2017–18 Departmental Results Report

Results: what we achieved

Strategic Outcome 1: A Fair, Relevant, and Accessible Canadian Justice System

The Department plays a stewardship role in ensuring a fair, relevant and accessible Canadian justice system. This Strategic Outcome is a shared responsibility among a broad range of players, including Parliament; the judiciary; federal departments and agencies; partners in provincial, territorial, and municipal governments; a broad range of non-governmental organizations and stakeholders; and, ultimately, all Canadians.

Program 1.1: Stewardship of the Canadian Legal Framework


The Department fulfills its stewardship role by ensuring a bilingual and bijural national legal framework for the administration of justice that contributes to a safe and just society for all Canadians and confidence in Canada’s justice system. The Department develops and tests innovative approaches to strengthen the legal framework within various domains: criminal law, youth criminal justice, sentencing, official languages, marriage and divorce, access to justice, bijuralism, human rights, privacy, access to information and Aboriginal justice. In addition, in view of the federal government’s shared interest in a sustainable justice system, the Department promotes and facilitates ongoing dialogue with the provinces and territories in the areas of shared jurisdiction and provides funding for the delivery of programs that directly support federal policy objectives.


In 2017-18, the Department promoted a fair, relevant and accessible Canadian justice system through coordination and collaboration with various stakeholders in the development and implementation of legislative reforms, policy options and initiatives.

In its stewardship of the Canadian legal framework, the Department worked to achieve three organizational priorities: ensuring the safety and security of Canadians through a transformation of the criminal justice system; advancing reconciliation; and strengthening human rights governance and the rule of law.

Safety, Security and Transformation of the Criminal Justice System

The Department continued to review the criminal justice system to ensure that legislation meets the highest standards of equity, fairness and respect for the rule of law. Justice undertook several engagement activities in support of the criminal justice system review, including provincial/territorial stakeholder consultations that led to the introduction of Bill C-75, as well as the conclusion of roundtables (see the report What We Heard – Transforming the Criminal Justice System, published in March 2018) and public consultations (report to be published in 2018-19). The Department also undertook the National Justice Survey (public opinion research on Canadians’ views of the criminal justice system), and the Youth Engagement Project (youth driven discussions and data collection exploring the views of Canadian youth on the criminal justice system). The efforts of the review thus far have identified a number of key areas of focus, namely overrepresentation in the system, restorative justice, improvements to data and information, the need to foster an integrated approach with other social systems, and institutional and law reform. A report summarizing the significant work of the review to date will be published in late 2018, providing the Minister with an opportunity to offer her reflections on the areas where transformation is needed moving forward.

To further the implementation of the Medical Assistance in Dying legislation, the Department of Justice continued to support the Government of Canada’s monitoring and reporting on medical assistance in dying. On December 16, 2017, the Government of Canada published draft regulations in the Canada Gazette, Part I, a key step in creating a federal, pan-Canadian monitoring system on medical assistance in dying.

In addition, the Department supported the Justice Minister in the establishment of a framework for the legalization, strict regulation and restricted access to cannabis for Canadians and related impaired driving reforms. The Department provided legal services for the legislative progress of Bill C-45 (Cannabis Act), and led the development of Bill C-46 introduced by the Justice Minister, which included drug-impaired driving reforms. In support of this, the Department regularly consulted with the Cannabis Legalization and Regulation Secretariat at Health Canada and ensured close collaboration with provincial and territorial partners through meetings of the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Senior Officials Working Group on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation.

Advancing Reconciliation

The Department continued to support the Government’s priority of advancing reconciliation and renewing the nation-to-nation, Inuit-Crown and government-to-government relationship between Canada and Indigenous peoples based on recognition of rights, respect, cooperation and partnership. Working with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada and the Privy Council Office, the Department advanced responses to a number of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Calls to Action and participated in the public reporting of these efforts. In particular, Justice created a subcommittee to the Indigenous Justice Working Group to support the coordinated reporting on Calls to Action. Support was provided for Bill C-262 focused on ensuring harmony of Canada’s laws with the United Nations Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Additionally, the Department provided support for an ongoing review of laws and policies to ensure that the Crown is fulfilling its constitutional and international human rights obligations. This included supporting the Permanent Bilateral Mechanisms and the development of the Recognition and Implementation of Indigenous Rights Framework. As part of the Department’s ongoing activities, it supported the Minister of Justice in her work as chair of the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies Related to Indigenous Peoples. Justice’s Deputy Minister also served as co-chair of the Deputy Ministers’ Task Force on Reconciliation.

As well, Justice worked on developing a practical understanding and application of the Principles respecting the Government of Canada’s relationship with Indigenous Peoples. The Department developed new approaches to litigation positions on complex issues, such as recognition of Indigenous title and identifying cases for out-of-court resolution or other alternatives to litigation. The Department was also involved in the development of an enhanced Indigenous role in the amended Fisheries Act and new environmental review and regulatory regime under Bill C-68 and Bill C-69.

In addition, Justice worked with Public Safety Canada to develop the Strategic Action Plan to Reduce the Overrepresentation of Indigenous People in the Criminal Justice System as Victims/Survivors and Accused/Offenders. This comprehensive approach is essential to achieving systemic, medium and long-term reductions in overrepresentation. Bill C-75 includes reforms to address overrepresentation of Indigenous persons in the criminal justice system, as well as making the jury process more inclusive for Indigenous persons.

Finally, through the Federal Victims Strategy, the Department worked closely with federal, provincial and territorial partners to support the development and implementation of Family Information Liaison Units to address outstanding information needs of families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls. In addition, Justice worked with federal and Indigenous community partners to support the delivery of culturally-grounded specialized services for families during the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls.

Strengthening Human Rights, Governance and the Rule of Law

The Department of Justice continued to support a strong, independent, meritorious and diverse judiciary, and a fair, efficient and accessible court system that responds to the needs of Canadians. In 2017-18, Justice engaged regularly with key judicial interlocutors and entities to understand and respond to the concerns of the judiciary and the courts, and to provide appropriate support. In Budget 2017, the Government brought forward, and Parliament adopted, the necessary legislative amendments to implement the recommendations of the 2015 Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission. The Government also took steps to streamline and expedite the payment of non-discretionary judicial annuities. The Department also continued work on refining proposals to pursue reforms to the federal judicial discipline process to increase its openness, transparency, fairness, timeliness and cost-effectiveness, while upholding judicial independence. Also, 2017-18 saw the full implementation of reforms to the superior court appointment process announced in October 2016. The Government made 100 superior court appointments. Of these, half were women, four were Indigenous, and 16 self-identified as a member of a visible minority population, LGBTQ2, or a person with a disability. 

To enhance access to the family justice system for all individuals and families, the Department of Justice wrote to all provinces and territories, in the spring of 2017, inviting formal requests for the creation or expansion of Unified Family Courts. The Department then worked with interested jurisdictions through the summer and fall of 2017 to finalize their proposals. This initiative was one of the many that underwent GBA+ to ensure that the Department’s activities help foster outcomes for diverse groups of women, men and gender-diverse people, including those from historically vulnerable communities, such as Indigenous women and their children. Budget 2018 announced funding for 39 new Unified Family Court positions in Alberta, Ontario, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland and Labrador. The legislative provisions creating the new positions were included in the Budget Implementation Act 2018, No. 1, and will come into force on April 1, 2019.

The Department also provided ongoing support to the Department of Canadian Heritage to renew the Court Challenges Program as announced in February 2017. The program aims to advance the rights and freedoms of all Canadians by providing financial support for the litigation of test cases of national significance in the areas of official language rights and human rights in Canada. The University of Ottawa was selected to administer the program, allowing it to operate independently.

Additionally, the Department supported greater transparency and awareness of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms through the publication on the Justice Canada website of “Charterpedia”, an annotated Charter that identifies and explains the leading jurisprudence interpreting and applying the Charter. Awareness was also raised about the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms through a social media campaign and special events to mark the Charter’s 35th anniversary.

The Department supported the Minister’s introduction of legislation in 2017-18 to repeal unconstitutional provisions of the Criminal Code, and to amend the Department of Justice Act to require the Minister of Justice to table a “Charter Statement” in relation to all government legislation in the future (Bill C-51). To date, the Department has drafted almost 20 Charter Statements, which have been tabled in Parliament.

In the area of human rights policy, the Department delivered on the Government’s commitment to strengthen legal protections for transgender and gender-diverse Canadians against discrimination and hate crime, with Bill C-16 coming into force in June 2017. The Department also supported Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in the development of accessibility legislation (Bill C-81). This legislation would significantly advance human rights in areas of federal jurisdiction. The Department of Justice also provided legal support to ESDC (Labour), Treasury Board Secretariat and Status of Women Canada in their development of a pro-active pay equity regime for the federally regulated workplace. Notably, the Department also led the planning and staging of a Conference of Federal, Provincial and Territorial Ministers Responsible for Human Rights in December 2017, the first to take place since 1988.

In support of open and transparent government, the Department provided policy support to the Government’s review of the Access to Information Act. In June 2017, the Government introduced Bill C-58, which seeks to enhance the accountability and transparency of federal institutions by making extensive changes to the Access to Information Act and other laws.  The proposed amendments included a proactive publication regime applicable to the Office of the Registrar of the Supreme Court of Canada, the Courts Administration Service, and the Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs. Justice continued to support reforms relating to the protection of personal information in the public sector, including the review of the Privacy Act.

To advance international human rights, the Department participated in preparations for Canada’s Universal Periodic Review before the United Nations Human Rights Council for which the Minister of Justice was Head of Delegation in May 2018. Support was provided for the presentation of Canada’s reports under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (April 2017) and the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (August 2017).  Justice also advanced work required to determine whether Canada will become a party to three additional human rights treaties: the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, and the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Other Ongoing Initiatives

In 2017-18, the Department continued to support victims of crime by implementing ‘year three’ of the Action Plan to Address Family Violence and Violent Crimes Against Aboriginal Women and Girls (2015-20). The Federal Victims Strategy, policy initiatives and project funding provided victim services for families of missing or murdered Indigenous women and girls to develop and deliver culturally-responsive victim services for Indigenous victims of crime.

The Special Advocates Program continued to support fairness and the rule of law in two Immigration and Refugee Protection Act proceedings where a special advocate was appointed. Additionally, professional development opportunities were provided for special advocates by funding participation in a conference hosted by the Federal Court. It is the Department’s role to ensure the availability of a list of persons (private lawyers independent of government), who may act as special advocates in Immigration and Refugee Protection Act proceedings in the event one is appointed by the court. The Department also ensures that special advocates are provided with adequate administrative support and resources.

The Department continued to implement government commitments to consult stakeholders on national security matters through the work of the Cross-Cultural Roundtable. To follow through on its commitment to amend problematic elements of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015 (former Bill C-51), the Government introduced Bill C-59, An Act Respecting National Security Matters, on June 20, 2017.

The Department has continued to develop legal policies and laws as required and to support a variety of Ministers’ mandate letter initiatives and other priorities. Justice also supported several bills through 2017-18 including:


The Department of Justice conducted a series of evaluations in its efforts to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of departmental functions and programs.

The Evaluation of the Contraventions Act Program was completed in March 2017 and assessed program relevance by looking at both the Act and the related fund. Overall, the evaluation confirmed alignment with federal government priorities and contribution to the strategic goals of the Department of Justice.

The Evaluation of the International Legal Programs Section was completed in March 2017. It looked at the relevance and the continued need for the program, as well as alignment with federal roles and responsibilities in strengthening the rule of law in target countries and regions around the world. The evaluation concluded that the International Legal Programs Section supports international justice sector development, has been providing government-to-government technical assistance consistent with Canada’s legal expertise; and is consistent with the Government of Canada’s whole-of-government approach to promoting Canada’s democratic values and strengthening the rule of law.

The Evaluation of the Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Initiative was completed in June 2017. It confirmed that the initiative is aligned with the priorities of Justice and the federal government, including providing relevant training to help improve access to justice in both official languages.

Results achieved
Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Justice laws and policies promote a fair, accessible and relevant justice system in Canada. Canada’s international ranking with respect to fairness of the justice system 10Table note i March 2018 5 12 11
Table note i

The Department’s performance target is an international ranking of 10th place or better for Canada (source: World Competitiveness Year Book).

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Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18 Main Estimates 2017–18 Planned spending 2017–18 Total authorities available for use 2017–18 Actual spending (authorities used) 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
385,118,141 385,118,141 434,873,804 423,821,524 38,703,383Table note ii
Table note ii

The variance between Actual spending and Planned spending is primarily explained by the receipt of funding through the 2017-18 Supplementary Estimates processes for the Canadian Family Justice Fund, Immigration and Refugee legal aid and the Indigenous Justice Program Fund.

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Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
254 243 -11

Information on the Department of Justice Canada’s lower-level programs is available on the departmental website and in the GC InfoBase.

Program 1.2: Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime


The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime (OFOVC) was created to provide a voice for victims of crime at the federal level and to ensure that the federal government meets its commitments to victims. The Office provides direct information, referral and complaint‑review services to its primary clients: victims, victims’ family members or representatives, victim‑serving agencies, and other related stakeholders. The Office also helps raise awareness of systemic issues among all criminal justice and victim‑serving personnel, and provides related recommendations and advice to the Government of Canada through the Minister of Justice. In order to fulfill its mandate, the Office promotes access by victims to existing federal programs and services for victims; addresses complaints of victims about compliance with the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act; promotes awareness of the needs and concerns of victims and the applicable laws that benefit victims of crime, including Canadian Victim Bill of Rights and the principles set out in the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime; identifies and reviews emerging and systemic issues that negatively impact victims of crime; and facilitates access by victims to existing federal programs and services by providing them with information and referrals. The Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of Justice and, as such, the Office falls outside the Department’s governance framework.


As the OFOVC falls outside the Department’s governance framework, information regarding activities it performs in any given fiscal year is usually made available in the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime Annual Report. For further information please refer to the OFOVC’s website.

Results achieved
Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Federal departments, agencies and other stakeholders are provided with OFOVC recommendations on how to effect change for victims of crime Percentage of OFOVC recommendations submitted and acknowledged and/or acted upon 100 March 2018 Please refer to the OFOVC website. Please refer to the OFOVC website. Please refer to the OFOVC website.
Stakeholders have access to timely and relevant information about the Office and its activities Percentage of all pre-identified key stakeholders contacted annually 100 March 2018 Please refer to the OFOVC website. Please refer to the OFOVC website. Please refer to the OFOVC website.
Year-over-year percentage increase of visits to the OFOVC website 5 March 2018 Please refer to the OFOVC website. Please refer to the OFOVC website. Please refer to the OFOVC website.
Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18 Main Estimates 2017–18 Planned spending 2017–18 Total authorities available for use 2017–18 Actual spending (authorities used) 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
1,312,105 1,312,105 1,335,012 1,201,148 -110,957
Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
9 9 0

Strategic Outcome 2: A Federal Government that is Supported by High-Quality Legal Services

Under the Department of Justice Act, the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada provides high-quality legal services to the federal government and its departments and agencies. According to section 4 of the Act, the Minister is the legal member of the Queen’s Privy Council responsible for seeing that the administration of public affairs is in accordance with the law. Under section 4.1 of the Act, the Minister is responsible for examining all government bills introduced in or presented to the House of Commons and, subject to the Statutory Instruments Act, all government regulations to ascertain whether any of their provisions are inconsistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Additionally, under section 5 of the Department of Justice Act, the Attorney General is responsible for advising the heads of government departments on all matters of law and for conducting all litigation for any federal department or agency of the Crown with respect to any subject within the authority or jurisdiction of Canada.

Program 2.1: Legal Services to Government Program


The Department of Justice provides an integrated suite of high-quality legal advisory, litigation and legislative services to the Minister of Justice and to all federal departments and agencies to support them in meeting the Government’s policy and programming priorities and to advance the overall objectives of the Government. Services are provided through a network of departmental legal services units co-located with client departments and agencies, specialized legal capacities within national headquarters, and a network of regional offices and sub-offices providing legal advisory and litigation services to federal departments and agencies across the country.


Under this program, the Department continued to provide high-quality legal services to advance numerous Government priorities in the areas of economic affairs, social affairs, international affairs, and government affairs.

Economic Affairs

In 2017-18, the Department helped implement initiatives to promote sustainable economic growth, safe movement of people and goods, job creation, and broad-based prosperity. Initiatives included efforts to remove barriers to Canadian trade between provinces and territories and with foreign trading partners. The Department also supported the implementation of the Canada-European Union Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations, as well as exploratory trade agreement talks with China.

In addition, Justice supported infrastructure investments and the establishment of the Infrastructure Bank through the Investing in Canada Plan, which will continue to make Canada a growing destination for global business. Justice also supported Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada in advancing the Innovation Agenda, supporting Canadian enterprises in increasing business and taking advantage of trade agreements and modernized internal trade. The Department continued to provide legal advice pertaining to high value complex procurement acquisitions, such as fighter aircraft procurement and the national shipbuilding strategy.

The Department also provided legal support for a review of retail sales practices, as well as for five-year reviews of financial institutions statutes, including the Bank Act and the Insurance Companies Act. Legal services assisted in the creation of a new excise duty framework for cannabis products.

To further the Government of Canada’s plan for environmental stewardship, Justice provided legal advisory services regarding proposed amendments to the Fisheries Act (Bill C-68), and proposed legislative amendments to the environmental review and oversight regime (Bill C-69). As previously noted, this new environmental review and regulatory regime included an enhanced role for Indigenous peoples. The Department also assisted in the introduction of the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act to implement a federal carbon pricing regulatory framework (Bill C-74).

Through its legal work, the Department supported the economic development of Indigenous peoples in various client initiatives, such as major resource development projects as well as new funding mechanisms for First Nations education. The Department provided integrated legal services for the development of reforms to specific claims policies, the inherent rights policy, and renewal of the Comprehensive Land Claims Policy, as well as the British Columbia Treaty Process. In 2017-18, 47 specific claims assessment legal opinions were completed, and 31 claims settlements were negotiated with total settlement amounts in excess of $1.1 billion. Justice contributed to over 40 ongoing comprehensive land claims and a growing number of Recognition of Indigenous Rights and Self-Determination Tables.

The Department supported the Government’s priority of border security to ensure the safe and legitimate flow of people, goods and services (such as passenger screening and preclearance under the Beyond the Border Action Plan). Justice also worked with Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC) to implement the Global Talent Strategy, including making Express Entry more responsive to Canada’s economic needs, and implementing Electronic Travel Authorization. Legal services were provided to support IRCC, Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) in responding to irregular migration of persons from the United States to Canada, including asylum seekers. The Department assisted with technical issues, such as reviewing the inadmissibility of migrant workers due to demand on health and social services. Additionally, continued advice was provided with respect to other immigration issues such as immigration detention and safe third country agreements.

Justice continued to support the regulatory framework for food safety and the strengthening of safety and security oversight for the transportation of dangerous goods. The Department also helped implement a new multi-year agricultural policy framework, as well as the government’s food and agriculture-related initiatives, including the Safe Food for Canadians Act and the Safe Food for Canadians Regulations.

Social Affairs

In 2017-18, the Department continued to provide legal services in support of the Government’s key public safety priorities, including reforms to the Anti-Terrorism Act 2015, the creation of a statutory committee of Parliamentarians to review the work of national security agencies, and firearms control reform. Justice also supported its departmental clients in renewing Canada’s Cyber Security Strategy. In addition, the Department continued to work with the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness and the Minister of Health on efforts that led to the passage of the Cannabis Act (Bill C-45) and related regulations.

To further advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples, the Department provided legal services to federal departments and agencies to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (informed by section 35 of the Constitution Act 1982), to support the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and to review the criminal justice system. The Department also worked with the Minister of Canadian Heritage to promote, preserve and enhance Indigenous languages and culture by supporting the consultative and preparatory work relating to legislation on Indigenous languages. As well, an education agreement was negotiated with 23 First Nations of the Union of Ontario Indians, and legislation was introduced in Parliament to give effect to the agreement. Legal expertise was also provided in the negotiation of an Agreement in Principle with Treaty 1 First Nations with respect to Kapyong Barracks (decommissioned Department of National Defence land in Winnipeg), which has the potential to contribute to the reconstitution of a larger nation and can be used as a pathfinder providing important insights to inform Canada’s strategic land disposition process. In addition, the Department worked on amending the Indian Act to address discriminatory provisions on registration. Finally, legal expertise was provided on approximately 35 Requests for Direction related to the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement to ensure that the objectives of reconciliation were being appropriately considered in all decisions taken in these cases.

Supporting workers and employers, the Department provided legal services to Employment and Social Development Canada to better align the Employment Insurance system with the realities of today’s labour market, including reducing the waiting period for benefits from two weeks to one week. Additionally, Bill C-65 was introduced to amend the Canada Labour Code to strengthen the existing framework for the prevention of harassment and violence in the work place, including sexual harassment and sexual violence. The Department also supported the Accessible Canada initiative and work towards accessibility legislation to ensure full participation of persons with disabilities.

International Affairs

In 2017-18, Justice assisted in various initiatives in the area of international affairs, including: anti-terrorism efforts; the implementation of a new agenda to combat tax evasion and avoidance; and extradition and mutual legal assistance measures that are in keeping with Canadian values, balancing rights and security. The Department also supported re‑energized Canadian diplomacy and leadership on key international issues and in multilateral institutions, including championing values of inclusive and accountable governance, respect for diversity and human rights, and the rights of women and refugees. This work included advancing the new International Assistance Policy for Canada that includes applying a feminist approach to eradicating poverty and building a more peaceful, inclusive and prosperous world.

Throughout 2017-18 the Department provided legal services to advance international trade and investment, including litigation support on the softwood lumber and Bombardier disputes with the United States; legal support and conduct of trade negotiations such as the conclusion of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership; and legal advice on international trade law implications of many major government initiatives.

The Department also played a key role in supporting Global Affairs Canada in its work on a number of key international human rights issues, including promoting gender equality, addressing violence against women, and promoting equality for the LGBTQ2+ community. Justice also provided support for Canada’s Universal Periodic Review and for the presentation of its reports to the United Nations on the rights of persons with disabilities and the elimination of racial discrimination, as well as advancing work on the potential ratification by Canada of additional human rights treaties.

Additionally, the Department of Justice drafted regulations imposing economic sanctions regimes against North Korea, Syria and Venezuela.

Government Affairs

In 2017-18, Justice supported numerous initiatives related to government affairs, such as providing legal services for the negotiation of federal public service collective agreements, and amendments to private and public pension legislation and regulations. Justice also assisted the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with implementing the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act and Bill C-7. In addition, the Department continued to support the horizontal initiative on official languages led by Canadian Heritage.

Through the provision of tax law services, the Department supported the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) in ensuring the fairness and integrity of the tax system and defended the Government’s position in over 8,000 tax litigation files. Justice also provided assistance to ‎CRA in its continued efforts to crack down on tax evasion, combat tax avoidance and strengthen collection of ‎outstanding debt. Additionally, Justice supported CRA's effort to reduce its backlog of files following an audit of the Income Tax Objections by the Office of the Auditor General.

The Department continued the review of the Government of Canada’s litigation strategy focusing on: respecting the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms; recognizing the rights of Indigenous peoples; and making decisions consistent with the Government’s priorities and Canadian values. To recognize and safeguard the rights and freedoms of Canadians, the Government of Canada resolved or discontinued Charter litigation in several important cases relating to: indigenous health; citizenship, immigration and refugee matters; criminal litigation; and workers' rights. In other cases, the Government of Canada implemented policy and legislative solutions to resolve Charter challenges. Additionally, a number of important cases were discontinued where it was determined that continued pursuit of litigation was inconsistent with Canadian values. For example, as part of the Government’s wide-ranging activities related to the Prime Minister’s apology on behalf of the Government of Canada to LGBTQ2+ people for systemic harassment and discrimination in the Public Service and the Canadian Armed Forces, the Attorney General of Canada (AGC) helped to negotiate an agreement in principle to settle a class-action claim involving many affected public servants and military personnel.

Importantly, the Principles Respecting the Government of Canada’s Relationship with Indigenous Peoples have been shaping how the Government is managing litigation involving Indigenous peoples, including the way legal arguments are framed and articulated, the nature of defences that are advanced, and the promotion of early resolution of litigation and a targeted use of settlement processes with clients. For example, the Department of Justice, working in partnership with Crown-Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada, negotiated an agreement in principle for many of those affected by the ‘Sixties Scoop’, to resolve multiple class actions including Brown v. AGC and Meeches et al v AGC. This settlement is an acknowledgment of the trauma and harm caused by past government actions.

Results achieved
Expected results Performance indicators Target Date to achieve target 2017–18 Actual results 2016–17 Actual results 2015–16 Actual results
Federal departments and agencies receive high-quality legal services. Client satisfaction mean rating on the overall quality of legal advisory, litigation, legislative, and regulatory drafting services on a 10-point scale 8 April 2020

Advisory: 8.8Table note iii

Litigation: 8.5Table note iii

Legislative: 8.6Table note iii

Regulatory: 7.9Table note iii

Advisory: 8.5Table note iv

Litigation: 8.3Table note iv

Legislative: n/aTable note v

Regulatory: n/aTable note v

Advisory: 8.4Table note iv

Litigation: 8.3Table note iv

Legislative: 8.5Table note iv

Regulatory: 8.5Table note iv

Client satisfaction mean rating on the Department of Justice Canada performance against service standards for the delivery of legal services on a 10-point scale 8 April 2020

Accessibility: 8.9Table note iii

Usefulness: 8.6Table note iii

Timeliness: 8.5Table note iii

Accessibility: 8.7Table note iv

Usefulness: 8.4Table note iv

Timeliness: 8.2Table note iv

Accessibility: 8.6Table note iv

Usefulness: 8.0Table note iv

Timeliness: 7.9Table note iv

The Crown’s interest is represented before courts and tribunals. Percentage of litigation files that have a successful outcome (settled and adjudicated) 70 April 2017 79Table note vi 80Table note vi 81Table note vi
Table note iii

The results presented reflect interim feedback collected during Cycle III of the Legal Services Client Feedback Survey (2016-2017 and 2017-2018). The Departmental Survey report will be completed in 2020.

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Table note iv

The results presented reflect interim feedback collected during Cycle III of the Legal Services Client Feedback Survey (2016-2017). The Departmental Survey report will be completed in 2020. As the Survey only resumed in 2016-17, results for Cycle II (2009-2012) are reflected for 2015-16.

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Table note v

There was an insufficient number of respondents to report results for this service.

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Table note vi

All settlements of litigation are included as successful outcomes from the Crown’s perspective.

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Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18 Main Estimates 2017–18 Planned spending 2017–18 Total authorities available for use 2017–18 Actual spending (authorities used) 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
195,920,770 195,920,770 202,149,802 186,330,788 -9,589,982Table note vii
Table note vii

The variance between Actual spending and Planned spending is primarily explained by anticipated expenditures, related to retroactive compensation payments resulting from the expired LP group (law practitioners) collective agreement that did not materialize in 2017-18. The collective agreement was settled on July 10, 2018.

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Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
3,089 3,079 -10

Information on the Department of Justice Canada’s lower-level programs is available on the departmental website and in the GC InfoBase.

Internal Services


Internal Services are those groups of related activities and resources that the federal government considers to be services in support of programs and/or required to meet corporate obligations of an organization. Internal Services refers to the activities and resources of the 10 distinct service categories that support Program delivery in the organization, regardless of the Internal Services delivery model in a department. The 10 service categories are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; and Acquisition Services.


In 2017-18, a number of internal initiatives and services contributed to the advancement of public service-wide management priorities and the Department’s achievement of business and legal excellence.

To ensure that the Department continues to have the right workforce with the right skills, Justice has put in place strategies to identify, recruit, develop and retain key talent. This has included the implementation of a national approach to collective staffing to improve efficiency, increase internal mobility, prepare for succession planning and streamline staffing processes. The Department has also enhanced its talent management program for employees by focusing on collective discussions and review panels, in addition to continued efforts on improving processes and tools for career discussions. To enhance professional excellence, Justice has provided in-house training and secured professional development opportunities for all employees with the Canada School of Public Service. This training was supplemented by the on-line Status of Women course on GBA+, which is a key element of the updated GBA+ Policy that was approved in May 2017. Over 60% of Justice Officials received training in GBA+ theory and application to ensure that the Department’s work continues to reflect the diverse needs of different groups of people.

In alignment with the Federal Public Service Workplace Mental Health Strategy, the Department continued to implement its Mental Health Strategy, which fosters a psychologically healthy work environment and provides employees with tools and strategies to help maintain a work-life balance. Justice has adopted an integrated approach to support managers in fostering a psychologically safe, collaborative and ethical workplace.

To further support a safe and secure workplace for employees, Justice successfully implemented a Mass Notification System, enhancing communications capabilities during emergency events.

As part of its ongoing efforts to address the Phoenix Pay System issues, Justice continued to work with other departments to share best practices and lessons learned, and to find proactive ways to support employees. The centralized Trusted Source Liaison Unit, as well as training and information, continue to be part of the Department’s response strategy.

The Department has advanced Blueprint 2020 public service renewal priorities by benefiting from communities of practice, interdepartmental networks and working groups. In support of the Clerk of Privy Council’s call to review the way the Public Service does its work, Justice continued to streamline and automate internal operations to improve efficiency and maximize productivity. Justice continues its transition toward a digital-by-design approach to deliver communication services more efficiently and effectively. More broadly, the Department now has the necessary foundation to initiate the development of a Digital Justice Strategy in support of Government of Canada directions and policies. While implementing measures to optimize the use of space, Justice has experimented with innovative activity-based designs that promote collaborative and flexible work environments. As well, the Department developed and implemented a new design considerations tool to enhance inclusiveness and accessibility in all work space projects.

As an ongoing commitment, the Department of Justice continued to improve the delivery of legal services by increasing the use of paralegals, using virtual teams, investing in new processes and technology (e.g., use of Artificial Intelligence to assist in document review), promoting effective legal risk management, and better aligning human resources with priorities. Business analytics have been used to track performance and trends to inform decision-making. Additionally, the Justice Legal Case Management solution (LEX) has been developed to provide a modern and agile system that will support core legal services delivery, while aligning with Government of Canada information technology standards.

The Department has supported the implementation of the Government of Canada Open Government commitments by appointing a Champion and developing an Open Government Implementation Plan. These activities actively promoted open shared information by default.

Justice has also continued to support the implementation of the Treasury Board Policy on Results. Through this work, the Department continues to improve its approach to performance measurement and evaluation to enhance its ability to demonstrate progress and results. In parallel, the Department has worked with the Privy Council Office to provide Canadians with the status of its ministerial mandate letter commitments through the Privy Council Office Mandate Letter Tracker.

Building on actions undertaken as part of the Justice Sustainable Development Strategy (JSDS) 2014-2017, the ongoing work towards the 2017-2020 Strategy continues to support the Federal Sustainable Development Strategy (FSDS) 2016-2019 through new objectives facilitating the shift to low-carbon government. The Department has also contributed to a whole-of-government exercise aimed at reporting on the United Nations (UN) Agenda 2030 goals by providing input on Canada’s actions in relation to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 16 (Peace, Justice, and Stable Institutions), and contributing to other departments’ responses on SDG 5 (Gender Equality), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals).

Budgetary financial resources (dollars)
2017–18 Main Estimates 2017–18 Planned spending 2017–18 Total authorities available for use 2017–18 Actual spending (authorities used) 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
73,808,640 73,808,640 95,168,485 95,648,611 21,839,971Table note viii
Table note viii

The variance between Actual spending and Planned spending is primarily explained by additional expenditures related to various projects (e.g. leasehold improvements for accommodation) which have been funded by Treasury Board Central Vote 25 (Operating Budget Carry Forward) and by increased expenditures in retroactive payments related to the ratification of various collective agreements funded from Treasury Board Central Vote 15 (Compensation Adjustments). Treasury Board Central Vote 25 and 15 are never included in planned spending.

Return to table note viii referrer

Human resources (full-time equivalents)
2017–18 Planned 2017–18 Actual 2017–18 Difference (actual minus planned)
948 980 32Table note ix
Table note ix

The variance between Actual FTEs and Planned FTEs is mostly explained by an internal reallocation of FTEs between activities and staffing of some vacant positions.

Return to table note ix referrer