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Labour officials, N.S. government to meet to discuss Bill 148

Representatives with organized labour and the Nova Scotia government will meet to discuss how to address outstanding issues with a contentious piece of legislation used to impose wage restraint. Bill 148, passed by the former Liberal government to impose wage patterns and remove a lump-sum retirement benefit known as the long-service award, continues to be tied up in court. 

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Date de parution : 2022-06-17
Alberta: Prioritizing high-quality prosecution services

Alberta’s government has approved market adjustments for Alberta’s Crown prosecutors as part of prioritizing high-quality prosecutions. Alberta’s Crown prosecutors will receive market adjustments to make their pay competitive with other provinces and the federal prosecution service. Now, Alberta will be able to attract new prosecutors and keep experienced prosecutors, which is critical to an effective criminal justice system.

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Date de parution : 2022-05-02
Alberta Crown prosecutors meet to consider strike
Alberta Crown prosecutors meet to consider strike

The Alberta Crown Attorneys' Association (ACAA) met Wednesday evening to consider taking job action.  The group, representing 380 Crown prosecutors across the province, sent a letter to Premier Jason Kenney to address what it called "the crisis in the justice system" and the possibility of taking "drastic steps." The association alleges that "chronic underfunding" of Alberta's prosecution service is coming to a head and that all attempts to meet with the current and former justice ministers had been rejected. 

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Date de parution : 2022-04-06
Statement by the Commonwealth Lawyers Association on the attack on Ukraine
Statement by the Commonwealth Lawyers Association on the attack on Ukraine

The CLA condemns the brutal, unjustified and unlawful invasion of Ukraine by the Russian State. International Law is clear. The brutal and unprovoked attack on the Ukraine breaches fundamental principles of international law. The loss of life and damage to property and infrastructure are appalling and a humanitarian outrage. 

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Date de parution : 2022-03-03
IAP Statement Regarding the Events in Ukraine and the Russian Federation

The International Association of Prosecutors joins the international community in condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine ordered by the President of the Russian Federation. This act violates both Ukraine’s sovereignty and international law. A state is prohibited from the use or threat of force against another state unless acting in self-defence or acting pursuant to a United Nations Security Council resolution. Neither of these two exceptions is applicable to Russia’s actions against Ukraine.

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Date de parution : 2022-03-01
B.C. risks losing top Crown prosecutors if it scraps existing salary structure, association warns
B.C. risks losing top Crown prosecutors if it scraps existing salary structure, association warns

The association representing Crown lawyers in B.C. says the province will be at risk of losing its most experienced prosecutors if it doesn't agree to keep their old salary structure intact. The warning from the B.C. Crown Counsel Association comes after a contract dispute between the lawyers and the province hit the two-year mark without a solution.

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Date de parution : 2022-02-10

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Supreme Court decision could help former N.S. Crown lawyer sue Premier, ex-justice minister for libel


The Supreme Court of Canada, in Ottawa, on Jan. 19, 2018. | THE CANADIAN PRESS


A Supreme Court of Canada decision could affect whether government lawyers can use confidential documents to defend their reputations if political bosses “throw them under the bus,” a law professor says.


The top court is to rule Thursday on whether it will hear an appeal of a case involving Alex Cameron, a former lawyer with the Nova Scotia Department of Justice seeking to sue Premier Stephen McNeil and the former justice minister for defamation.


Mr. Cameron has claimed the politicians libelled him by implying he acted without instruction in 2016 when he argued in court that the province didn’t have a legal duty to consult the Sipekne’katik band on a natural gas storage proposal.


The brief was denounced by Indigenous leaders for stating there was historical evidence of the band’s “submission” to the British Crown in 1760, in contrast to “unconquered peoples” in other treaties.


Mr. Cameron resigned in 2017 from his position at the Justice Department, where he’d been a key lawyer on Indigenous cases.


Andrew Flavelle Martin, an assistant law professor at Dalhousie University, said the case has implications for lawyers representing government.


“I think for government lawyers generally it’s very important … that politicians have to be very careful about essentially throwing their lawyers under the bus when it’s convenient,” Prof. Martin said.

“I think depending on what happens in this case, it’s going to send a very important message to government lawyers and to politicians.”


If the Supreme Court decides to hear the Nova Scotia’s government’s appeal, the judges could set a precedent on whether client-solicitor privilege applies in these kinds of cases.


However, if the top court declines to hear the appeal, it will mean Mr. Cameron can proceed with his libel lawsuit, which is expected to include documents revealing what instructions he received.


Mr. Cameron’s original July, 2016, brief was part of the government’s defence when the Sipekne’katik band sought to stay the provincial approval of a plan by Alton Gas to store natural gas in salt caverns near the Shubenacadie River.


Legal experts have called Mr. Cameron’s argument controversial, as the Supreme Court of Canada has already made clear the Crown generally has a duty to consult Indigenous peoples.


However, Prof. Martin says the issue shifted when political leaders publicly disavowed Mr. Cameron’s legal brief, and it now raises the question of ministerial responsibility for positions they’re supposed to oversee.


Mr. Cameron has won a series of court victories as he attempted to have solicitor-client privilege set aside so he could submit a libel suit. However, the documents have remained under wraps as the appeal continued, effectively preventing Mr. Cameron from proceeding with his case.


Justice John Murphy ruled in Mr. Cameron’s favour in October, 2017, in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, saying the politicians’ statements “clearly imply” Mr. Cameron acted without instructions or contrary to instructions.


The judge concluded, “the statements nullified confidentiality and ended the privilege which otherwise applied.” His decision was upheld in the Court of Appeal.


Bruce Outhouse, Mr. Cameron’s lawyer, said in a recent interview that if the Supreme Court of Canada denies leave to appeal, “then the information will become public, and Mr. Cameron will file a [libel] action in the usual way, and it will proceed in that fashion in the public domain.”


According to court documents submitted by Mr. Cameron, Mr. McNeil and former justice minister Dianne Whalen made comments to the media on Nov. 17, 2017, that suggested Mr. Cameron had made the arguments without their input.


The Premier told reporters in a media scrum that Mr. Cameron’s brief was “not what I believe,” and “I had no idea it was being put forward,” according to the court documents. Ms. Whalen added: “I can reiterate what the Premier said. [It] went beyond the position of government.”


Prof. Martin said there are typically required approvals for civil case lawyers such as Mr. Cameron to follow when they act for government. “From my experience in government, there are a number of layers of approvals that are necessary on a regular basis,” he said.


Eric Boucher, a member of the executive of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel, said in an e-mail that government lawyers take the duty of client-solicitor privilege very seriously, and Mr. Cameron’s case is unusual.


“I think the real concern here is if it were revealed that the government in this case was indeed aware of the arguments Mr. Cameron was going to make in court, but having been caught off guard by an unanticipated public backlash, decided to deflect attention away from its own responsibility by making disparaging comments about its lawyer,” he wrote.


“Crown counsel strive every day to protect our respective provinces’ and country’s interests while trying to uphold the rule of law. It’s a difficult job and it would be very disheartening to learn that we couldn’t expect our employers’ support in return.”