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The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs Canada (FJA) was created in 1978 to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and to put federally appointed judges at arm's length from the administration of the Department of Justice. It exists to promote the better administration of justice and focuses its efforts on providing a sound support role to the federal judiciary.
The office administers three separate components that are funded from distinct sources. Statutory funding is allocated for the judges' salaries, allowances and annuities and surviving beneficiaries' benefits. Voted appropriations are provided in two separate votes to support the administrative activities of the Office of the Commissioner and the administrative activities of the Canadian Judicial Council.
The Canadian Judicial Council is made up of the Chief Justices, Senior Judges and Associate Chief Justices of Canada. The Council acts independently in the pursuit of its mandate to promote efficiency, uniformity, and accountability, and to improve the quality of judicial service in all superior courts in Canada. The Council is served by a small office and its staff reports to the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs but is accountable to the Chief Justice of Canada in serving the needs of the Council. FJA provides administrative and financial support and advice to the Council in support of its mandate.
The administration of FJA is structured to reflect the distinctiveness of its role in supporting federal judicial activities. Under the Program Activity Architecture, the organization is broken down into three program activities: Payments Pursuant to the Judges Act; Canadian Judicial Council; and Federal Judicial Affairs.
These activities strive to meet our priorities of: client services; corporate planning and reporting; information/management systems; and security.Success in fulfilling these priorities is determined through measurement strategies which assess the level of achievement of key results. FJA prides itself in providing a consistent, high level of service to federally appointed judges.
Original copy signed by
Claude Provencher, LL.B., MBA
To be recognized for our contribution in preserving Canada's reputation as leader in the field of judicial independence.
Mission StatementTo promote the independence of the federal judiciary in order to maintain the confidence of Canadians in our judicial system.
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
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.
|Compliance with service standards||90% compliance with established service standards.|
|Judges' view on the contribution of the Office to judicial independence||90% of Judges are satisfied with the administration of the judiciary and feel it effectively contributes to their independence.|
|Program Activity||Forecast Spending
|Planned Spending||Alignment to Government of Canada Outcomes|
|Payments Pursuant to the Judges Act||$422,282,000||$436,839,000||$451,869,000||$452,069,000||Safe and Secure Communities|
|Canadian Judicial Council||$1,773,206||$1,697,700||$1,698,362||$1,698,362||Safe and Secure Communities
|Federal Judicial Affairs||$8,609,382||$7,970,286||$8,181,124||$7,680,362||Safe and Secure World Through International Cooperation.
|Internal Services||$870,000||$869,700||$869,700||$869,700||Government Affairs|
|Total Planned Spending||$433,534,588||$447,376,686||$462,618,186||$462,317,742|
|Operational Priorities||Type||Links to Strategic Outcome(s)||Description|
|Client Services||Ongoing||SO 1||
FJA's primary duty and responsibility is to administer the Judges Act and to provide all federally appointed judges with the support services that they require to fully carry out their judicial mandate. By listening to its clients and monitoring the judicial environment, FJA can identify the judges' needs, present and future, and effectively adjust resources and operations to meet them.
FJA must also pay special attention to the needs of its other clients, which include; pensioners and survivors,
the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, the Canadian Judicial Council, Parliament, Judicial Appointments
Advisory Committee members and judicial candidates, and enhance the quality of existing services when needed and
offer new services where feasible.
|Management Priorities||Type||Links to Strategic Outcome(s)||Description|
|Corporate Planning and Reporting||Ongoing||SO 1||
In response to recent requirements of the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Corporate Planning initiative has created a formal system of corporate policy development, planning, performance management and program evaluation which integrates Human Resource Planning.
By having a formal system for corporate policy development, planning, performance management and program evaluation,
FJA is able to ascertain that the services it provides to judges, the Canadian Judicial Council, and to the Minister
of Justice are in accordance with established policies and are effective and efficient.
The goal of the Information Management/Systems initiative is to improve and develop information management systems that support business programs and to improve the effectiveness of FJA's management of information, data and knowledge resource holdings.
One of the expected benefits is to reduce FJA's heavy reliance on manual processes, and introduce efficiencies through the adoption of automated information transfer mechanisms.
This entails the creation of integrated systems to reduce manual processes, eliminate redundant and home grown
systems, and facilitate automated information transfer. The design and implementation must follow the systems development
approach required in TB procedures and guidelines for the management of information systems projects.
The Security initiative aims 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 and to ensure FJA is compliant with the Government Security Policy.
This initiative entails all current and foreseeable FJA roles and responsibilities for providing security to
individuals, information, knowledge, data, systems, equipment, and facilities. The concerns for individual security
extend to the security of clients, managers, employees, visitors, partners and suppliers. The range of issues includes
FJA strategies, policies, procedures, and protocols, as well as all issues of accountability, responsibility, and
authority for all aspects of security.
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 administration
of the Judges Act; judicial for a wide range of services; and the executive with respect to managerial and central agency
With only 73 employees, the Office serves more than 1,066 judges, 806 pensioners and survivors, 133 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 which is responsible for assessing candidates who apply for judicial appointment.
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 identified for the 2010-2011 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. Requirements are also increasing 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 administrative support to the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) which has the authority over the work of more than 1066 federally appointed judges. As part of its mandate, CJC receives and investigates 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. CJC is also mandated to set policies and provide tools that help the judicial system remain efficient, uniform, and accountable. The resources required to achieve this goal has also increased. There is increased demand on the Council to address various issues of the judiciary.
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 department 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. Efforts have been made to develop succession plans including staffing and choice of process. FJA's integrated business and human resources planning process is intended to assess and understand our current and future needs on the human resource management components of recruitment, retention, learning, development, employment equity and official languages.
From a financial perspective, FJA maintains and updates a sophisticated work planning 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.
As part of its programs offered to judges, FJA provides language training services. FJA has traditionally made use of the services offered by the Canada School of Public Service for obtaining language training teachers for its sessions offered throughout the year as well as the one-on-one training provided to judges throughout the year. The School has moved to a full cost recovery for these services and accordingly FJA has incurred a substantial increase in the cost of providing the language training program to judges. Efforts were made to obtain additional resources to compensate for this increase in costs but were unsuccessful. A review of the service delivery options for this program will be undertaken as the department will be unable to continue to offer its traditional program with the existing resource levels.
From an operational perspective, FJA faces the challenge/risk of balancing resources for ongoing activities with the requirements of coordinating initiatives related to the involvement of the Canadian judiciary in international Cooperation activities. In 1996, FJA initiated international judicial partnerships fully funded through the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Commencing with Ukraine, partnerships with Russia, Ethiopia, China and other countries quickly followed. The project in the Ukraine is forecast to be completed in December 2010. The other projects have been completed.
Furthermore, in 2006, in order to ensure that participation by the judiciary in international activities does not compromise judicial independence and impartiality or otherwise bring the administration into disrepute, the CJC adopted a Policy on International Judicial Activities, which placed additional responsibility on the Commissioner. By providing these services, FJA ensures that it is efficiently and effectively meeting its responsibilities to safeguard the independence of the Canadian judiciary.
FJA has submitted proposals for funding to both CIDA and to the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade
(DFAIT) for multi-year projects. These proposals, if successful, would include projects in Africa, the Americas', and Europe.
If these proposals are not successful, the organization would suffer a shortfall in its revenue sources which could have
an impact on the department's capacity to continue providing assistance to developing nations.
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. In addition, FJA continues to cooperate with CIDA, DFAIT, and other government agencies in shaping Canadian government policies toward aid and technical assistance in the field of judicial reform abroad.
The total spending for the department shows a continual increase over the planning period. This increase is a result of a provision in the Judges Act which allows for an annual increase in salaries to judges based on the Industrial Aggregate.
|Vote # or Statutory Item (S)||Truncated Vote or Statutory Wording||2009-10
|25||Canadian Judicial Council-Operating expenditures||1,608,450||1,594,000|
|(S)||Judges' salaries, allowances and annuities, annuities to spouses and children of judges, and lump sum payments to spouses of judges who die while in office.||428,924,000||414,853,000|
|(S)||Contributions to employee benefit plan||874,098||785,002|