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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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‘Pressure points’: Five new provincial court judges hired to help ease backlogs


Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley in a Postmedia file photo. ED KAISER / POSTMEDIA


Four of the provincial court judge positions are new — one each in Grande Prairie and Wetaskiwin as well as two in Edmonton. The last appointment filled an existing vacancy in Peace River.


“Those new positions were chosen by the provincial court in terms of location because those were pressure points,” said Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley, speaking via teleconference. “They were areas where the court was challenged to keep up with the volume of charges coming through.”


New positions, funded through the 2018 spring budget, also included dozens of other court staff. Forty of 55 court clerks have been hired along with 13 bail clerks.


But the province has only filled eight of 20 open Crown prosecutor positions announced over the last few months. Half of the job postings were intended to battle rural crime as part of theNDP’s $10-million plan rolled out in March.


“Having created these positions will hopefully allow individuals to see that there will be some relief in sight,” Ganley said, referring to the heavy workload burdening Crown prosecutors. “It does take some time to get individuals hired.”


The government’s recognition of dwindling resources is a positive step, said Damian Rogers, treasurer at the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association.


But the organization is concerned about the government’s ability to recruit Crown prosecutors.


“Our understanding … is that the number of applications to those positions has been very low,” he said. “We’re on this treadmill right now … where the number of departures is such that we’re always in a recruiting mode.”


Alberta’s superior court is also stretched for resources.


Justices in the Court of Queen’s Bench are appointed by the federal government. The Supreme Court of Canada’s 2016 Jordan decision instituted a 30-month time limit for criminal matters to go to trial in the Court of Queen’s Bench, while provincial court cases were handed a deadline of 18 months.


“The backlog in the Court of Queen’s Bench is worse than the backlog in the provincial court currently,” Rogers said. “There are a lot of capacity issues throughout the criminal justice system in Alberta.”


United Conservative Party justice critic Angela Pitt said the NDP needs to apply pressure on Ottawa to fill the federally-appointed vacancies.


Rural crime continues to plague residents, she added.


“We hear heartbreaking stories from victims across the province every single day and it’s clear that the NDP plan to tackle this ongoing crisis is failing,” she said in a statement.


There are currently 144 provincial court judges working in Alberta, of which 24 are part-time. There are four full-time vacancies.


Law Society of Alberta president Don Cranston said the new judges will improve timely access to justice.


“It is also great to see that we are achieving a more balanced approach to gender diversity on the bench,” he said in a statement.


These are the five new judges:


Randal Brandt, appointed to criminal provincial court in Edmonton, has more than a decade of experience as a prosecutor in St. Paul and Edmonton.


Andrea Chrenek was appointed to provincial court in Grande Prairie, where she has practised law since 1996. She has primarily worked in commercial litigation, employment and family law.


Sandra Corbett was a partner at an Edmonton law firm before she was appointed to civil provincial court in the city. She has focused on civil and commercial litigation and taught insurance law as a sessional instructor at the University of Alberta.


Karen Hewitt was appointed to provincial court in Wetaskiwin. She has worked as a Crown prosecutor in Edmonton, regional circuit court locations and most recently with the specialized prosecutions division.


Robert Marceau was appointed to provincial court in Peace River, where he worked as a criminal trial lawyer and was a partner at a local law firm.