Operating Context

The Department of Justice Canada’s operating context is ever evolving. Legal work has become increasingly complex and crosscutting, and the practice of law is dynamic. The Department must remain ready to respond to the accelerated pace at which new policy issues emerge or unfold. The broad and diverse scope of justice issues and the multi-tiered nature of Canada’s justice system require the involvement and collaboration of many partners and stakeholders. While the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts continue to present challenges across Canadian society, the Department remains steadfast in its commitments and will continue its work to implement its plans and vision in the context of this global crisis.

Demographically, Canada’s society is aging, living longer and becoming more diverse. Indigenous Canadians are younger than the overall Canadian population and, while growing as a segment of the national population, are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. Other demographic groups within the Canadian population, such as Black persons and other racialized or marginalized groups, also experience overrepresentation in the criminal justice system. In addition, family structures continue to evolve, creating increasingly complex family dynamics.

There are heightened expectations regarding public institutions and citizen engagement in Canadian society. Canadians expect an open and transparent government that swiftly and clearly responds to their needs. There are greater expectations for frequent communication and meaningful engagement with government. The growing use of social media tools by Canadians to access information and comment on a wide range of social, legal, and justice-related issues offers opportunities to engage Canadians and capture the views of community partners.

Ongoing technological advancements, especially in the management and sharing of information, make new ways of communicating and working possible. At the same time, these advances create additional demands and pressures. The latest forms of technologies are increasing the pace of change. Organizations must manage rapidly growing volumes and forms of electronic information. New legislative, policy or program responses may be required to address these innovative technologies while respecting the privacy and security of Canadians.

The Department remains committed to innovation and improvements in service and program design and delivery, through evidence-based solutions that serve the public interest. It continues to seek opportunities to improve the accessibility of justice information, engagement and outreach, and the delivery of legal services by exploring new approaches as well as the adoption of emerging and innovative technologies.

The Department applies a range of critical considerations to its work, to ensure strong and evidence-based public policy and good governance. These include legal risk analysis, diversity and inclusion considerations such as Gender-Based Analysis Plus (GBA Plus), privacy considerations, modern treaty implications, strategic environmental assessments, and a people-focused approach to justice.