Department of Justice Canada Minister's Transition Book

Overview of the Department of Justice

Governance Framework


The Mission of the Department of Justice is to:

Departmental Program Alignment Architecture and the new Departmental Results Framework

As of November 2017, the new Policy on Results requires the replacement of the Department’s Program Alignment Architecture (PAA) by a Program Inventory and a Departmental Results Framework (DRF). A DRF is a high-level document that will communicate to Parliament and Canadians what the Department’s mandate is, the results it aims to achieve, and how it will assess its progress. The Program Inventory outlines the programs the Department has in place to support the delivery of results identified in the DRF.

Justice’s DRF consists of two core responsibilities directly related to its legislative mandate and, more specifically, to the Minister and Attorney General roles, namely Legal Servicesand Justice System Support.

Legal Services consist of services that are divided into three business lines: advisory, litigation and legislative. This structure allows a better understanding of the legal services provided by the Department and a more comprehensive reporting to the public.

Justice System Support consists of nine programs, including one that is specifically dedicated to developing and coordinating laws and policies; the other eight pertain to the administration of grant and contribution programs supporting the Justice mandate and advancing policy priorities aligned to both departmental and governmental priorities. The Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime also appears as a program in the Justice Program Inventory, although it falls outside the Justice governance framework.

Internal services are included in the DRF to ensure that all organizational spending is covered and to enhance transparency for the reporting on resources. The Treasury Board Secretariat has developed government‑wide standardized performance measures for internal services.

The departmental results and indicators are in line with the Justice core responsibilities. They have been designed in such a way that the Department can tell a performance story to Canadians.

The performance measures are intended to assess the extent to which Canadians benefit from the initiatives and ensure their alignment to those of the Government of Canada.

The DRF is used in parliamentary reports and started with the 2018‑19 Departmental Plan in fall 2017.

Senior Committee Structure

The Senior Committee Structure consists of:

National Labour Management Consultation Committee (NLMCC), co-chaired by the Deputy Minister and a representative from the committee’s Bargaining Agent membership, facilitates the constructive exchange of information, ideas and views to support informed decision‑making and problem-solving with the aim of ensuring a healthy, safe, productive and respectful working environment. Working in alignment with the principles of mutual respect, partnership, good faith, and honesty, the NLMCC, which includes members of the Department’s Executive Committee and representatives of all five bargaining agents, provides strategic advice on, and examines issues of department-wide importance involving strategic, structural or policy changes, such as policies, program and procedures on a departmental scale; structural or technological changes having department-wide implications; identification and resolution of national situations/issues; and, unresolved problems or issues from the regional levels.

Departmental Audit Committee, chaired by the Deputy Minister, is an Advisory Committee to the Deputy Minister consisting of members both internal and external to the Government. External members are appointed by the Treasury Board of Canada. The Committee provides the Deputy Minister with independent, objective advice on risk management, control and accountability processes.

Performance Measurement and Evaluation Committee (PMEC), chaired by the Deputy Minister, is a senior executive advisory forum responsible for advising the Deputy Minister on all matters related to performance measurement and evaluation. The Committee is not a decision-making body; all approval authority rests with the Deputy Minister. However, the PMEC oversees departmental performance measurement and evaluation and advises the Deputy Minister in this regard. Evaluation and performance measurement responsibilities are defined by the Financial Administration Act (FAA), the Treasury Board Policy on Results and the Treasury Board Policy on Transfer Payments.

Executive Committee (EC), chaired by the Deputy Minister, is the Department of Justice’s senior governance and decision‑making forum. It is responsible for the overall strategic oversight, performance and management of the Department. The EC oversees the Department’s Strategic Plan, as well as key priorities, initiatives and decisions pertaining to substantive and corporate management responsibilities, talent management and change initiatives writ large. This mandate includes overall governance, performance and results, critical resource allocations, and short and longer-term planning. The EC is supported by and considers issues referred to it by the Committee on Agenda, Advice and Results and Management Committee.

Committee on Agenda, Advice and Results (CAAR), chaired by the Associate Deputy Minister, is the Department’s primary forum for senior-level engagement, action, decision-making and advice on strategic legal and policy issues and initiatives pertaining to the Department’s role. The CAAR oversees the substantive legal and policy-related priorities of the Justice Canada Strategic Plan, and also reviews, assesses, challenges, guides, advises on and makes decisions regarding a wide range of strategic legal or policy issues. This mandate includes subject-specific and horizontal issues regarding the short or longer-term actions or strategic directions of the Department or Government. The CAAR considers the work of the Department’s National Litigation Committee, National Legal Advisory Committee and Policy Priorities Committee as needed, as well as the work of other departmental committees having specific responsibilities on related matters (e.g., litigation, legal advice, policy, programs) prior to any discussion of these matters that may take place at Executive Committee.

National Litigation Committee (NLC), chaired by the Assistant Deputy Attorney General, National Litigation Sector, is the forum for senior level engagement and deliberation on all significant litigation, regardless of court level. The NLC is a Standing Advisory Committee to the Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General of Canada that establishes the broad parameters within which the National Litigation Committee fulfils its mandate. However, it also engages CAAR in discussions on themes and issues related to litigation as part of the Department’s integrated governance.

National Legal Advisory Committee (NLAC), chaired by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Public Law and Legislative Services Sector, is a forum for senior level engagement, decision-making and advice on complex and strategic legal issues that have broad implications for the government. NLAC promotes and ensures consistency and quality in legal advice; manages legal risk in the advisory context; and, develops departmental legal positions from a strategic perspective. The Committee has a key role in advancing Canada’s Legal Team’s vision by facilitating the development of a whole-of-Justice approach to legal advisory issues. The CAAR sets the broad priorities within which the NLAC fulfils its mandate.

Policy Priorities Committee (PPC), chaired by the Senior Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy Sector, is the primary forum for senior-level engagement, action, decision-making, and advice on policy priorities and initiatives affecting the Department. Other departmental bodies with policy-related roles may advance issues and initiatives through PPC when seeking higher level approval of horizontal policy initiatives. PPC reviews, assesses, challenges, guides, advises, and makes decisions regarding Departmental policy priorities and initiatives including matters arising from the CAAR, the Justice Strategic Plan, Results and Delivery, and from Portfolios and Sectors within the Department.

Management Committee (MC), chaired by the Assistant Deputy Minister, Management Sector and Chief Financial Officer, oversees the management priorities of the Justice Canada Strategic Plan and also reviews, assesses, challenges, guides, advises on and makes decisions regarding a wide range of management issues and initiatives (e.g., financial and human resources). This mandate includes subject-specific and horizontal issues and short and longer-term actions and strategic directions of the Department or Government. The MC considers the work of the Department’s Project and Procurement Review Board, as needed, as well as the work of other departmental committees (e.g., employment equity and diversity, sustainable development, business transformation, emergency management, etc.) prior to any discussion of these matters that may take place at Executive Committee.

Project and Procurement Review Board (PPRB), chaired by the Deputy Chief Financial Officer, focuses on stewardship of project planning/management and procurement and makes recommendations to the MC on matters that extend beyond the approval or functional authority of its membership. PPRB reviews, assesses, challenges, guides, advises, and makes decisions regarding project planning/management and procurement thereby supporting the Deputy Minister in meeting stewardship responsibilities relating to these areas, such as those set out in the Treasury Board Policy on the Management of Projects and related policy instruments.

Deputy Minister’s Team

Deputy Minister and Deputy Attorney General

Nathalie G. Drouin, Ad. E.

Nathalie G. Drouin, Ad. E.

Appointed pursuant to subsection 3(1) of the Department of Justice Act, the Deputy Minister is responsible for the management and direction of the Department.

Under subsection 3(2) of the Department of Justice Act, the Deputy Minister is ex officio the Deputy Attorney General, except in respect of the powers, duties and functions that the Director of Public Prosecutions is authorized to exercise or perform under subsection 3(3) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act

The Deputy Minister supports the Minister to achieve the government’s objectives through four broad roles.

Manager of the Department

As the Department’s top public servant, the Deputy Minister has overall responsibility for managing the Department of Justice.

In addition, as a member of the community of deputy ministers, the Deputy Minister of Justice shares responsibility with colleagues in other government departments for contributing to the overall leadership of the public service under the direction of the Clerk of the Privy Council.

Chief Policy Advisor

The Deputy Minister acts as principal policy advisor to the Minister on matters within the Minister’s responsibility and authority. She coordinates policy development and ensures the departmental implementation of the Minister’s initiatives and priorities. She also advises on coherent policy development for and management of the Minister’s portfolio.

Accounting Officer

The Financial Administration Act provides that deputy ministers and deputy heads of government entities are designated accounting officers for their organizations. Under the legislation, the responsibilities of accounting officers arise within the framework of ministerial responsibility and accountability to Parliament. Accounting officers are required to appear before the appropriate parliamentary committee to answer questions regarding a specified range of responsibilities and duties relating to departmental management. These responsibilities include managing departmental resources in accordance with government policies and procedures, maintaining effective systems of internal control, and signing the departmental accounts.

Criminal and Civil Litigation

The Deputy Attorney General has important responsibilities in relation to both civil and criminal litigation.

She oversees and directs all civil and administrative litigation conducted by or on behalf of the Crown as well as litigation under the Extradition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters Act.

Following the creation of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the Deputy Attorney General retained a role as advisor to the Attorney General with respect to the exercise of powers reserved to the Attorney General under the Director of Public Prosecutions Act and may be called upon to intervene in proceedings raising questions of public interest or assume the conduct of a prosecution.

In addition, certain decisions in matters affecting national security or international relations must be made personally by the Attorney General or Deputy Attorney General.

A. François Daigle

A. François Daigle

Associate Deputy Minister

Appointed pursuant to subsection 3(3) of the Department of Justice Act, the Associate Deputy Minister has the rank and status of a deputy head of a department and performs such powers, duties and functions under the Deputy Minister.

Resource Profile

2018-2019 Financial Resources

The Department of Justice’s total Main Estimates estimated spending authority for 2018-19 was $994 million. Of that, $698 million was received through the 2018–2019 Voted and Statutory Authority and $296 million in Vote Netted Revenue toallow the Department to collect revenue from other government departments and agencies for all types of legal services delivered including advisory, litigation and legislative/regulatory drafting.

The Department of Justice obtained additional resources of $137 million (breakdown below) through Supplementary Estimates A, various allocations from Treasury Board Central Votes and an increase in Vote Netted Revenue for a total spending authority of $1,131 million.

Supplementary Estimates A ($5.4 million):

Treasury Board Central Votes ($92.4 million):

Increase in Vote Netted Revenue ($39.1M):

Operating Resources (Vote 1)

Operating resources in the amount of $317 million, supplemented by revenues of $327 million, account for approximately 57% of the Department’s total estimated spending authority. These resources pay for salaries and other operating costs such as training, travel, service contracts, maintenance and supplies.

Grants and Contributions (Vote 5)

Grants and contributions account for $409 million, or 36% of the overall spending authority. Contribution programs relating to Youth JusticeFootnote 1 and Legal AidFootnote 2 account for approximately 76% of the total grants and contributions

Statutory Resources

Statutory resources amount to $78 million, most of which is for the Employee Benefits Plan (EBP).

Resource Profile: 2018-2019 Total Authorities $1,131 (in millions)

Resource  Profile: 2018-2019 Total Authorities $1,131 (in millions)

Workforce by Region – as of December 31st, 2018

The Department’s workforce as of December 31st, 2018 comprised of 4,458 Full-Time Equivalents (FTE). The Breakdown per region is presented in the map below.

Workforce by Region – as of December 31st, 2018

Prairie Region:
310 FTE (7%)
Edmonton, Calgary
Saskatoon, Winnipeg

Northern Region:
22 FTE (1%)

B.C. Region:
359 FTE (8%)

Atlantic Region:
81 FTE (2%)
St. John’s

Québec Region:
316 FTE (7%)

Ontario Region:
444 FTE (10%)

2,926 FTE (65%)

Note: Approximately 34% of the Department’s employees are working in the regional offices.

Grants and Contributions

The Department of Justice provides funding to community organizations and other levels of government that are working to support our mandate, mission and values. The Department’s funding programs are designed to support Indigenous communities, victims of crime, people with lower incomes, families and young people. The Department also supports projects that help Canadians understand the law and access the justice system in both official languages.

Department of Justice Total 2018-19 Authorities Grants and Contributions $409 (in million of dollars)

Department of Justice Total 2018-19 Authorities Grants and Contributions $409 (in million of dollars)

Note : total may not add up due to rounding.

Total may not add up due to rounding

Note : total may not add up due to rounding.

Access to Justice Services to the Territories

The Access to Justice Services Agreements (AJAs) are contribution agreements between the federal government and Canada’s three territories. They are the means by which the federal government supports the territories in delivering access to justice-related services which include legal aid (both criminal and civil), Indigenous courtworker services and public legal education and information. The AJAs provide consolidated program funding for each of the three aforementioned program areas. This consolidated approach ensures accountability while allowing the territories the flexibility to deliver justice-related programs as required by the unique needs and circumstances of their communities.

Legal Aid Program

The Legal Aid Program consists of three components and delivers funding through contribution agreements. Details of the three components are described below.

Criminal Legal Aid

Criminal Legal Aid funding helps to ensure access to legal services for economically disadvantaged persons living in Canada accused of serious, complex criminal offences and facing the likelihood of incarceration as well as youths charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. In addition, this funding helps to ensure that Canada cost-effectively meets its criminal legal aid responsibilities in federal prosecutions (such as under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) so that prosecutions proceed and court delays are prevented.

Both levels of government have a mutual interest in ensuring that the criminal justice system, including criminal legal aid, is fair, effective and efficient, and that public confidence in the justice system is maintained. Responsibility for the provision of criminal justice is divided between the federal government, under its constitutional authority for criminal law and procedure, and the provincial governments, under their authority for the administration of justice and for property and civil rights.

Immigration and Refugee Legal Aid

Immigration and Refugee (I&R) Legal Aid funding is provided to the six jurisdictions that deliver services: British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Quebec, Ontario, and Newfoundland/Labrador. Pursuant to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, individuals have the right to be represented at immigration and refugee proceedings.

I&R legal aid addresses the unique needs of refugee claimants (e.g., the need for interpreters or to clarify the overall refugee process) and ensures that claimants who qualify for legal aid are prepared and able to advance their cases before the Immigration and Refugee Board and the Federal Court. This supports decision makers in making timely decisions and contributes to the fairness and efficiency of the asylum system. 

An additional benefit of I&R legal aid is that claimants are more likely to feel that they have experienced a fair process, which helps to decrease the number of appeals and prevent orders against the federal government to provide funded counsel.

State-Funded Counsel

The State-Funded Counsel component of the Legal Aid Program supports:

This includes orders for defence counsel granted in serious federal cases where counsel is necessary to ensure a fair trial and the accused lacks the resources to pay for counsel, and is ineligible for criminal legal aid; and orders for amicus curiae.

Indigenous Courtwork Program

The Department contributes funding to participating provinces for the provision of Indigenous Courtworker services in criminal justice proceedings. The Program is supported by federal, provincial and territorial governments in partnership with the Indigenous communities and delivery agencies. Similar funding is provided in the territories through Access to Justice Services Agreements. The objective of the ICW is to ensure that Indigenous people in contact with the criminal justice system (whether as accused persons, victims, witnesses or family members) have access to fair, equitable, culturally relevant treatment throughout the criminal justice process. Indigenous Courtworkers assist in holding offenders accountable by encouraging them to participate fully in the criminal justice process and ensuring that they understand their responsibilities and the direction given by the court (often in the Indigenous language spoken in the community). In addition, as “friends of the Court”, Indigenous Courtworkers provide courts with information needed for sentencing and bail purposes while also connecting victims, witnesses and family members to culturally safe assistance and resources. In providing these services, Indigenous Courtworkers have been pioneers in using trauma-informed and healing-centred approaches which link both health and justice services. In 2016/2017, approximately 200 Indigenous Courtworkers provided services to approximately 75,000 Indigenous adults and youth involved with the criminal justice system (as accused persons, victims, witnesses and family members) in 435 communities across Canada.

Justice Partnership and Innovation Program

The Justice Partnership and Innovation Program (JPIP) provides resources to facilitate access to justice through various means, including the development of new approaches, the dissemination of law-related information and the testing of pilot projects. The overall goal of the JPIP is to contribute to policy development to ensure that the justice system remains accessible, efficient and effective. The components under the JPIP include: the Family Violence Initiative, Public Legal Education and Information (PLEI), grants to five selected organizations, and the Access to Justice for Aboriginal Women component (Violence Against Aboriginal Women and Girls).

Drug Treatment Court Funding Program

The Drug Treatment Court (DTC) Funding Program, a component of the Treatment Action Plan of the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy, contributes funding to participating provinces for the development, delivery and evaluation of DTCs. DTCs are dedicated courts with the objective of reducing crime committed as a result of drug dependency through court-monitored treatment and community service support for non-violent offenders with serious drug addictions.

Indigenous Justice Program

The Indigenous Justice Program (IJP) is a federally led initiative, delivered in partnership with Canada’s provincial and territorial governments and Indigenous communities. The IJP was created in 1991 as part of an overall federal Indigenous crime reduction strategy to address over-representation of Indigenous peoples in the criminal justice system, as accused, offenders and victims. The IJP support Indigenous community-based justice programs that offer alternatives to the mainstream justice process in appropriate circumstances. Each funded program is unique as it is designed, developed and implemented according to the needs and priorities of the communities that it serves. Currently, the IJP funds approximately 196 community-based justice programs that serve over 750 urban, rural and northern communities, both on- and off-reserve.

Victims Fund

The objective of the Federal Victims Strategy (FVS) is to give victims a more effective voice in the criminal justice and federal corrections systems. The FVS is a horizontal initiative led by the Policy Centre for Victim Issues at the Department of Justice and includes the Correctional Service of Canada, the Parole Board of Canada, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions and the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime.

The FVS also includes the Victims Fund, which provides grants and contributions funding to victims of crime, provinces, territories and non-governmental organizations to develop or enhance victim services and victim-related issues.

Youth Justice Program

The Youth Justice Program consists of three components and delivers funding through contribution agreements. Details of the three components are described below.

Youth Justice Services Funding Program

The Youth Justice Services Funding Program (YJSFP) is a cost-shared contribution program with all provinces and territories for the delivery of youth justice programs and services. The overall objective of the YJSFP is to support the policy directions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA). Priority funding areas include: diversion/extrajudicial measures and extrajudicial sanctions programs; rehabilitative and reintegration services; judicial interim release programs; reports and assessments; intensive support and supervision and attendance programs; and, conferencing and other community-based sanctions.

Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Program

The Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) Program supports all provinces and territories in the delivery of specialized therapeutic programs and services for youth with mental health needs who are convicted of a serious violent offence under the Youth Criminal Justice Act (YCJA).

More particularly, the IRCS Program ensures that provinces and territories have the capacity to both assess and treat young persons as required by the intensive rehabilitative custody and supervision sentencing provisions of the YCJA. In addition, the IRCS Program provides funding for other cases of serious violence committed by young persons who are suffering from a psychological disturbance or mental/mood disorder but who were not sentenced under the aforementioned YCJA provisions.

Youth Justice Fund

The Youth Justice Fund (YJF) is a discretionary demand driven grants and contributions program that supports projects that encourage a more effective youth justice system, respond to emerging youth justice issues and, enable greater citizen and community participation in the youth justice system. More specifically, the Fund supports the development, implementation, and evaluation of pilot projects that provide programming and services for youth in conflict with the law. It supports professional development activities, such as training and conferences, for justice professionals and youth service providers. Additionally, it funds research on the youth justice system and related youth justice issues. Community organizations, Indigenous organizations, educational institutions, other levels of government and individuals are all eligible for funding.

Integrated Market Enforcement Teams Reserve Fund

The Integrated Market Enforcement Teams (IMET) Reserve Fund funds extraordinary prosecution expenses incurred in IMET-generated cases of national significance being prosecuted by provincial attorneys general. IMETs are special RCMP-led units that investigate capital markets fraud.

The Reserve Fund will provide funding for expenses incurred as a result of (1) exceptional court ordered disclosure, (2) specialized contracts, for example, forensic experts, language/interpretation, and (3) technical and/or equipment requirements including scanning equipment, computers and audio/video technology.

Implementation of Official Languages requirements under the Contraventions Act

The Contraventions Act provides an alternative to the summary conviction process as set out in part XXVII of the Criminal Code for the prosecution of federal regulatory offences which are minor in nature. This is accomplished by designating these offences as “contraventions” and allowing for their prosecution through a ticketing scheme. This approach ensures a more effective application of federal statutes and reduces the workload of the courts by allowing for the voluntary payment of fines in lieu of prosecuting them through the Criminal Code summary conviction process.

The Contraventions Act Fund provides funding to provinces, territories and municipalities who, on behalf of the federal government, administer federal contraventions through provincial ticketing regimes. The Fund provides the funding for the necessary measures to ensure that the language rights provided by sections 530 and 530.1 of the Criminal Code and Part IV of the Official Languages Act, for persons who are prosecuted for contraventions of federal statutes or regulations, are respected. Such measures include among others the hiring of bilingual staff, language training, bilingual signage and documentation.

Canadian Family Justice Fund

The Canadian Family Justice Fund facilitates access to the family justice system for families experiencing separation and divorce through various services, programs, and information resources. The Fund addresses the following priorities: fostering federal, provincial and territorial collaboration; supporting the well-being of family members; reaching diverse and underserved populations; supporting alternatives to court for family law matters; and improving and streamlining family justice system links/processes.

The Fund is comprised of two components. The Family Justice Activities component supports provincial and territorial programs and services assisting families experiencing separation and divorce. Examples include parent information programs, mediation, administrative child support recalculation and maintenance enforcement programs. The Projects component supports provincial and territorial governments, not-for-profit organizations, associations, academic institutions and individuals. Examples of activities include informing Canadians about family law issues and developing new strategies, models and tools intended to improve access to family justice.

Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund

The Access to Justice in Both Official Languages Support Fund supports the Department’s commitments under the Government of Canada’s Action Plan for Official Languages 2018-2023 by providing resources to facilitate access to justice for members of official language minority communities (OLMCs).

The Fund is based on two pillars. The Information pillar supports projects that provide quality legal information to members of OLMCs, including legal information hubs that are now present in 5 provinces. The Training pillar focuses on supporting language training for justice system professionals to enhance the justice system’s capacity to better serve Canadians in both official languages. In addition, the Action Plan will provide for the re-establishment of core funding to eligible organizations working in the field of access to justice for official language minority communities (scheduled to be on the agenda for approval at a Treasury Board meeting on January 16, 2019.).

Hague Conference on Private International Law

The purpose of the Hague Conference is to work for the progressive unification of the rules of private international law. The Department pays an annual assessed contribution to enable Canada to meet its financial obligations to the Conference as well as to help fulfil Canada’s international policy objectives by participating in the work of the organization. The unification of private international law has great importance both in a national and international context, particularly because it facilitates the resolution of disputes involving two or more jurisdictions that may have conflicting legal rules relating to various private law matters. The development of uniform legislation reduces the risks of such conflicts.

International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (Unidroit)

The purposes of Unidroit are to examine ways of harmonizing and coordinating the private law of States and groups of States, and to prepare gradually for the adoption by the various States of uniform rules of private law. The Department pays an annual assessed contribution to enable Canada to meet its financial obligations to Unidroit as well as to help fulfil Canada’s international policy objectives by participating in the work of the organization.

Special Advocates Program

The Special Advocates Program was established to support the Minister of Justice in implementing the 2008 amendments to the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA). These amendments created a special advocates regime which ensures a Charter compliant procedure for removing inadmissible non-Canadians from Canada while using and protecting national security information. Briefly stated, special advocates are appointed by a court or tribunal to protect the interests of named persons during in camera IRPA Division 9 proceedings. Infrequently these proceedings are used to permit the use of national security information to determine detention and the substantive merits of admissibility proceedings.

The Special Advocates Funding Program ensures that the Minister of Justice meets the following requirements of the amended IRPA: establishing a list of persons who may be appointed as special advocates; publishing the list in a manner that facilitates public access to it; and ensuring that special advocates are provided with adequate administrative support and resources

Services to the Department

Chief Results and Delivery Officer

Steve Mihorean

Steve Mihorean
Director General

The Chief Results and Delivery Officer (CRDO) leads the design and acts as custodian of Justice Canada’s evidence-based results and delivery framework, helping the Department to better achieve meaningful results for Canadians, carry out its mandate and collaborate with others to successfully implement government-wide priorities. This role includes supporting and challenging Justice officials in their work to advance the Minister’s mandate letter obligations.

The CRDO is responsible for reporting on the Department’s progress to the DM and to the Privy Council Office, and represents Justice Canada as a member of the interdepartmental network of CRDOs. The network comprises CRDOs from all departments to ensure engagement and collaboration on the implementation of government-wide priorities, which have been approved by the Cabinet Committee on Agenda, Results and Communications, chaired by the Prime Minister.

Shirley Anne Off

Shirley Anne Off
Director General

Communications Branch

The Communications Branch supports the Minister, Deputy Minister and senior managers to ensure that communications with the public are well-coordinated, effectively managed and responsive to the needs of the audience. It provides a full range of media relations services, strategic communications advice, and products such as news releases, backgrounders, speeches, photograph and video production, and development of web content.

Criminal Justice System Review Secretariat

Steve Mihorean

Steve Mihorean
Director General

The Criminal Justice System Review (CJSR) Secretariat operates out of the Deputy Minister’s Office under the leadership of Steve Mihorean, Director General.

The Government of Canada is committed to modernizing the criminal justice system. In order to do this, the Government of Canada is undertaking a thorough examination of this system based on the commitments detailed in the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada’s Mandate Letter from the Prime Minister.

The CJSR Secretariat focuses on a broad mandate that encompasses the transformation and modernization of the criminal justice system. Collaboration with agencies that deliver health, education and social services, as well as engagement with the public and key constituencies of partners and stakeholders, are a feature of the secretariat’s work.

Internal Audit

Anne Patenaude

Anne Patenaude
Chief Audit Executive

The Internal Audit Branch of the Department of Justice contributes to the strengthening of accountability and the improvement of overall effectiveness and efficiency of departmental operations by determining whether the Department’s network of risk management, internal control and governance processes, as designed and represented by management, are adequate and functioning appropriately. This includes ensuring that:

Management Sector and Chief Financial Officer Sector

Johanne  Bernard

Johanne Bernard
Assistant Deputy Minister and Chief Financial Officer

The Management Sector provides a suite of internal services to assist the Department in meeting its policy and program priorities, building a workplace of choice, and delivering high-quality legal services to the Government of Canada.

To achieve this, the Sector supports the Deputy Minister in her role as Chief Accounting Officer by providing objective advice on the overall stewardship of the Department’s financial management and its performance; provides human resources management including learning and leadership development, official languages, recruitment, compensation, labour relations, classification, and talent/performance management; offers services to foster a respectful, healthy and safe environment; develops and provides guidance on corporate documents such as Memoranda to Cabinet, Treasury Board submissions, Departmental Plans, Departmental Results Reports, etc.; offers evaluation services to the Department; implements the Department’s Safety and Security Program and IT Security Services; provides information management services; processes public access requests to the Access to Information and Privacy Office; and, manages the Department’s accommodations and facilities nationally. The Sector also provides select services to the Public Prosecution Service of Canada under a shared services agreement.

Laurie Wright

Laurie Wright
Senior Assistant Deputy Minister

Policy SectorFootnote 3

The Policy Sector supports the Minister’s legislative and policy initiatives and priorities by providing comprehensive and strategic legal and policy advice, law reform, research, program delivery and international assistance in support of Canada’s justice system.

The Policy Sector comprises the following sections: Criminal Law Policy Section; Family Children and Youth Section; Youth Justice Section; Programs Branch; Policy Integration and Coordination Section; and International Legal Programs Section.

Review of Laws and Policies Secretariat

Patrick Boucher

Patrick Boucher
Director General

The Review of Laws and Policies Secretariat is a multi-disciplinary team that collaborates with colleagues from across government to ensure that the Crown is fulfilling its constitutional and international human rights obligations, including Aboriginal and treaty rights.

The Secretariat supports the Working Group of Ministers on the Review of Laws and Policies, which is led by the Minister of Justice and plays a key role realizing the Minister’s mandate letter commitment to advance reconciliation and achieve a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with Indigenous peoples. The Review of Laws and Policies is guided by a set of principles based on section 35 of the Constitution Act, 1982. In addition, the Secretariat supports the Deputy Minister Task Force on Reconciliation.

Services to the Government

Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio

Laurie Sargent

Laurie Sargent
Assistant Deputy Minister

The Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio (AAP) has functional responsibility for Aboriginal matters in order to ensure consistency of legal positions and practices throughout all federal government departments. AAP provides expert advice and services relating to Aboriginal law and strategic policy, Aboriginal consultation, resolution of litigation and related disputes with Aboriginal people, and a complete range of legal advisory services for Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada.

Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio

Andrew Saranchuk

Andrew Saranchuk
Assistant Deputy Minister

The Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio (BRLP) has over 420 legal counsel providing integrated legal advisory services, including litigation and drafting support services, to over 40 client departments, agencies and other federal entities through 12 Departmental Legal Services Units (DLSUs), a Centre of Expertise in Procurement Law, the Resource Development Coordination Unit, and the Commercial Law Section.

The BRLP DLSUs are embedded with client departments at Agriculture and Food Inspection; Canadian Heritage; Competition Bureau; Employment and Social Development Canada; Environment and Climate Change Canada; Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard; Global Affairs Canada; Health Canada; Innovation, Science and Economic Development; Natural Resources Canada; Public Services and Procurement Canada and Shared Services Canada; and Transport Canada. These DLSUs provide legal services on a wide range of business and regulatory law issues, ranging from resource development and energy projects to health initiatives and major procurement files.

Through the Commercial Law Section, the BRLP ADM also has functional responsibility for the practice of commercial law across the Department of Justice in order to provide strategic direction and ensure consistency of legal positions and practices throughout federal departments and agencies.

Central Agencies Portfolio

Isabelle T. Jacques

Isabelle T. Jacques
Assistant Deputy Minister

The Central Agencies Portfolio (CAP) manages legal, policy and operational issues related to the central agency functions of government. The Portfolio, which comprises seven Departmental Legal Services Units, provides services related to financial institutions, public service employment and labour law, tax law, Crown law, financial law, money laundering, terrorist financing, machinery of government, and the federal budget.

The ADM is the Counsel to the Department of Finance and a member of the executive committees of both the Departments of Justice and Finance. She manages advisory and litigation services for the Department of Finance (which includes General Legal Services and Tax Counsel Division) as well as the Treasury Board Secretariat, the Public Service Commission, the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions of Canada, the Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre of Canada, and the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada.

National Litigation Sector

Geoffrey Bickert

Geoffrey Bickert
Assistant Deputy Attorney General

The National Litigation Sector (NLS) supports the Government, mitigates risks, and manages the law before, during, or as a result of litigation. The Attorney General of Canada has responsibility for all litigation for or against the Crown, any department, or Crown agent corporations. The litigation function within the Department of Justice is handled by the NLS at headquarters, the regional offices, and some specialized Departmental Legal Services Units. The ADAG Litigation has functional and coordination responsibility for all litigation conducted by or on behalf of the Department of Justice.

The NLS is also responsible for extradition, mutual legal assistance requests, and related litigation; national security litigation and coordination; class action and mass litigation to which Canada is a party; the Agent Affairs Program; and litigation support services and technology.

The ADAG is the Government’s chief legal adviser in matters relating to litigation by and against the Crown.

National Litigation Sector

Robert Frater, Q.C.

Robert Frater, Q.C.
Chief General Counsel

The Chief General Counsel reports directly to the Deputy Minister and works on significant and high-profile litigation within the Department, working closely with the Assistant Deputy Attorney General and portfolio leads on key litigation matters. He serves as a direct resource to the Deputy Minister, offering briefings, advice, and strategic guidance on key legal issues from a whole-of-government perspective.

The Chief General Counsel’s role also includes mentoring counsel across the country, sharing his vast experience relating to oral and written advocacy, and supporting government departments and the interaction between litigation and government policy.

Public Law and Legislative Services Sector

Nancy Othmer

Nancy Othmer
Assistant Deputy Minister

The Public Law and Legislative Services Sector (PLLSS) delivers specialized legal advisory and policy advice. PLLSS has recognized experts in human rights law and policy; constitutional, administrative and international law; information and privacy law and policy; official languages law and policy; judicial affairs; and international trade and investment law. In addition, the Legislative Services Branch drafts bills and regulations in both official languages harmoniously with Canada’s two legal systems. In so doing, it contributes to the general recognition and promotion of bilingualism and bijuralism.

Public Safety, Defence and Immigration Portfolio

Elisabeth Eid

Elisabeth Eid
Assistant Deputy Minister

The Public Safety, Defence and Immigration Portfolio provides a full range of strategic legal services (legislative, advisory and litigation) related to matters and litigation on national security and defence to the following departments and agencies: Public Safety Canada and its component agencies (Correctional Service of Canada, Parole Board of Canada, RCMP, CSIS and the Canada Border Services Agency); Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; the Department of National Defence; and Communications Security Establishment Canada. It is also responsible for the Department of Justice’s Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Program.

Tax Law Services Portfolio

Lynn Lovett

Lynn Lovett
Assistant Deputy Minister

Tax Law Services provides legal support, including legal advice, litigation and drafting services, on matters such as the goods and services tax, income tax, collections, employment insurance, administrative law, corporate governance, and civil litigation. Tax Law Services is located in Ottawa, but provides legal services in coordination with the National Litigation Sector and regional offices across the country. Its in‑depth expertise in law and related areas allows Tax Law Services to mobilize resources best suited to respond to the evolving legal needs of the Canada Revenue Agency.

Regional Offices

The regional offices provide litigation and advisory services to federal departments and agencies operating across the country.

Atlantic Region

Clare Barry
Regional Director General
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The Atlantic Regional Office (ARO) main office is located in Halifax and operates within the four Atlantic provinces. Additional offices are located in Charlottetown and St. John’s. The ARO provides litigation and advisory services within the region, while the Veterans Affairs Legal Services Unit provides advisory services nationally to its client.

Quebec Region

Francisco Couto

Francisco Couto
Regional Director General

The Quebec Regional Office (QRO) is headquartered in Montreal with a sub-office in Ottawa. Quebec is the only province in which Canada’s two legal traditions exist side by side. Questions of private law are dealt with under the Civil Code of Québec, while common law applies in matters of public and criminal law. QRO provides legal services to federal departments and organizations operating in Quebec. It represents the Attorney General of Canada in proceedings heard by Quebec tribunals and courts, as well as before the Supreme Court of Canada in matters such as immigration, taxation, commercial law, regulatory law, and Aboriginal law. Its notaries provide legal services related to commercial and real property matters involving the Government of Canada.

Ontario Region

Carla Lyon

Carla Lyon
Regional Director General

The Ontario Regional Office (ORO) is headquartered in Toronto and provides legal services to dozens of governmental clients in Ontario. It primarily provides litigation services in areas that include Aboriginal law, business law, immigration law, public law, regulatory law, tax law and extradition. The ORO also provides some advisory services related to property, commercial and environmental matters.

Prairie Region

David Hansen, Q.C.

David Hansen, Q.C.
Regional Director General

The Prairie Regional Office (PRO) main office is located in Edmonton. The PRO operates in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and its additional offices are located in Calgary, Saskatoon, and Winnipeg. PRO provides legal services for federal departments and agencies. Services offered to client departments and agencies include Aboriginal law, civil litigation, tax litigation and collections and advisory services in business, regulatory and immigration law.

British Columbia Region

Jonathan Chaplan

Jonathan Chaplan
Regional Director General

The British Columbia Regional Office (BCRO) is located in Vancouver. The BCRO delivers litigation and advisory services to more than 30 federal departments and agencies in British Columbia, as well as in other provinces and territories where B.C. counsel are the lead. The areas of law are broad and include Aboriginal, tax, immigration, public safety, defence, central agency, business, and regulatory, among others. Regional counsel represent the Government of Canada at various tribunals and all levels of court.

Northern Region

Alex Benitah

Alex Benitah
Regional Director General

The Northern Regional Office (NRO) forms part of the National Litigation Sector. The NRO provides regional litigation and advisory legal services to federal departments operating in the three Northern Territories. The NRO has offices in Yellowknife (Northwest Territories) and Whitehorse (Yukon); it also has lawyers co-located with Indigenous and Northern Affairs in Iqaluit (Nunavut). The NRO’s areas of practice include aboriginal affairs, public safety defence and immigration, business and regulatory matters, and tax law services.

Organizational Chart

Organizational  Chart