Department of Justice Canada Minister's Transition Book (Pocket version)
JUSTICE LEAD - Quick Responses to Hot Issues
Criminal Justice System Review (CJSR)
- We have conducted extensive research and consulted with Canadians, including with criminal law experts and other stakeholders, and have used the findings to bring forward transformative initiatives that work to modernize our criminal justice system, such as the Government’s Bill C-75 that addresses delays in the criminal justice system and is currently before the Senate.
- The Government continues its broad reform of Canada’s criminal justice system to ensure that it is just, compassionate and fair, and promotes a safe, peaceful and prosperous Canada.
- This work includes examining ways to improve and modernize the system, working together with federal departments, provincial and territorial governments and other stakeholders and partners to find integrated solutions and improve outcomes for people involved, or at risk of becoming involved, in the criminal justice system.
- As Minister of Justice, I am responsible for the administration of the Extradition Act, the implementation of Canada’s extradition agreements and responding to requests for extradition made to and by Canada.
- If a Canadian court determines that there is sufficient evidence to justify an extradition, as Minister of Justice, I must decide whether to order the person surrendered to the extradition partner.
- The decisions on surrender of an individual are made in accordance with the applicable treaty, the Extradition Act, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and take into account any submissions provided to me by the person sought for extradition.
- Extradition proceedings are not trial proceedings. The extradition judge is not tasked with assessing guilt or innocence. The assessment of guilt or innocence is reserved for the trial court in the requesting state.
Extradition - Badesha and Sidhu
- Following the tragic death of Jaswinder Sidhu in India, Canada is now in a position to fulfill the extradition request from India, respecting Ms. Sidhu and Mr. Badesha.
- Appropriate arrangements will be made for their safe transfer to India. As the matters must now proceed before the courts in India, there is nothing further that I will say at this time.
Extradition – Diab
- Our Government recognizes that there is a legitimate interest in better understanding the process that led to Dr. Diab’s extradition.
- We know that there are concerns about the length of time Dr. Diab spent in custody in France.
- An external third-party review of this matter is being conducted by Mr. Murray Segal. Mr. Segal is the former Deputy Attorney General for Ontario and former Chief Prosecutor for Ontario, with more than 30 years of experience in law and government.
- Mr. Segal will:
- Assess whether the law and Department of Justice practices and procedures were followed in the conduct of the Diab extradition.
- Assess whether there were any particular approaches taken by counsel in the Diab extradition that identify a need to take action to improve or correct the approach that the International Assistance Group (IAG) takes to advisory or litigation files going forward.
- Assess whether there are specific concerns that need to be addressed with our foreign partner (France) with respect to Dr. Diab once surrendered to France.
Extradition - Meng
- Canada is a country governed by the rule of law. We must honour our obligations under the Extradition Act and under our bilateral extradition treaty with the United States.
- We await the formal extradition request from the United States, and my officials will evaluate it before issuing an authority to proceed before the courts in Canada. Ms. Meng is also represented by counsel.
- In terms of December provisional arrest, the Minister's authority at this stage, in large part, are delegated to legal counsel in the International Assistance Group (IAG), a group within the Department of Justice Canada. These employees are all part of a non-partisan federal public service.
- After all court proceedings, any ultimate decision on whether to surrender Ms. Meng to the United States must be made personally by me as Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. For this reason, there is nothing further that I can say at this time.
Family Law Reform
- Investing in family justice results in individual and collective social, health and economic benefits.
- A child’s best interests should be the only consideration when making parenting arrangements. I am proud of our Government’s Bill C-78, the first significant revisions to our Divorce Act in over 20 years. This proposed legislation will make federal family laws more responsive to Canadian families’ needs and put the needs of children first.
- The four key objectives of Bill C-78 are to:
- promote the best interests of the child
- address family violence
- help reduce child poverty
- make Canada’s family justice system more accessible and efficient.
- Impaired driving is the leading criminal cause of death and injury in Canada. In 2017, there were more than 69,000 impaired driving incidents reported by the police, including almost 3,500 drug-impaired driving incidents.
- The Government has established new, stronger laws to punish more severely those who operate a motor vehicle under the influence of cannabis and/or alcohol.
Alcohol Impaired: Mandatory Alcohol Screening
- On December 18, 2018 Part 2 of Bill C-46 took effect, making the most significant change to alcohol-impaired driving in over 40 years, including the implementation of mandatory alcohol screening, which authorizes law enforcement to demand a breath sample at the roadside from any driver who has been lawfully stopped under provincial law or common law.
- Changes to the law dealing with alcohol-impaired driving give police better tools to combat impaired driving and helps assure Canadians that impaired drivers will be easier to detect.
- The Government is confident that these new tools will make our streets safer and save lives and that these amendments will withstand Charter challenges.
Drug Impaired Driving
- The Government created new and stronger laws to punish more severely those who drive while under the influence of drugs, including cannabis, this includes reforming the entire impaired driving regime in the Criminal Code.
- These reforms strengthen drug-impaired driving laws and create a regime that are amongst the strongest in the world, particularly where cannabis is legal.
- Changes include:
- New “legal limit” drug offences and new tools to better detect drug-impaired drivers.
- Other changes make the law easier to enforce, as well as simpler, more coherent and efficient.
Law Enforcement use of Attorney General of Canada approved drug screener
- On August 22, 2018, the Attorney General of Canada approved the Dräger DrugTest® 5000 STK-CA (collection kit) to be used with the Dräger DrugTest® 5000 (reader), based on the scientific recommendation of the Drugs and Driving Committee (DDC) and following a 30-day public comment period.
- Drug screening equipment is an additional tool available for police to use to detect and investigate drug-impaired driving, including the new blood drug concentration offences.
- Police agencies are not obligated to purchase or use oral fluid drug screeners and can continue to rely on other tools and techniques such as Standardized Field Sobriety Test (SFST) and Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) evaluations.
- If the DDC recommends other drug screeners, the Attorney General of Canada will consider them for approval at that time.
- In October 2016, a more transparent and open process for choosing federally appointed judges was introduced, with a focus on promoting a modern bench that better reflects Canada’s diversity.
- Since November 2015, more than 250 superior court judges have been appointed across Canada, including more judges from diverse and historically under-represented populations than ever before.
- 56% of judges appointed are women, 8 are Indigenous, 22 are members of visible minority communities, 12 are self-identified as LGBTQ2S and 3 are self-identified with disabilities.
- As Minister of Justice, judicial appointments to address the needs of our courts is my key priority. I will be diligent in fulfilling my responsibility to appoint only the most meritorious candidates.
- Judicial Advisory Committee members continue to work hard to identify and recommend highly meritorious candidates.
Reform of Judicial Discipline
- Under the Judges Act, the Canadian Judicial Council is responsible for investigating all allegations of misconduct against federally appointed judges. This ensures the process takes place at arm’s length from the government, in order to protect judicial independence.
- My officials have undertaken consultations with key public stakeholders on judicial discipline reform to ensure that this process remains one of the most efficient in the world.
Mandatory Minimum Penalties (MMPs)
- The Government recognizes the urgency and is taking action to reduce delays in the criminal justice system and we will continue to work hard to ensure the passage of Bill C-75 which is currently before the Senate.
- We are continuing a broad review of the criminal justice system and sentencing reforms enacted over the past decade, including to mandatory minimum penalties.
- The Government remains committed to advancing sentencing reform that will stand the test of time. This means continuing to work with our provincial and territorial partners as well as all criminal justice system stakeholders, taking advice from our courts and listening to Canadians.
- The Government has been clear that mandatory minimum penalties may be appropriate in some instances, such as murder and impaired driving.
- While the review of the criminal justice system is ongoing, courts assessing the constitutionality of mandatory minimum penalties will continue to be guided by the Supreme Court of Canada jurisprudence on the issue.
Medical Assistance In Dying (MAID)
- Medical assistance in dying is a deeply personal issue for Canadians and must be addressed with the utmost compassion, empathy and respect for diverse viewpoints.
- The Government remains committed to supporting access to medical assistance in dying for eligible Canadians who choose this service.
- The legislation (Bill C-14 - An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts - medical assistance in dying) strikes a balance between the personal autonomy of those who freely choose an assisted death, the desire to protect vulnerable individuals, and other societal interests and values.
- The Council of Canadian Academies (CCA) independent reviews on three specific types of requests for MAID that are outside of the scope of the law (requests by mature minors; advance requests; and requests where mental disorder is the sole underlying medical condition) were tabled in Parliament on December 12th.
- The CCA did not make any recommendations but the results of the reviews will help to inform dialogue on the issue of MAID among Canadian and decision-makers. Given the complexity and sensitivity of these topics, it is important to take the time necessary to consider the evidence presented in the CCA’s reports.
- Maid Litigation: Please refer to Major Litigation
- As part of a multi-faceted approach to addressing corporate wrongdoing, the Government introduced Criminal Code amendments to create a new tool called a remediation agreement in Bill C-74, the Budget Implementation Act, 2018, No. 1. The remediation agreement regime came into force on September 19, 2018.
- This new regime fulfilled a Government commitment announced in Budget 2018 and also responds to recommendations made by many stakeholders during public consultations in the fall of 2017.
- In addition, this new approach demonstrates the Government of Canada’s commitment to addressing corporate crime, which can have a serious impact on innocent third parties, such as victims, employees, suppliers, pensioners and investors.
- The application of the remediation agreement regime to any particular case is a matter of independent prosecutorial discretion.
- The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) fulfills the responsibilities of the Attorney General of Canada in the discharge of her criminal law mandate by prosecuting criminal offences under federal jurisdiction and by contributing to strengthening the criminal justice system.
Report a problem on this page
- Date modified: