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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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Strapped federal criminal law policy section not sustainable: report

18-08-2014

The federal Justice Department’s criminal law policy section is growing demoralized. It has lost several top lawyers but not replaced them, and has weathered budget cuts to the point where “it is not operating in a manner that is sustainable.” These are just some of the findings of an evaluation of the once-influential section, posted quietly to the department’s website earlier this summer. The internal report undoubtedly reflects the frustrations of bureaucrats coping with dwindling resources. More than that, though, it suggests the Conservatives are pursuing their high-profile criminal law agenda without getting the sort of deep research and analysis the section previously provided.

 

In its look at the section’s research and statistics division, the report notes a shift, under the Conservatives, away from ambitious studies to quicker scans of research already done by others. The research staff shrank from 35 in 2008-09 to 17 in 2012-13. Federal lawyers working on criminal law policy “are now relying less on large-scale research studies that examine broad policy questions,” says the report. Instead, they are “increasingly looking to secondary or existing research.” Study done in-house now tends to be “more condensed, and expected within a much shorter turnaround.” In previous eras, the division wrote “formal briefing notes” to advise politicians, but now it typically provides, according to the report, mostly “oral briefings, email replies and shorter memos.”

 

The evaluation is based largely on interviews with officials in the department and outsiders who work with the section, including officials from the provinces, the RCMPand the Canadian Bar Association. It also takes into account data on workloads and budgets. From 2009-10 to 2012-13, the period under scrutiny, the section’s spending fell 21 per cent, from $8.1 million to $6.4 million. Over that stretch, it struggled to keep pace as the Conservatives tabled a remarkable 45 pieces of legislation that reformed the Criminal Code. The section is also called on to advise Ottawa’s lawyers when criminal law issues end up being argued in court, as they have been in some highly publicized recent Charter of Rights and Freedoms challenges.

 

The report is studiously neutral on the Tory approach. It doesn’t hint at why a government pressing ahead with an ambitious and often controversial law-and-order agenda might starve the policy section that would logically provide crucial supporting expertise. But critics of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s criminal law thrust—especially his government’s propensity for imposing mandatory minimum prison terms that eliminate a judge’s sentencing discretion for a raft of crimes—see this as more than a story of budget cuts. David Daubney, a senior lawyer in the section up to his retirement in 2011, says the Conservatives were simply not “interested in hearing what the evidence said,” and thus didn’t have much use for the section’s research.

 

http://www.macleans.ca/politics/ottawa/strapped-criminal-law-policy-section-cant-do-its-job-properly-report/