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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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Ontario tries to stop criminal charges being stayed by trial delays

20-11-2016
Yasir Naqvi, Ontario's attorney general, said his officials are examining cases to make sure other serious charges aren't stayed or withdrawn because of delays in meeting the Supreme Court's deadline. (CBC)

 

Ontario's ministry of the attorney general is reviewing thousands of criminal charges that could be stayed or withdrawn because cases are taking too long to get to trial, but Crown attorneys say the government had made the situation worse.

 

The Supreme Court of Canada ruled last July in what is known as the Jordan decision that a reasonable delay to trial is 18 months for provincial cases and 30 months for cases before the superior court.

 

Last week, a first-degree murder charge against former Canadian Forces member Adam Picard was stayed on the grounds that his right to a speedy trial had been violated, four years after the charge was laid in Ottawa. On Friday, the attorney general's office announced it would appeal the ruling.

 

The Ontario Crown Attorneys Association estimates there are about 6,000 criminal cases that could see charges stayed or withdrawn, and it blames a shortage of judges, prosecutors and court space.

 

Association president Kate Matthews said the group has been raising the alarm about the need for more resources in Crown attorney's offices for years, calling a crisis inevitable.

 

"Anyone working in the criminal justice system could see 'Jordan' coming, and yet the government did nothing with respect to the key reasons behind it," Matthews wrote in an open letter. "In the last few years, the government has effectively reduced the number of assistant Crown attorneys in trial offices."

 

'Worst record in the country'

 

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said cases can be stayed or withdrawn after the accused completes an alternative or restorative justice program, like a domestic violence or drug treatment program, or if the accused enters a guilty plea or agrees to another resolution like a peace bond.

 

Naqvi said his officials are examining cases to make sure other serious charges aren't stayed or withdrawn because of delays in meeting the Supreme Court's deadline.

 

"Of course we need to work on the cases that are imminent, in the system right now, but I want to make sure to use this decision as an opportunity to bring reforms to the system so that justice is delivered on time, without any unreasonable delays," he said.

 

Progressive Conservative justice critic Randy Hillier said about 43 per cent of criminal cases in Ontario are stayed or withdrawn before trial.

 

"Ontario is without equal in its failings of the administration of justice," said Hillier. "We have the worst record in the country."

 

Ontario Superior Court Justice Julianne Parfett attributed her decision to stay the proceedings against Picard "to the Crown's heavy caseload and the Crown's refusal to expedite the trial," added Hillier.

 

"The justice system is either keeping innocent people behind bars or allowing criminals to walk free," he said. "It doesn't take a legal expert to see that our justice system is acting in the manner that frustrates and obstructs justice while also failing to protect society from dangerous offenders."

 

Delays across Ontario

 

Naqvi said the Supreme Court's Jordan decision imposed new responsibilities on governments across the country.

 

"They basically have asked all levels of government and all of the partners within the criminal justice system to make sure the trials are getting done in a reasonable period of time," he said.

 

"We have been actively and diligently working on that, doing better case management."

 

The problems with delays are in courts across Ontario, added Naqvi.

 

"Some courthouses are just busier than others, and we're working on all fronts and putting resources where they're needed to make sure the cases are moving through the system."

 

Matthews said the Crown attorneys welcome any effective efficiencies.

 

"However, those steps will be mere Band-Aids if the government does not take meaningful, significant and immediate steps to increase the number of assistant Crown attorneys," she said.

 

http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/canada/ottawa/ontario-criminal-charges-stayed-review-1.3859452