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Commissioner's Message

As the new Commissioner, I am pleased to submit the Performance Report for the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs (FJA) for the period ending March 31, 2008. Although the mandate of FJA may change very little from one year to the next, this Report demonstrates that 2007-2008 was again a busy fiscal year and that FJA’s personnel was able to overcome the challenges that arose during this period. As with many government departments, FJA experienced issues with personnel changes in the past year due to retirements. The office also prepared for the coming into force of new provisions in the Judges Act and provided support to the Judcial Compensation and Benefits Commission. FJA continued to provide our usual services, such as: general support of the judiciary, language training and international cooperation. The following pages set out these activities and others in more detail. I wish to underline the professionalism and commitment of the employees of FJA in our support of the Canadian judiciary. FJA continually aims to improve its practices in order to function in the most efficient manner and remains prepared to face new challenges.

Claude Provencher

Management Representation Statement

I submit for tabling in Parliament, the 2007-2008 Departmental Performance Report (DPR) for The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs.

This document has been prepared based on the reporting principles contained in the Guide for the preparation of Part III of the 2007-2008 Estimates: Reports on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Reports:

  • It adheres to the specific reporting requirements outlined in the TBS 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.

Claude Provencher
Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs

Summary Information

Department's Raison d'tre

Mission Statement

We are a federal agency statutorily created to support, promote and support judicial independence for the benefit of the public by providing a wide range of services to the Canadian judiciary.

Vision Statement

We are recognized as a unique service provider to the Canadian Judiciary and are renowned for efficiency, sound management and a good working environment.

Results for Canadians

There are 1,066 judges in Canada who are appointed by the federal government to the superior courts in the provinces and territories and to specialized courts such as the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada. These courts play a vital role in protecting citizens' rights and ensuring governments adhere to the rules of law and justice. FJA supports an independent judiciary and provides language training that enhances the capabilities of the judiciary.

FJA publishes the Federal Courts Reports, which are the official, bilingual reports of decisions, or parts of decisions of the Federal Court and Federal Court of Appeal, that are considered to be of sufficient significance to warrant publication. FJA also provides administrative support to the Canadian Judicial Council.

FJA operates an efficient and effective judicial appointments process. The Judicial Appointments Secretariat received and processed 539 applications for judicial appointment, including 242 brought forward from the previous period. The Secretariat arranged for 56 advisory committee meetings. The committees assessed a total of 568 applications, the results of which were certified by the Executive Director, Judicial Appointments and provided to the Minister. Promoting the principles of judicial independence, and efficient and transparent court systems internationally ensures protection of Canada's interests abroad and enhances Canada's visibility internationally.

Financial Resources
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
$400,274,000 $401,012,838 $399,931,631


Human Resources
Planned Actual Difference
70 65 5

Program Activity Architecture

Program Activity Architecture


Departmental Priorities
Name Type Performance Status
1. Client Services Ongoing Successfully met
2. Corporate Planning Ongoing Successfully met
3. Communications Ongoing Successfully met
4. Information / Management Systems Ongoing Successfully met
5. Security Ongoing Successfully met


Program Activities by Strategic Outcome
  Expected Results Performance Status 2007-2008 Contributes to the following priority
Planned Spending Actual Spending
Strategic Outcome: An independent and efficient federal judiciary
Payments Pursuant to the Judges Act Accurate and timely processing and validation of Travel, Relocation and Hospitality Claims,in full compliance with the Judge's Act and internal guidelines governing financial management. Successfully met $390,465,000 $390,180,386 All priorities
Canadian Judicial Council Effective functioning of CJC committees Successfully met $1,688,000 $1,658,231  All priorities
Federal Judicial Affairs Judges satisfied with services received Successfully met $8,321,000 $8,093,014 All priorities

Summary of Departmental Performance

FJA's environment is complex, due in part to the small size of its organization, which tends to understate the importance of its role within government. With only about 70 employees, the Office serves more than 1,066 judges and 776 pensioners and survivors, 138 Advisory Committee members and over 550 applicants for judicial appointment. FJA administers a budget in excess of $400 million annually which pays for judges' salaries, allowances and annuities, relocation and travel expenses as well as covering the costs of running the Office (informatics, training, finance, administration and other related expenses). It provides other services to judges including language training. It also provides services to the legal community through the publication of the Federal Courts Reports as well as services to the Minister of Justice through the operation of the Judicial Appointments Secretariat. FJA must comply with the same central agency expectations and requirements (comptrollership, management and accountability systems, etc.) as do larger departments that enjoy core, specialized resources in the fields of planning, communications, human and financial administration and evaluation.

During the course of the fiscal year, a number of key employees of the department have either retired or left the department for other opportunities. The funding received for the succession plan of the Human Resources section has not resulted in solving the issue as the general shortage of Compensation Specialists has resulted in three new staff joining the department only to be lured away by larger departments within a short time of joining FJA. Staff retention continues to be a challenge for small departments and agencies.

An important number of results have been achieved, such as the update of the business planning process which included a Human Resource Staffing Plan and the completion of the translation of the Security Policies.

New employee orientations sessions have been held to ensure new staff to the department receive information on the operations, priorities and clients of the department. These sessions were developed by experienced employees of the department and have proven informative to the new employees.

Meetings of the Judicial Appointments Advisory Committees were held across the country. Candidate lists were updated and provided to the Minister of Justice.

The department completed a major contracting activity using the Request for Proposal process relating to the International Program which is currently being undertaken in conjunction with funding received from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA).

In the area of International Cooperation, the four-year agreement with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) to assist with judicial reform in Russia proceeded in accordance with the approved plan and a six-month extension to the program was obtained. The agreement with CIDA to assist with judicial reform in the Ukraine is progressing in accordance with the approved plan. Work has also progressed on the arrangement with the National Judicial Institute to provide assistance with judicial reform in China.

The department participated in training sessions provided to senior managers provided by the Human Resource Cooperative, a group of five small departments, including FJA, who have joined together to assist each other with Human Resource initiatives. Additional activities are planned for the coming year.

The department conducted a training program for members of the Health and Safety Committee as well as for departmental staff. The training covered general health and safety awareness. The committee members have completed an inspection of the workplace and have only minor issues to be resolved.

The department has been working with the Department of Justice to ensure a smooth implementation of the Division of Annuity Benefits mechanism which was included in the proclamation of Bill C-17, an Act to amend the Judges Act. The Department of Justice has been drafting the regulations concerning this subject and the staff at FJA has been working with officials from the Department of Justice to review the regulations.

The department has been working with the Canada School of Public Service (CSPS) to provide language training services to federally appointed judges. CSPS is providing language teachers in various locations across the country and is now managed on a cost recovery basis and thus is charging for all services which were previously provided without charge.

The department has started consultations to undertake a survey of judges to determine the level of satisfaction with the services offered to the judges by the department. The survey is expected to take place in the fall of 2008.

The members of the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission were appointed in the fall of 2007. Hearings of the submissions were held throughout the winter with the final report due to the Minister of Justice by June 30, 2008. Staff from FJA assisted with the administrative duties of the Commission as well as providing data and statistics to the members.