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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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Date de parution : 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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Date de parution : 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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Date de parution : 2018-02-21
Les juristes promettent de traîner Couillard et Moreau devant les tribunaux

Malgré leurs quatre mois de grève en plein hiver, les avocats et notaires de l'État (LANEQ) devront se contenter de la plus faible hausse salariale de toute la fonction publique. Incapables de s'entendre avec Québec, ils promettent de traîner Philippe Couillard et Pierre Moreau devant les tribunaux.

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Date de parution : 2017-07-13
Avocats et notaires de l'État québécois : Échec prévisible de la médiation obligatoire

Les avocats et notaires de l'État québécois (LANEQ) réagit au dévoilement du rapport résultant de la médiation tenue obligatoirement avec le gouvernement en vertu de la loi. Le rapport conclut à l'échec de la médiation. Selon LANEQ, ce résultat désolant était prévisible, dans la mesure où la loi adoptée par le gouvernement pour forcer le retour au travail de ses membres ne permettait pas de réelle négociation.

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Date de parution : 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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Date de parution : 2017-07-10

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Strapped federal criminal law policy section not sustainable: report


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.