Ottawa – The Canadian Bar Association is calling for Ottawa to speed up the hiring of judges to address a shortage that is contributing to an acute access to justice problem in Canada.
While the CBA welcomes the 39 superior court judicial appointments made in 2016, the association remains deeply concerned that current efforts are insufficient to address urgent needs across the country.
The government has promised to move as quickly as possible to fill existing vacancies. However, several provinces have identified the need for new judicial positions that have yet to be approved by Ottawa. In a letter to the Minister of Justice, the CBA has flagged the urgency of filling existing vacancies and approving the new positions.
- In August 2013, the CBA Council urged the federal government to take immediate steps to fill additional judicial positions identified by the governments of Alberta and Quebec.
- In August 2016, the CBA again urged the federal government to consider the crisis created by the shortage/delay of appointments and reach full judicial complements as soon as possible
- In December 2016, the Quebec National Assembly passed Bill 125, legislation that would add 2 new judicial positions to the Court of Appeal and 5 new judicial positions to the Superior Court.
- In December 2016, Alberta’s Justice Minister stated that she was waiting for the federal government to agree to create 9 additional judicial positions on the Court of Queen’s Bench (and 1 position on the Court of Appeal).
- In January 2017, the Office of the Commissioner of Federal Judicial Affairs reported 43 vacant superior court positions across Canada.
“The shortage of judges is contributing to an acute access to justice problem in Canada. It is an important factor in delays that have seriously undermined public confidence in our justice system. It has contributed to the stress experienced by victims, witnesses and accused caught up in the criminal justice system. It has adversely affected individuals, families, children and businesses trying to access the civil justice system.”
René Basque – President of the Canadian Bar Association
About the CBA
The CBA is dedicated to support for the rule of law, and improvement in the law and the administration of justice. Some 36,000 lawyers, notaries in Quebec, law teachers, and law students from across Canada are members.