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Acting Chief Administrator's Message

I am pleased to present the Performance Report of the Courts Administration Service (“the Service”) for the period ending March 31, 2007.

The purpose of this report is to explain to Canadians how the achievements of the Service make a difference in their lives. It also reports on the status of commitments made in the Report on Plans and Priorities for 2006–2007.

The Service pursues its mandate by providing support and services to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. Its role is to facilitate access to these Courts by the public seeking judicial redress, and at the same time to safeguard the independence of the judiciary. To achieve these objectives, the Service works closely with the four Chief Justices in determining precisely what each Court requires, and at the same time in identifying areas where synergies may be explored in order to optimize our current level of resources.

The Service is focusing its efforts and resources on implementing new case management technology. The expansion of e-filing, including, in particular, income tax certificates, is a good example of our advances in this field. In addition, the relocation of our Ontario regional office enabled us to equip the courtrooms with the most up-to-date technology, making it easier for parties to transmit and analyze files. These projects are still in their infancy, but they will soon revolutionize access to legal services for all Canadians. 

In addition to our technology-related projects, I note that we must increase our efforts and creativity in maintaining and attracting new talent. We have continued to work on succession planning, but this challenge is still far from being met.

I therefore wish to express my sincere appreciation to the Chief Justices, Judges and Prothonotaries for their support, to the staff of the Service for their continued commitment to excellence in service delivery, and to public officials from a number of provinces and territories.


R.P. Guenette

Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2006-2007 Departmental Performance Report for the Courts Administration Service.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the Preparation of Part III of the 2006-2007 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the Treasury Board Secretariat guidance;
  • It is based on the department's approved Strategic Outcome and Program Activity Architecture that were approved by the Treasury Board;
  • It presents consistent, comprehensive, balanced and reliable information; 
  • It provides a basis of accountability for the results achieved with the resources and authorities entrusted to it; and
  • It reports finances based on approved numbers from the Estimates and the Public Accounts of Canada.




Raymond P. Guenette


Acting Chief Administrator

Summary Information

Department's Reason for Existence

The role of the Courts Administration Service is to provide registry and administrative services to four courts of law: the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. These services permit individuals, companies, organizations and the Government of Canada to submit disputes and other matters to the Courts, and enable the Courts to hear and resolve the cases before them fairly, without delay and as efficiently as possible.

The Courts

The Courts served by the Service are superior courts of record. They were established by the Parliament of Canada pursuant to its authority under section 101 of the Constitution Act, 1867, to establish Courts “for the better Administration of the Laws of Canada”.

The Federal Court of Appeal has jurisdiction to hear appeals of decisions of the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada and certain statutory appeals from federal administrative tribunals as stated in legislation. It also has exclusive jurisdiction to hear applications for judicial review of decisions of 14 federal boards, commissions and tribunals listed in section 28 of the Federal Courts Act (see Parties to a proceeding in the Federal Court of Appeal may be granted leave, or permission, to appeal the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada if the case involves a question of public importance. Pursuant to section 5(1) of the Federal Courts Act, the full judicial complement of the Federal Court of Appeal consists of the Chief Justice and twelve judges. On March 31, 2007, the Federal Court of Appeal consisted of the Chief Justice and nine judges, together with three supernumerary judges. For further information on the Federal Court of Appeal, please refer to

The Federal Court is a court of first instance. It has original, but not exclusive, jurisdiction over cases by and against the federal Crown (including aboriginal law claims), proceedings involving admiralty law and intellectual property law, and jurisdiction conferred by approximately 100 federal statutes. The Federal Court also has exclusive jurisdiction to hear national security proceedings and applications for judicial review of the decisions of all federal boards, commissions and tribunals other than those over which the Federal Court of Appeal has jurisdiction (see above). This jurisdiction includes, in particular, applications for judicial review of decisions of the Immigration and Refugee Board. Pursuant to section 5.1(1) of the Federal Courts Act, the full judicial complement of the Federal Court consists of the Chief Justice and thirty-two full-time judges. On March 31, 2007, the Federal Court consisted of twenty-seven full-time judges, three supernumerary judges, five deputy judges and five prothonotaries. For further information about the Federal Court, please refer to

The main function of the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada is to hear appeals from courts martial, which are military courts established under the National Defence Act, and which hear cases under the Code of Service Discipline found in Parts III and VII of that Act. Judges of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court, as well as incumbent trial and appellate judges of the provincial superior courts, are members of this Court. On March 31, 2007, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada consisted of a Chief Justice and sixty-one judges. For further information on the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada, please refer to

The Tax Court of Canada has exclusive, original jurisdiction to hear appeals and references under twelve different Acts of Parliament. Most of the appeals made to the Court relate to income tax, the goods and services tax, or employment insurance. While many appeals are subject to procedures similar to those of the Federal Court, appeals under what is known as the “informal procedure” are heard as informally and expeditiously as circumstances and considerations of fairness permit. Pursuant to section 4 (1) of the Tax Court of Canada Act, the Court consists of a Chief Justice, an Associate Chief Justice and up to twenty judges. On March 31, 2007, the Tax Court of Canada consisted of the Chief Justice, seventeen judges, five supernumerary judges and six deputy judges. For further information on the Tax Court of Canada, visit

The Service is committed to providing the public with effective, timely and fair access, in either official language, to the litigation processes of the Courts, while enhancing judicial independence.

The Service is responsible for meeting the Courts' requirements and for ensuring that the public has access to the Courts and to their records.  The specific functions of the Service include

  • providing litigants and their counsel with services relating to court hearings;
  • informing litigants of rules of practice, court directives and procedures;
  • maintaining court records;
  • processing documents filed by or issued to litigants, and recording all proceedings;
  • serving as a depository to allow for the enforcement of decisions made by the Courts and federal administrative tribunals, such as the Canada Industrial Relations Board and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
  • providing judges, prothonotaries1 and staff with a wide array of direct support services, including library services and appropriate facilities and security.

In order to facilitate the public's access to the Courts, the Service has offices in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba, Alberta and British Columbia. In addition, registry services and courtrooms are provided through agreements with the governments of New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, the Yukon Territory and Nunavut.

Financial Resources




Planned Spending

Total Authorities

Actual Spending




Human Resources










Departmental Priorities


Strategic Outcome:  The public has effective, timely and fair access, in either official language, to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.

($ millions)

Program Activity
 -Expected Results

Performance Status


Planned Spending

Actual Spending

Priority 1
Implementing a comprehensive, dynamic and fully integrated people management strategy which will support all employees in the efforts of consolidating the Service

Registry Services

The Service completed physical co-location of the Ontario Regional Office which provides an integrated client service approach. Defined specific initiatives to pursue our succession planning strategy. This will include new developmental program and the establishment of competency profiles.



Judicial Services

The planned initiatives supporting this priority are expected to assist and sustain the efforts of consolidation in providing to all employees a work environment that fulfills their goals and aspirations.

Priority 2
Promoting innovation and pursuing modernization of business practices and processes

Registry Services

The Service has established and implemented a common informatics' platform that will allow the integration of various e-components including e-filing services and digital recording. Registry processes were reviewed including transmission and recording of documents using notably the scanning methodology.



Judicial Services

The planned initiatives will allow the Service to provide registry and judicial services that are flexible and responsive, while ensuring the best value for public money.

Overall Performance

Operational Environment

During the last fiscal year, the Service focused particularly on establishing the operational framework for implementing new technologies in order to optimize the provision of our services and to apply these technologies consistently and universally to case management. To achieve this, we have initiated feasibility studies to evaluate the financial impacts on the Service and the ways in which each of these technologies could be better integrated.   
Alongside our interest in investing in emerging technologies, we have identified concrete lines of action for succession planning. Thus, we are planning to implement a registry officer development program in order to recruit and retain our staff and facilitate external recruitment. The issue of retaining and developing our staff remains a major concern. The aging of the population and the dynamics that characterize the service at the four Courts raise significant challenges to the Service.   
In addition, we have noted that the Service has an enviable reputation at the international level and is playing an active role in partnerships with countries such as Russia, Ukraine and China. A number of Chinese judges came to Canada for a six-week training session in order to learn about our registry procedures. However, our awareness activities on the national scale are more modest and will have to be expanded in the next few years in order to highlight the Service's role in the administration of justice.

Financial Context

The Service is entirely funded through yearly appropriations approved by Parliament. The Service also collects revenue through filing fees, fines and sales of copies of filed documentation, including copies of judgments and orders. These non-respendable revenues are deposited to the Government of Canada's Consolidated Revenue Fund.

At the request of the Chief Justice, four Federal Court prothonotaries were appointed to the Federal Court between 1999 and 2003. Furthermore, five Federal Court deputy judges have been appointed to the Federal Court since 2004. The Service did receive temporary funding in December 2006 for fiscal years 2006-2007 and 2007-2008 for these specific positions, but funding needs to be requested every year, even though the requirements are of an ongoing nature. This is very time-consuming for officials of the Service. The Service will continue to work with the Treasury Board Secretariat and other partners with a view to finding a permanent solution for funding these policy issues.

It should be noted that there are additional expenses that the Service has had to absorb over the years which has added to the financial stress for the organization. The Service has absorbed costs related to procurement savings in the aftermath of the Government's Expenditure Review exercise that was conducted three years ago, as there were few actual procurement savings that could be realized for the items that are most significant to the Service (e.g., translation and court reports).

As recorded in the 2006–2007 Public Accounts of Canada, the Service received $67M in funding from Parliament. The actual amount of funds spent in that year was $66.6M, resulting in a small lapse of $0.4M.


A key aspect of the Service's planning and operating environment is that it has virtually no control over the forces affecting the number of cases it receives in each of the four Courts.  For instance, the workload of the Federal Court is intrinsically related to the volume of refugee claimants that the Immigration Review Board (IRB) is handling. As well, any legislative amendments changing federal acts might at some point in time affect the workload of the Courts. The Supreme Court's recent decision in Charkaoui on issuing security certificates will have an impact on legal procedures and will possibly result in more appeals to our Courts, especially the Federal Court.

This unpredictable environment requires the Service to adjust rapidly to new demands and be fully aware of the legislative environment that will affect the workload for all the four courts.  In that context, the Service has maintained working relationships with other federal entities (Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), the Canadian Border Security Agency (CBSA) and the Immigration Refugee Board (IRB)), in order to provide a sound assessment of the future workload of the four courts. Working cooperatively with these entities will ensure the Service will be in a better position to grasp and assess external factors. However, in these relationships the key element is to maintain our judicial independence while at the same time taking a proactive approach in assessing potential impacts of current and future federal initiatives on the Service's ability to provide efficient service to the four Courts.

Modernizing Our Planning Approach

The Service is continuing its efforts in the development of integrated activity planning. The regional offices have begun a planning exercise based on the Service's strategic priorities. During the past year, the Service also reviewed the recommendations made as part of the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) evaluation. Several of the points raised by the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) have been implemented. We are still working on the Performance Management Framework, which will be finalized in the 2007-2008 fiscal year.   

Embracing New Court Technology

The Service has worked on several aspects of its technology platform. For example, we have migrated to a common e-mail system, which will allow us to add new software and keep it up to date. Our major challenge lies with implementing a new case management system. This system will be on a platform shared by all the Courts and will be a primary source for implementation of our Performance Management Framework.

Risks, Challenges and Opportunities

The issue of recruitment and staff retention remains a primary concern for the Service. With the planned departure of 20% of our staff within the next three years, we will have to speed up recruitment and, very likely, cooperate with other departments to fill our vacant positions. Our further difficulty in recruiting human resources staff limits our ability to develop and implement a succession plan. In order to address this problem, additional funding has been requested to help the Service in implementing several initiatives flowing from the Public Service Modernization Act and especially the Public Service Employment Act.

It should be noted that the Service has exchanges with several other countries, notably China, Russia and Australia, as well as with the United Nations, in order to exchange expertise in the area of courts administration. This is normally done in collaboration with the office of the Commissioner of Federal Judicial Affairs, and the National Judicial Institute. Since many other countries are also reassessing their judicial systems and procedures, it is anticipated that the Service will increase its level of international activities.

Alignment with Government of Canada Outcomes

The Service's sole strategic outcome is as follows:

The public has effective, timely and fair access, in either official language, to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.

Canada's Performance 2006 is divided into four key policy areas: economic, social, international, and government affairs. The Service's strategic outcome is aligned with the area of government affairs as it provides support to the Courts which, by their decisions, assist the machinery of government, while maintaining judicial independence.

1 A prothonotary is a judicial officer of the Federal Court who is appointed by the Governor in Council pursuant to section 12 of the Federal Courts Act and who assists in the expeditious disposition of the Court's business. Prothonotaries are responsible for more than 75 percent of the Federal Court's proceedings under case management.  For further information, please refer to Rules 50 and 51 of the Federal Courts Rules (see