canada's public servants deserve to be paid properly for their important work and the Government of Canada continues to take action on all fronts to resolve Phoenix pay issues.

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Publication date : 2019-05-03
PSAC rejects compensation offer for Phoenix pay fiasco, other groups accept
PSAC rejects compensation offer for Phoenix pay fiasco, other groups accept

The federal government says it has reached a tentative deal with some groups on compensation for workers affected by problems with the Phoenix pay system. But the Public Service Alliance of Canada, which represents the majority of federal employees, has rejected the offer.

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Publication date : 2019-05-03
Applying the Jordan framework: Are courts placing too much of the burden on the defence?
Applying the Jordan framework: Are courts placing too much of the burden on the defence?

In R v. Jordan, the Supreme Court put a hard cap on the duration of criminal trials — sending a thrill of panic through the justice system in the process. The ruling is roughly two and a half years old now. Time for the training wheels to come off.Now, that backlog of pre-Jordan charges has been largely cleared — the transitional period is over. But Crown and defence lawyers alike report that trial times aren’t speeding up; statistics cited in a recent Law Times article show that in the Ontario Court of Justice, average times to disposition and the number of court appearances have not diminished since Jordan. If the SCC intended the ruling as a salutary shock to the system, it didn’t work.So what happens now?

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Publication date : 2018-12-18
RCMP’s forensic firearm testing backlog adding delays to justice system

The RCMP’s forensics labs are taking nearly four times longer to analyze firearms than they did just four years ago, adding delays to a criminal justice system under pressure to speed up after a recent Supreme Court decision.

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Publication date : 2018-12-16
Court delays persist, despite Jordan
Court delays persist, despite Jordan

The Supreme Court of Canada decision in Jordanand the problems it tried to address are still top of mind in the criminal courts in Ontario nearly two-and-a-half years after it was released.

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Publication date : 2018-12-03
The performance pay saga reaches a settlement
The performance pay saga reaches a settlement

The issue is the prorating of performance pay in relation to pre-promotion period for the year in which lawyers are promoted. If a lawyer was eligible for performance pay and was promoted during the year, the Employer, rather than pay out a prorated performance pay for the period pre-promotion, paid out nothing at all regardless of your performance rating for the year. The AJC originally filed a grievance in 2011 and in response to that grievance, TB had conceded in the context of the adjudication hearing that pre-promotion service should be recognized. Unfortunately, the adjudicator originally disregarded TB's concession in his decision of 2015, requiring the AJC to file an application for judicial review, which eventually resulted on December 22, 2016 in a remedy limited to the right to pre-promotion performance pay for the year 2010-2011. Thus, the AJC filed another policy grievance on July 27th 2016. The hearing was scheduled for October 2018. We are pleased to announce that we now have a signed Memorandum of Settlement on this matter with TB.  

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Publication date : 2018-10-30


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No quick fix for Nova Scotia’s slow court system

24-11-2016

Rick Woodburn is a Crown prosecutor in Halifax and president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel. (CBC)

 

The planned expansion of a program that diverts people accused of minor crimes from Nova Scotia's courtrooms will not fix long delays in an overburdened system, according to a Crown prosecutor in Halifax.

 

It's the growing number of major crimes like murder and weapons offences that slow the system down, not minor offences usually covered by the restorative justice program, said Rick Woodburn, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel. The group represents the interests of Crown prosecutors and Crown civil lawyers across the country.

 

"They'll tote quick fixes, but ultimately we need the resources to make this thing work," Woodburn told CBC's Information Morning. 

 

"It's just a numbers game. If you have five cases and one judge, he can't hear all of them."

 

Restorative justice is a way of diverting people not charged with serious, violent or sexual crimes from the court system. It typically involves young offenders and victims reconciling their differences through face-to-face meetings or coming together as a group.

 

Earlier this week, Justice Minister Diana Whalen said she was optimistic that expanding the program to include adults would keep some cases away from the court and relieve some of the pressure to get cases heard more quickly.

 

Serious crimes on the rise

 

Woodburn said that's not a fix. He said more time and effort are needed to address the rising number of major crimes.

 

In 2014-15, the Crown in Halifax prosecuted 24 homicides, 54 attempted murders and nearly 2,000 weapons charges. That's up from zero homicides, 14 attempted murders and about 1,000 weapons charges in 2006-07, said Woodburn.

 

"We just don't have the resources"

 

Along with the increase in serious crime, there's also a lot more evidence to sift through and more time being spent in court. 

 

At one time, a half-empty box of evidence sat on Woodburn's desk. Today there are six boxes of material for each homicide waiting to be examined. 

 

"There's more disclosure, electronic disclosure, expert reports that have to be gone through," he said.

 

"Impaired driving for example used to take a half day. They now take two days. Homicides that used to take two days or a week now take four to five weeks." 

 

Woodburn said the only way to solve the problem is to put more money into the justice system, hire more lawyers, court staff, judges and sheriffs. 

 

"Have they put money in? Yes. But have they put the money in to keep pace with the crimes that are being committed? No, they're not, it's clear. We just don't have the resources."   

 

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/nova-scotia/restorative-justice-crown-prosecutor-halifax-1.3865364