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Commissioner's Message

Claude Provencher, Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada

I am pleased to submit the Performance Report for the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada (FJA or the Office) for the period ending March 31, 2009. Fiscal year 2008-2009 was a busy time for FJA. The organization addressed various service delivery challenges as it continued to enhance service excellence to the federal judiciary. The Departmental Performance Report for FJA sets out the activities and the related performance achievement of FJA, made possible by the effective implementation of FJA’s operational and management priorities. FJA is an organization which prides itself on being responsive to the needs of its clientele, federally appointed judges, and adjusting to the ongoing challenges of achieving performance excellence. For example, in the past year, FJA implemented personnel changes to adjust to a key human resources challenge posed by the retirement of long-serving members of the staff. The Office also prepared for the coming into force of new provisions in the Judges Act which have us providing a completely new set of pension related services to certain members of the judiciary. Finally, FJA continued its implementation of a performance measurement system to ensure quality services were being delivered in carrying out it mandate with respect to general administrative support of the judiciary, language training and international cooperation as well as support to the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission

FJA continues to contribute to the strategic outcome of an independent and efficient judiciary by delivering high quality services to the Canadian Judiciary. A Client Satisfaction Survey of judges conducted in 2008 revealed that 88% of judges rated FJA as excellent or good in fulfilling the strategic outcome.

FJA achieved a high standard for quality of service during fiscal year 2008-09. The Client Satisfaction survey as well as internal performance measurements revealed that “Judges are generally very satisfied with the service FJA provides. The organization is doing an excellent job providing administrative services and support to its clients with many satisfaction scores in the 80 per cent, or higher, range. The findings indicate that FJA should continue to reinforce its strong service culture and strive to maintain the current service levels and quality of service.”1

FJA continually aims to improve its practices in order to contribute to an independent and efficient judiciary. I wish to commend the professionalism and commitment of the employees of FJA in supporting the service needs of the Canadian judiciary during the past fiscal year (2008-09).

Original copy signed by

Claude Provencher, LL.B., MBA
Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada



Section I – Overview

1.1 Summary Information

Raison d’tre

FJA envisions itself as a unique service provider to the Canadian judiciary, renowned for efficiency, sound management and a good working environment.

Mission Statement

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

 

Responsibilities

Section 73 of the Judges Act provides for the establishment of an officer, called the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs, who shall have the rank and status of a deputy head of a department.  Section 74 sets out the duties and functions of the Commissioner.

The Office of the Commissioner :

  • administers Part I of the Judges Act by providing judges of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Tax Court of Canada and federally appointed judges of provincial and territorial superior courts with salaries, allowances and annuities in accordance with the Judges Act;
  • prepares budgetary submissions and provides administrative services to the Canadian Judicial Council; and
  • undertakes such other missions as the Minister of Justice may require in connection with any matters falling, by law, within the Minister's responsibilities for the proper functioning of the judicial system in Canada.

 

Strategic Outcomes

FJA seeks to deliver high quality services to the Canadian Judiciary in order to support and promote judicial independence.  In this regard, FJA contributes to the following strategic outcome:

An independent and efficient federal judiciary.

Program Activity Architecture

 

Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada's Program Activity Architecture

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1.2 Performance Summary



2008-09 Financial Resources ($ millions)
Planned Spending Total Authorities Actual Spending
$408 161 000 $422 115 928 $421 427 469

At the outset of the 2008-2009 fiscal year, FJA’s planned spending was $408.2 million. Through Main Estimates, Supplementary Estimates and other adjustments to the statutory expenditures, FJA was allocated $422.1 million and the actual spending was $421.4 million.



2008-09 Human Resources (FTEs)
Planned Actual Difference
70 65 5

The decrease in the number of Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) is primarily due to the additional time required to staff skilled positions from the departures of employees as well as the difficulties encountered in staffing positions in the Human Resources section. In the next fiscal year planned FTEs will come into balance with actual FTEs as succession plans are implemented.



Strategic Outcome: An independent and efficient federal judiciary.
Performance Indicators Targets 2008-09 Performance

Independent Judiciary

Judges’ view on the contribution of the Office to judicial independence by providing high quality services.

90% of Judges satisfied with the administration of the judiciary and feel it effectively contributes to their independence.

93% of judges were satisfied with the services provided by FJA. Generally, satisfaction score were consistently high across all FJA service areas.

With respect to the strategic outcome 88% of survey respondents rated the Office as excellent or good in supporting and promoting judicial independence by providing quality services to federally appointed judges.

Efficient Judiciary

Compliance with service standards for efficient delivery of service

90% compliance with established service standards. Each FJA unit collects information to demonstrate performance against standards for efficient delivery of service. Overall, the target of 90% compliance with these standards was fully met.


($ millions)
Program Activity 2007-08
Actual
Spending
2008-09 Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes
Main
Estimates
Planned
Spending
Total
Authorities
Actual
Spending
Payments Pursuant to the Judges Act $390 180 386  $397 971 000  $397 971 000  $410 482 874 $410 482 874 Safe and Secure Communities
Canadian Judicial Council $1 658 231  $1 683 000 $1 683 000 $1 762 700 $1 643 318

Safe and Secure Communities

Government Affairs
Federal Judicial Affairs $8 093 014 $8 507 000 $8 507 000 $9 870 354 $9 299 277

Safe and Secure World Through International Cooperation.

Government Affairs
Total Planned Spending $399 931 631 $408 161 000 $408 161 000 $422 115 928 $421 427 469  

Summary of Achievements against Priorities

 

  • Client Services: FJA continued to provide high levels of service to clients in the provision of the core services such as judges’ salaries, allowances and annuities. The Client Satisfaction Survey indicated a 93% satisfaction level with services provided by the organization.
  • Corporate Planning: In the recent Management Accountability Framework (MAF) process FJA received a rating of “strong” under the measure of Effectiveness of the Corporate Management Structure. This measure assessed both the Corporate Planning and Governance Structure of the organization.
  • Communications: The survey indicated a high satisfaction rating with the quality of the communications from the department.
  • Information Management and Systems: Information Technology was sustained at a high level of availability and quality of operation, and various upgrading initiatives were undertaken. Although work has progressed, the recent MAF assessment indicated that FJA needed further work in implementing an information management strategy and for this reason received a rating of “attention required”.
  • Security: Work progressed to upgrade security through enhancements in software and the network intrusion system. Although FJA is compliant with the Government Security Policy and fully meets the Security policy, the MAF assessment indicated that additional work is required to meet the requirements of the MITS (Management of Information Technology Security) and, therefore, rated this area as “attention required”.

 

Contribution of Priorities to Strategic Outcome(s)



Operational Priorities Type Status Links to Strategic Outcome(s)

Client Services – By providing administrative support services to federally appointed judges, FJA allows judges to fully carry out their judicial mandate. By listening to its clients and monitoring the judicial environment, FJA identifies the judges’ needs, present and future, and effectively adjusts resources and operations to meet them.  In the last year a key initiative was a refinement of the performance measurement system to collect and report on operational (program activity) performance.  The Client Satisfaction survey was conducted to assess achievement of the strategic outcome as well as levels of client satisfaction with service.  Opportunities for improvement and lessons learned were identified.

Ongoing

Successfully met

The Client Satisfaction Survey revealed a better than 93% level of satisfaction among judges with FJA services.

S.O. An independent and efficient judiciary is assured through continuous refinement of service delivery in response to client needs.

Information Management and Systems –  Maintaining and modernizing FJA’s infrastructure is a high priority as well as ensuring the effective management of information. In the last fiscal year FJA completed key IT projects for upgrading secure internet access, the Human Resource Information System (HRIS); and the e-mail and collaboration environment.  Since FJA’s key management information system (Phoenix) is more than 15 years old and is based on non-mainstream application, FJA ensured its continued availability and made preparations for the future migration of the system to a MS Windows and SQL platform. 

Ongoing

Not met

The results of the Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessed this priority as attention required.  Although, information technology was considered acceptable, as shown in the achievements of the last year, FJA was found to need further work in implementing an information management strategy.

S.O. An independent and efficient judiciary is assured through a ‘backbone’ of efficient systems.

Security – The goal of the Security initiative is to create a single point of reference for all aspects of security, including physical security of FJA clients, employees, visitors, facilities, data, information and systems.   In the last fiscal year key security projects were completed in IT such as the implementation of the Software Patch Management system and the Network Intrusion Prevention System.

Ongoing

Not met

The Management Accountability Framework (MAF) process assessed this priority as ‘attention required’.   Although, FJA is compliant with the Government Security Policy and fully meets the Security policy  the MAF process identified opportunities for further progress in agreements for sharing information and training/awareness building.

S.O. An independent and efficient judiciary is assured through the protection of client information and facilities.



Management Priorities Type Status Links to Strategic Outcome(s)
Corporate Planning and Reporting –FJA has developed an Integrated Business and Workforce Management Plan which allows for a formal system of corporate policy development, planning, and performance management which integrates Human Resource Planning.  In the last year, plans were developed, implemented and monitored to ensure resources were well spent. Ongoing

Successfully met

As part of the Management Accountability Framework review (MAF), FJA received a grade of “strong” in the area of Effectiveness of the Corporate Management Structure.

S.O. An independent and efficient judiciary is assured through effective governance of service delivery.

Communications – The goal of the Communications initiative is to continuously improve how effectively FJA managers, employees, clients (judges) and partners communicate with each other.  Communications strategies, awareness building and training were completed in the last year in areas such as values and ethics and the implementation of policies and changes in procedures.

Ongoing

Successfully met

The Client Satisfaction Survey indicated a very high satisfaction level (88%) with FJA communications with judges.

S.O. An independent and efficient judiciary is assured through a judiciary well informed about FJA services.


 

Risk Analysis

FJA’s environment is complex due in part to the small size of its organization, the range of services it provides (compensation, benefits, language training, etc.) and the large number of clients served. FJA is also one of the only organizations in government with the delicate task of regularly interacting with three branches of government: legislative for the Judicial Advisory Committees (JAC’s); judicial for a wide range of services; and the executive with respect to managerial and central agency requirements.

With only 70 employees, the Office serves more than 1 066 judges, 806 pensioners and survivors, 138 Advisory Committee members and between 500 and 600 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 services to judges including language training. It informs the legal community as well as the general public through the publication of the official reports of the decisions of the Federal Court and the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Courts Reports, thus promoting access to justice and ensuring a permanent record of these decisions. FJA also serves the requirements of the Minister of Justice through the operation of the Judicial Appointments Secretariat.

Recognizing this context, FJA has developed a risk profile and actively monitors through its management team external and internal risks. Outlined below are the risks FJA managed in the 2008-09 fiscal year.

External Risks – Workload demand for FJA services are increasing in line with demographic changes in the client base, which brings additional operational demands. Compared to the previous fiscal year, in 2008-09 there was a 5.2% ($20.3 Million) increase in the number of pensioners in receipt of a pension pursuant to the Judges Act. Requirements also increased for administering the reimbursement of travel and other allowances to federally appointed judges. FJA actively monitored and managed risks related to managing additional workload to ensure judges received timely reimbursement of their salaries, allowances and annuities, in accordance with the Act.

Part of the role of FJA is to provide support to the Canadian Judicial Council which has, as part of its mandate, the responsibility for receiving complaints against members of the judiciary. The types and volume of complaints have been steadily increasing and accordingly, the resources required for conducting the necessary analysis and review of these files has also been increasing. It is possible that some of these complaints could result in full inquiries which would require substantial resources to ensure that a fair and objective inquiry be undertaken.

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. Policy requirements add to existing managerial demands and the extra requirements for internal procedure development and alignment of practices that may be more suitable for a larger departments than a small agency. FJA has a small management team and more informal and hands-on day-to-day monitoring and management functions which provides the flexibility and responsiveness required to effectively manage risk in relation to standard processes supporting a client base of federally appointed judges.

Internal Risks – FJA recognizes that it operates within a technology-driven world economy and must meet evolving expectations, including those set by the federal government and the Management Accountability Framework (MAF). The MAF provides a very effective reality check on key areas of risk with respect to information management and technology which are important to the effective administration of service to judges.

From a human resources perspective the principle risk FJA faces is the loss of expertise and corporate memory from the retirement of long-serving experienced staff. As with most government organizations, short and medium-term retirement of managers and staff members may exacerbate the Office’s vulnerability. Although efforts have been made to develop succession plans, the reality is that there is a shortage of skilled resources available in the staffing marketplace suitable for the activities of FJA. Therefore, the time involved in recruitment is usually longer than normal.

From a financial perspective, FJA maintains and updates a sophisticated workplanning process which defines key initiatives and resource requirements. Financial forecasting and expenditure reporting is actively monitored. Judges are reimbursed their actual and reasonable expenses incurred under the authority of the Judges Act. The work schedules are organized by their Chief Justices based on the caseload before the court and accordingly, the Office has no input or control on the scheduling process. Any forecast of expenses incurred by judges is based on historical trends which can result in fluctuations from the amount of actual expenses incurred.

From an operational perspective, FJA faces the challenge/risk of balancing resources for ongoing activities with the requirements of implementing international programming and hosting international delegations. In 1995, FJA initiated international judicial partnerships fully funded through the Canadian International Development Agency. Commencing with Ukraine, partnerships with Russia, Ethiopia, China and other countries quickly followed. The project with Russia has now been completed. FJA remains involved in promoting and facilitating participation by members of the Canadian judiciary in a number of international co-operation projects. FJA regularly receives/hosts international delegations to share its core expertise.

Expenditure Profile

The total spending for the department shows a continual increase over the planning period. This increase is as a result of a provision in the Judges Act which allows for an annual increase in salaries to judges based on the Industrial Aggregate.


($ millions)
Program Activity Actual
Spending
2006-07
Actual
Spending
2007-08
Main
Estimates
2008-09
Planned
Spending
2008-09
Total
Authorities
2008-09
Actual
Spending
2008-09
Payments Pursuant to the Judges Act 394.8 390.2 398.0 398.0 410.5 410.5
Canadian Judicial Council 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.6
Federal Judicial Affairs 8.1 8.1 8.5 8.5 9.9 9.3
Total 404.6 400.0 408.2 408.2 422.1 421.4

The major reason for the variance in the Actual Spending versus the Planned Spending is attributable to an increase in: the number of number of judges; the number of pensioners in receipt of annuities under the Judges Act; and an increase in the travel and other allowances reimbursed to federally appointed judges.

Voted and Statutory Items


($ millions)
Vote # or Statutory Item (S) Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording 2006-07 Actual Spending 2007-08 Actual Spending 2008-09 Main Estimates 2008-09 Actual Spending
20 Operating expenditures $7 437 295 $7 461 007 $7 772 000 $8 559 913
25 Operating expenditures Canadian Judicial Council $1 565 602 $1 564 231 $1 594 000 $1 556 318
(S) Payments pursuant to the Judges Act $394 797 577 $390 180 386 $397 971 000 $410 482 874
(S) Contributions to employee benefit plans $783 954 $726 007 $824 000 $826 364
Total $404 584 428 $399 931 631 $401 012 838 $421 427 469

 

Expenditure Profile - Spending Trend Graph

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