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Shoplifting and other petty-crime cases are being dropped by courts
Shoplifting and other petty-crime cases are being dropped by courts

Across Canada, people accused of petty crimes like shoplifting, minor assault and fraud are walking free — because the justice system doesn't have time to deal with their cases, as it struggles to move more serious crimes through the courts.

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Date de parution : 2019-05-30
Labour union blasts CAQ government during Bill 21 hearings
Labour union blasts CAQ government during Bill 21 hearings

The CSN, which represents 300,000 workers, backtracked on its traditional position in favour of a ban on symbols for persons in authority.

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Date de parution : 2019-05-15
Federal unions approve agreement on Phoenix damages

Late last week, a subcommittee of federal public service unions and employer representatives reached a tentative agreement to provide damages to public service workers in light of the ongoing Phoenix payroll debacle. This tentative agreement was two years in the making. Today, the undersigned unions are pleased to announce they have signed on to this deal.

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Date de parution : 2019-05-08
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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Date de parution : 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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Date de parution : 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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Date de parution : 2018-12-18

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NDP's rural crime fighting plan gets mixed reviews


Alberta RCMP Deputy Commissioner Todd Shean announces a seven-point plan to help reduce rural crime in the province, in Edmonton, on March 9, 2018. ED KAISER / POSTMEDIA


Justice Minister and Solicitor General Kathleen Ganley said Friday the money will pay for 39 new RCMP officer positions focused on rural crime reduction, 40 civilian staff, 10 Crown prosecutors and new “bait” programs, including for farm equipment.  


It is in response to what some residents have described as a spike in rural property crime.


The issue has grown more heated since the acquittal of Saskatchewan farmer Gerald Stanley for the killing of Colten Boushie, with some rural residents suggesting it is legal to shoot someone to defend property.  


Lacombe County Reeve Paula Law welcomed news of the funding, but said Sunday she hopes it comes through “sooner than later” to help deal with the dramatic rise in property crimes plaguing her constituents.


“The rural way of life, where you left your keys in the vehicle or the neighbour wanted to stop in and borrow a tractor or a piece of equipment … it’s gone,” she said.


Law said that in meetings with Mounties from the five detachments that serve the central Alberta county, police said they are struggling to keep up. Lacombe and Red Deer County have committed to funding two new investigators for the Blackfalds detachment, but those positions have yet to be filled.


The reeve said they’ve also been pushing funding to rural crime watch groups, and holding information sessions about “environmental design” changes to make properties less vulnerable to would-be thieves. 


At the Alberta Association of Municipal Districts and Counties convention this spring, Law said the county plans to bring forward a resolution to lobby the provincial and federal governments for further support in tackling property crime, including sentencing reforms that would impose tougher penalties on repeat perpetrators.


Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association president James Pickard said Sunday members are happy the government is taking action to address prosecutor shortages, but added it will continue to be difficult to recruit and retain rural prosecutors because of high caseloads and a government salary freeze. 


Around 20 prosecutors have left rural offices in the last 12 months, the association said, and while many of those positions have since been filled, it’s usually with less experienced people.  


However, there are concerns adding more police officers to do more investigations “will inevitably mean more files and more prosecutions,” potentially further burdening rural prosecutors. 


“We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out in terms of these new prosecutors. Will they be able to lessen the load on the regional Crowns in a notable way, or is it just addressing the new files being opened by the police with these new crime reduction units?”  


United Conservative Party house leader Jason Nixon, who lives in Sundre, said Friday he’s pleased the government is taking action on rural crime months after his party called for an emergency debate on the subject. 


“The announcement is a start but not enough,” he said. 


“I’m concerned the government only appears to think of this as a money issue. I think that is a product of the fact they’re not going out and talking to our communities.”


The “No. 1” thing the province can do to lessen the burden carried by local detachments is to improve the system for backfilling positions for officers on leave, he said. 

He was also critical of the government’s “triage” approach to cases.


“No matter how much money and capacity we put into the system, if our criminal justice system won’t take property crime seriously and continues to put these people back into our system without dealing with the issue that had them there in the first place, this is going to keep going on forever,” he said.