• January 14, 2022

As Chair, I wish to welcome all Section members. The Executive has already begun work on a number of important initiatives, including drafting submissions on new legislation, preparing professional development and participating in interventions.

Recently, the Miscarriages of Justice Commission released its executive summary, which included a number of recommendations that were consistent with those put forward on behalf of the Section in our consultation paper.

We are in the process of putting together submissions on several new bills, including Bill C-5, which will reintroduce Conditional Sentence Orders for a number of offences, as well as repeal a series of mandatory minimum penalties for certain offences. The Section has been advocating for these proposed changes for several years and we are pleased to see the government responding in a positive fashion.

This year, we hope to continue with these and other law reform advocacy projects. We encourage all members to contact us with ideas on how best to improve our criminal justice system.

Webinar on 11(b) in the time of COVID

Stay tuned to the CBA Law Series for a webinar on litigation Section 11(b) applications in the time of COVID. The panel will include esteemed speakers from the bench and bar, including Crown and defence. This program will provide an update on the law on s. 11(b) in the 5 years since Jordan and the many issues which have been resolved in the meantime. Particular focus will be given on s. 11(b) issues that have arisen in the context of COVID-19 related-delays. Registration details will be shared soon!

Advocacy Highlights

As noted, the Section is currently preparing submissions for consideration on Bill C-5, related to repeal of mandatory minimum sentences in the CDSA and Firearms Act and the reinstatement of Conditional Sentence Orders for many offences. The Section had also worked on a response to Bill C-4 on Conversion Therapy, but the bill was pushed through Parliament without the opportunity for any committee hearings.

The Section will be contributing a response to the mandate letter for the Minister of Justice, supporting and commenting on many of the initiatives assigned to him by the Prime Minister.

Our Imprisonment and Release Committee is sponsoring a Resolution on Indigenous decarceration and self-determination. It urges all governments to negotiate an action plan with Indigenous groups to provide well-resourced preventative community-based services and alternatives to incarceration with the goal of significantly reducing incarceration rates. Join the debate online and register to vote on the resolution at the CBA’s AGM on February 7, 2022.

It looks to be a busy legislative agenda with the new Parliament and the Section is looking forward to opportunities to get involved.

CBA End-of-Life Working Group

The Section is actively involved with the CBA End-of-Life Working Group which comprises a cross-section of members from diverse areas of expertise, including constitutional and human rights law, health law, wills, estates and trusts law, elder law, child and youth law, privacy and access to information law and alternative dispute resolution.

The Working Group is preparing a submission to the Special Joint Parliamentary Committee reviewing the Criminal Code provisions on Medical Assistance in Dying, namely issues about mature minors, advance requests and mental illness. The Working Group has consistently recommended that amendments to the Criminal Code for MAiD align with the criteria established by the Supreme Court of Canada in Carter.

Recent submissions

Coffee in the Times of COVID – Cohort Stream, coming soon!

Our Section will present a Coffee in the Times of COVID cohort stream later in the year. If you are a law student or new lawyer, watch for dates to be announced and share in your network!

CBA Criminal Justice on Twitter

Be sure to follow and retweet the Section on our new Twitter account: @CBA_CrimJustice. Check out our updates on member profiles, new legislation, webinars, our initiatives and important criminal law news.

Call for Member Articles

Any member wishing to submit a member article should do so! Please contact Kyla Lee (Communications Officer) for more details and to learn how to get involved in the Section.

More relevant, Recent PD!

On-demand recordings are now available:

Thank You,

Tony Paisana
Chair, CBA Criminal Justice Section