Justice Ministers make progress on key issues related to delays in the criminal justice system - Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for Justice met to discuss priority responses to further reduce delays in the criminal justice system

Today, ministers agreed on the need for targeted criminal law reform and the federal Minister committed to further legislative action. Ministers identified mandatory minimum penalties, bail, administration of justice offences, preliminary inquiries, and reclassification of offences as priorities for legislative reform.

GATINEAU, QC, April 28, 2017 /CNW/ - Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat

Federal, provincial and territorial (FPT) Ministers responsible for justice met to discuss actions taken and ways to strategically address delays in the criminal justice system.

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that a person accused of a crime has the right to be tried within a reasonable time. The Supreme Court of Canada Jordan decision expands on what constitutes an unreasonable delay to bring an accused person to trial.

Ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the criminal justice system is a shared responsibility of the Government of Canada and provincial and territorial governments.

Discussions today included identifying innovative practices as well as legislative reforms to resolve criminal cases in a just and timely manner. This meeting built on FPT Ministerial discussions held last October, which included the federal government's ongoing review of the criminal justice system to make it more effective and efficient, including decreasing over-representation of vulnerable populations.

Today, ministers agreed on the need for targeted criminal law reform and the federal Minister committed to further legislative action. Ministers identified mandatory minimum penalties, bail, administration of justice offences, preliminary inquiries, and reclassification of offences as priorities for legislative reform.

Officials were directed to develop recommendations on these legislative reform options on a priority basis and report back to FPT ministers for decision at their next meeting. To demonstrate the importance of transformational change in the criminal justice system, ministers agreed to discuss progress mid-summer and to hold the next in-person meeting in September rather than October to ensure that momentum is maintained.

Ministers agreed on the importance of a collaborative approach with all players in the criminal justice system. Ministers also considered policies, programs and resources; alternatives to the traditional criminal justice system (including restorative justice); and more rigorous case management. Provincial and Territorial Ministers reiterated their call for recently announced resources for new judicial positions.

Quick Facts

  • This meeting was co-chaired by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, Jody Wilson-Raybould, P.C., Q.C., and the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Québec, Stéphanie Vallée, Q.C.

  • Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers responsible for Justice and Public Safety usually meet at least once a year to discuss and make decisions on key justice and public safety issues, and direct government officials from the various jurisdictions on new and ongoing collaborative work being conducted over the year. Today's meeting to specifically discuss issues related to the Jordan decision on delay is in addition to these annual meetings.

Quotes

"The current pressures on the criminal justice system have significant impacts on our courts, victims and, of course, accused persons across the country. It is critically important that my colleagues and I work individually, collectively and collaboratively to ensure we have an effective, efficient and fair justice system that respects the Charter and also makes sure criminals are held accountable for their actions."
Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

"Our exchanges in the Conference have demonstrated the urgency to act and the importance that we must all place on the issue of court delays. We have committed to continued action to reduce court delays to limit the unintended consequences of the Jordan case. I am confident that the proposals that were put forward today will provide the basis for sustainable changes that will help ensure that justice is delivered in a timely manner."
Stéphanie Vallée
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Quebec

Associated Links

Department of Justice Canada
Department of Justice of Quebec

 

SOURCE Justice Canada, Department of

For further information: Office of the Minister of Justice Canada, (613) 992-4621, Media Relations, Department of Justice Canada, (613) 957-4207

RELATED LINKS
http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/

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