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Analysis by Program Activity

Strategic Outcome

The Service has one 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.

Program Activities supporting the Service's Priorities

A -Program Activity Name: Provide Registry Services

The Registry Services provide administrative support to the courts to ensure the proper and efficient operation of the litigation process.

Financial Resources

(Millions of dollars)

Planned Spending Authorities Actual Spending
39.7 41.4 38

Human Resources

Planned Actual Difference
418 FTE 385 FTE 33 FTE

FTE – Full time equivalent

A.1 - Registry Services to the four Courts

The Service provides Registry services to the four federal courts: the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. The Registry Services Branch provides all operational and registry functions necessary for the four courts to operate. The Branch also ensures public access to the courts and to court records nationally.

The Registry Services Branch has offices and staff in Ottawa, as well as in regional and local offices across the country: Vancouver, Calgary, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Toronto, Montreal, Qubec City, Halifax and Fredericton. As well, the Service has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in place with the government of Nunavut for the use of courtrooms in Iqaluit as well as for the reception of documents for the four courts. The Service also has MOUs in place for the use of courtrooms, and to assure basic registry functions for the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court in St. John's (Newfoundland), Charlottetown, Saint-John (New Brunswick), Regina, Saskatoon, Yellowknife and Whitehorse.

The following are a few examples of specific functions carried out by Registry Services:

  • providing judges and prothonotaries with direct support services before, during and after court hearings;
  • supporting court processes before, during and after court hearings;
  • providing litigants and their counsel with services relating to court hearings;
  • informing litigants on rules of practice, court directives and procedures;
  • maintaining court records;
  • processing documents filed by or issued to litigants, such as court decisions, 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 Canadian Human Rights Tribunal;
  • assessment of bills of costs.

The inherent nature of Registry work is reactive as the Service has virtually no control over the number of cases filed each year in the four courts. This unpredictable environment requires Registry Services to adjust rapidly to new demands and to be fully aware of any upcoming legislative changes that could affect the future workload of the four courts.

A.2 - Registry Services workload

The following statistics illustrate the workload for Registry Services during the last fiscal year:

Proceedings Instituted or Filed

FY 07/08 FY 06/07 FY 05/06
Federal Court of Appeal 616 695 699
Federal Court:
General Proceedings and Immigration 7,460 8,286 9,712
Income Tax Act certificates 14,629 14,064 14,019
Goods and Services Tax certificates 7,848 7,614 6,972
Other instruments and certificates 491 391 225
Total 30,428 30,355 30,928
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada 10 8 5
Tax Court of Canada 4,395 5,197 4,849
Total 35,449 36,255 36,481

Court Judgments, Orders and Directions processed by the Registry

FY 07/08 FY 06/07 FY 05/06
Federal Court of Appeal 1,997 2,005 2,295
Federal Court 19,228 20,724 23,118
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada 47 23 22
Tax Court of Canada 12,709 9,999 8,118
Total 33,981 32,751 33,553

Files prepared for hearing and heard in Court (does not include matters that were settled or discontinued prior to hearing)

FY 07/08 FY 06/07 FY 05/06
Federal Court of Appeal 389 419 490
Federal Court of Appeal 4,529 4,675 4,891
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada 5 3 4
Tax Court of Canada 1,290 1,215 1,318
Total 6,213 6,312 6,703

Days in Court

FY 07/08 FY 06/07 FY 05/06
Federal Court of Appeal 242 290 286
Federal Court 3,079 3,225 3,315
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada 5 3 4
Tax Court of Canada* 2,159 2,218 2,378
Total 5,485 5,736 5,983

* For Tax Court of Canada "Days in Court" is defined as the number of court sitting days scheduled

Recorded Entries

FY 07/08 FY 06/07 FY 05/06
Federal Court of Appeal 21,324 23,027 23,972
Federal Court 211,189 216,034 257,508
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada 393 213 203
Tax Court of Canada 144,659 142,723 143,111
Total 377,565 381,997 424,794

Total Dispositions

FY 07/08 FY 06/07 FY 05/06
Federal Court of Appeal 685 581 729
Federal Court :
General Proceedings and Immigration 7,469 8,424 10,280
Income Tax Act certificates n/a n/a n/a
Goods and Services Tax certificates n/a n/a n/a
Other instruments and certificates n/a n/a n/a
Total 7,469 8,424 10,280
Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada 8 4 6
Tax Court of Canada 4,410 5,140 4,785
Total 12,572 14,149 15,800

*for more detailed information on courts' workload please refer to the different Courts' websites

A.3 - Registry Services Training

Registry Services also performs an important activity that enhances staff's professional development and improves service delivery by providing formal training to all operational staff, and in particular to new employees, on a wide range of registry-related subjects. There are three full-time trainers who deliver 10 different modules to staff across the country, depending on needs identified by operational managers. The modules pertain to:

  • Admiralty (2 days)
  • Client Service and Communications (1 days)
  • Courts Administration (1 day)
  • Court Registrar – Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court (3 days)
  • Court Registrar – Tax Court of Canada (2 days)
  • Court Usher - Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court (1 days)
  • Immigration (1 days)
  • Jurisdiction of the Federal Courts (2 days)
  • Rules and Registry Procedures - Tax Court of Canada (3 days)
  • Rules of the Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court (2 days)

The following chart provides information on the courses delivered by Registry Services in 2007-2008:

Number of courses Number of days Number of participants
April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2008 63 140 360

A.4 - Technology and Re-engineering in Case Management

During fiscal year 2007-2008, in its quest to continually improve service delivery to the judiciary, to the legal profession and to the general public, Registry Services has been working on key modernization initiatives. These initiatives include the implementation of new technologies and in particular improvements to the case management system. At the end of the fiscal year changes were brought to the governance structure of the modernization initiatives to ensure that solutions implemented are focused on improving client service.

The Service's stakeholders expect to be able to deal with the four Courts in the same manner as they do with other large public organizations that allow for electronic transmission/receipt of documents. However, the Service's current systems and technology are outdated: two completely different and very old case management systems are being maintained (one for the Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court and one for the Tax Court) and these systems cannot be used to produce all the reports needed for use in management decision-making.

Although both systems have some e-filing capacity in that they provide the functionality of receiving, storing and retrieving electronic documents, the digital files received via the web for the Federal Court are not accessible through the Court's current Case Management System and the use of another application is necessary to access these files. As well, the Service is still printing most electronic documents it receives for storage in a paper court file. It is one of the Service's priorities to integrate all e-filed documents in the new integrated Case Management System (CMS) currently under development, to facilitate the retrieval of all electronic documents through one interface and ultimately to increase our use of e-filing and provide a more efficient and effective service to all of the Service's clients.

It is the Service's goal to complete the development of the new CMS within the next few years to allow for a uniform method of electronic reception, transmission, storage and retrieval of all court files for all four Courts.

The development of the new CMS was started in 2007-2008 using existing resources and building on improvements made to the server platform in the previous fiscal year. The development of the new CMS is led jointly by Registry Services and the IM/IT Branch and it is being conducted in different phases over a three year period pending availability of resources. Phase 1, which was conducted during 2007-2008, consisted of upgrading the two different systems that exist in the Federal Courts and in the Tax Court and implementing a new common software and hardware infrastructure. Phase 1 was completed and launched in May 2008.

Phase 2 is being developed in 2008-2009 and will allow the Service to receive and store electronic documents within the CMS. Other phases of the CMS will follow and involve modules dealing with document receipt, scheduling, issuance of judgments, automated generation of correspondence and statistics, among others. It is expected that electronic access to court documents will create many efficiencies within the Service but above all it will improve our client service and significantly improve access to the courts for all Canadians.

During 2007-2008 the Service's Registry Services and Information Technology staff worked on the following four separate initiatives to improve client service and productivity, and assist in the implementation of the new CMS: e-filing, e-scanning, digital recording and electronic distribution of judgments and orders. The details of these initiatives are as follows:

A.4.1 E-filing:

In May 2007, the e-filing initiative was expanded to add Federal Court immigration and admiralty cases. This was in addition to the intellectual property proceedings which were available at the outset of the original pilot project in October 2005. It is expected that the remainder of the Federal Court's jurisdictions will be added in the fall of 2008.

In September 2007, an e-filing pilot project involving the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) was initiated whereby Income Tax and GST certificates from two of CRA's National Tax Services Offices (TSOs) were filed electronically. CRA has recently confirmed that it wishes to add more of its TSOs to this successful program in 2008-2009 and subsequent fiscal years.

A.4.2 E-scanning:

The e-scanning initiative originated to improve service delivery by facilitating duplication of documents between Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal and as a consequence providing important savings in duplication and transportation costs.

The initiative involves the reconfiguration of equipment, the acquisition of high speed printers, the implementation of appropriate file format structures, the establishment of filenames based an appropriate file naming convention and unique ID numbers for all documents. This initiative has required staff to identify and address a number of technical challenges that have allowed for improved duplication of documents between offices. It will also reduce the need for physical storage of files and increase staff productivity.

The most important benefit of this initiative, however, is that it is preparing registry staff for a time in the near future, when all court files will be kept electronically. It is anticipated that some parties will prefer to file paper copies of documents and therefore, scanning will always be necessary to complete the electronic files. As such, this initiative is allowing us to foresee and correct difficulties that would otherwise have arisen at that point in time. In 2008-2009 we will continue the expansion of e-scanning by acquiring additional equipment and by expanding the scope of our scanning activity.

A.4.3 Digital recording in courtrooms:

The Service is developing a strategy for full deployment of mobile and permanent digital recording equipment in its courtrooms. In 2007-2008 a "Request for Proposal" (RFP) was submitted to Public Works and Government Services (PWGSC) and the Service's staff has since been working diligently with PWGSC to complete the work on the RFP and ensure that the equipment is purchased as soon as possible. It is expected that the RFP process and the purchase of equipment will be completed in 2008-2009.

A.4.4 Electronic distribution of judgments and orders:

This pilot project allows for the distribution of judgments and orders in an electronic format. This creates a more efficient process for our distribution office when sending copies of decisions to its clients and allows for a more timely delivery of our decisions to various legal publications. The pilot project also allows the registry to issue e-mailed copies of decisions to counsel when it is practical to do so thus improving our client service and overall efficiency.

A.5 - Review and Re-engineering of Registry Services

During 2007-2008 a number of changes were brought to internal processes to improve service delivery. Efforts to train and cross-train staff to be able to better serve clients with respect to all four courts continued. Towards the end of the fiscal year the need to standardize registry processes in the different courts and across the country was identified as being an essential first step in developing, documenting and measuring our performance and in developing internal and external service standards. This work will continue during 2008-2009.

B - Program Activity Name: Provide Judicial Services

This service line provides judicial support to the Justices, including but not limited to judicial assistants, ushers and other staff who provide direct support to the Justices in the discharge of their responsibilities.

Financial Resources

(millions of dollars)

Planned Spending Authorities Actual Spending
21.9 22.4 22.6

Human Resources

Planned Actual Difference
231 FTEs 209 FTEs 22 FTEs

FTE – Full time equivalent

B.1 - Judicial Services

The mandate of the Judicial Services Branch is to assist the Chief Administrator in providing the judiciary with adequate support to ensure that it may properly execute its functions.

The Judicial Services Branch consists of several Divisions such as the Offices of the four Chief Justices, the Law Clerks Program, the Judicial Assistants Division, the Assessment Division (until January 2008), the Library Services Division and the Revision Services Division.

B.1.1 Offices of Chief Justices:

The Offices of Chief Justices play a key role in supporting the Courts and their administration. Their many functions include providing administrative and executive assistance to the Chief Justices, assistance in the scheduling of court hearings, coordinating the Rules Committee meetings, strategic planning and implementation of special Court projects, meetings and events, as well as liaison with stakeholders such as the Bar, the media and the public.

B.1.2 Clerkships:

The Law Clerks Program gives an opportunity to upcoming and recent graduates of law schools in Canada to apply for positions as Law Clerks to Judges, Deputy Judges and Prothonotaries of the Courts. Over 50 Law Clerks are employed every year. Under the direction of the judiciary, Law Clerks prepare case summaries, research questions of law and prepare detailed memoranda on facts and legal issues.

B.1.3 Library Services:

The Library Services Division provides the full range of special library services and makes available a collection of legal and other materials in electronic and paper formats to meet the immediate and long term work-related needs of the judiciary and the Service's staff. The services provided include a professional reference service, individual and group training and orientation sessions, an electronic integrated catalogue of all library holdings, an intranet site, and a media monitoring service. Services are provided using numerous online databases, inter-library loans and partnerships, and the library collections, comprised of over 6,000 books and 1,000 journal titles in Ottawa and in local offices. The Library technical services section orders new books and periodicals, and processes and organizes over 300 new issues a week.

B.1.4 Reviser Services:

Finally, the Reviser Services Division is made up of a team of four jurilinguists, who apply their linguistic skills and legal knowledge to the editing and revision of a variety of legal and administrative documents, including, most notably, draft judicial decisions and translations of judicial decisions. They provide as well linguistic and terminological advice and related services to judges and the Service. An administrative assistant ensures proper functioning of the office, maintains the statistics and coordinates the revisers' activities.

B.2 - Implementation of Outreach Activities

B.2.1 Offices of Chief Justices:

Several Bench & Bar meetings were held during the past year between members of the Tax Bar, Aboriginal Bar, Immigration & Refugee Bar and the Intellectual Property Bar, and judges of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada. The Chief Justices' Executive Legal Officers were involved in the planning of these meetings aimed at improving and better understanding the needs of the legal profession and obtaining their input in eventual amendments to the Rules of Practice of the Courts.

Furthermore, the four Courts held several Open Houses in Montral and Toronto to introduce the members of the Court and staff to the local legal community thus increasing their visibility and fostering a better understanding of the respective jurisdictions of the Courts. Finally, an enhancement of e-mail media Bulletin service improved the distribution of Court decisions.

B.2.2 Clerkships:

From the Law Clerks Program perspective, the Service has set out to increase its visibility and outreach potential by putting together brochures to be distributed each Fall at law schools. By outlining the benefits of a judicial clerkship at the Courts in these brochures it is the Service's goal to generate interest among law students in obtaining a clerkship as an alternative to articling with a law firm. The Service extends its recruitment campaign to all 21 law schools in the Fall in the hope of attracting the best law students from various parts of the country. The clerkship program had over 200 applications in 2007-2008.

Each Fall arrangements are made with the law schools to have judges from the Courts visit the law schools. The itinerant nature of the Courts facilitates visits, at little or no cost to the public. Annual year-end surveys conducted among law clerks who have accepted to come to Ottawa for one year indicate that the presence of a judge at the law school to promote the clerkship program has been one of the deciding factors in their decision to come to Ottawa.

B.2.3 Library Services:

In the past year, staff have assisted in briefing new judges, moved to a new version of its integrated library management system software, re-trained the judiciary and the Service' staff on the new QuickLaw databases, staffed several vacant positions, renovated part of its facilities, continued to support the Law Clerks Program, and integrated and downsized its storage facilities. The next year will see a change in the client base as the Registry staff in Ottawa move into the same building as the Main Library, and a change in the repertoire of online databases as it is expected to expand. Consequently the amount of training, orientation and online searches is expected to grow significantly.

B.3 - Review of Judicial Services

As a result of on-going reviews, the provision of library services to the Service's Halifax Local Office by the Nova Scotia Department of Justice Library was renewed. In addition, the distribution service of Tax Court of Canada judgments from the Tax Library was integrated with the distribution service of judgments from the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court. Future reviews may result in further changes and improvements in the distribution of judgments to the private sector.

The Assessment Section was created in April 2007 and originally fell within the Judicial Services Branch. This new section is responsible for assessing or taxing costs awarded to litigants by the Federal Court of Appeal, Federal Court, Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and Tax Court of Canada. Assessment Officers are quasi-judicial officers, who review submissions made by counsel or litigants on questions of costs, conduct hearings when necessary and render decisions. In January 2008 the Assessment section was transferred to registry services.