Bill C-30 (Historical)
Courts Administration Service Act
An Act to establish a body that provides administrative services to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court of Canada, to amend the Federal Court Act, the Tax Court of Canada Act and the Judges Act, and to make related and consequential amendments to other Acts
This bill was last introduced in the 37th Parliament, 1st Session, which ended in September 2002.
Anne McLellan Liberal
This bill has received Royal Assent and is now law.
Business of the House
December 6th, 2007 / 3 p.m.
Peter Van Loan Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister for Democratic Reform
Mr. Speaker, 2007 has been a great year for Canada and a great year for the House of Commons.
Next week is the last week of the fall sitting and the last week before the new year. The sitting and the year have been extremely successful for the federal government, as we have introduced legislation in all of our priority areas and have delivered results for Canadians.
However, since we have only a few sitting days remaining this year to address important tax cuts, security issues and other priority bills still pending, Canadians are expecting us to work very hard in the coming days to produce results for them.
We want to see our priority bills passed in this House and sent to the Senate so that they may become law before Christmas. As a result, next week will be 2007, a year of results week.
We plan to build on our past achievements by debating and passing the budget implementation bill, which would lower taxes for all Canadians by reducing the GST to 5%, as well as by bringing in tax cuts for individuals and corporations.
We will debate Bill S-2, An Act to amend the Canada-United States Tax Convention Act, 1984, which must be passed by Parliament before January 1 to ensure that it is implemented and we can benefit from that.
We will also debate our railway transportation bill, Bill C-8, and our bill on the settlement of international investment disputes, Bill C-9. Both bills will help create jobs and provide economic certainty for Canadians.
Our government will continue to show Canadians that we are serious about tackling crime and strengthening the security of Canadians. Next week, we expect that our security certificates bill, Bill C-3, will be reported back from committee. The bill will then be debated at report stage and third reading. We hope the hon. members of the House understand the importance of passing this legislation so that it may be considered and passed by the Senate before the deadline imposed by the Supreme Court.
We will debate any amendments made to our Bill C-13 on criminal procedure, currently being examined by the Senate.
Speaking of the Senate, the government hopes that the tackling violent crime act will pass the Senate so Canadians can feel safer over the Christmas holidays knowing that the bill has been enacted into law.
Canadians also expect their institutions to be more accountable and democratic. We have built a record of results on this file as well, with the passage of the Federal Accountability Act and Bill C-31 to improve the integrity of the voting process. Next week we will continue with our plans in this area by debating Bill C-29, which closes a loophole in our campaign financing laws that Liberal leadership candidates used to bypass campaign contribution limits last year.
We would also like Bill C-6, on the visual identification of voters, and Bill C-18, on the verification of residence, to be sent back by committee. It is important for these bills to become law, so that they can be implemented in time for the next byelections.
Tomorrow I will also seek consent to send Bill C-30, the specific land claims bill, to committee. This bill to create certainty and allow land claims to be resolved more quickly is a welcome addition and the country will be better off the sooner its process is put in place.
This year, 2007, has been an excellent year for Canada. Our economy is booming, the country is united and there is integrity in government.
We have achieved a lot this year. Our government has delivered real results for Canadians in 2007 and will continue to do so next week and in the new year.
Message from the Senate
The Royal Assent
March 27th, 2002 / 11:40 a.m.
The Deputy Speaker
I have the honour to inform the House that when the House went up to the Senate chamber, the Deputy Governor General was pleased to give, in Her Majesty's name, the royal assent to the following bills:
Bill C-51, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2002— Chapter No. 5.
Bill C-52, an act for granting to Her Majesty certain sums of money for the public service of Canada for the financial year ending March 31, 2003— Chapter No. 6.
Bill C-39, an act to replace the Yukon Act in order to modernize it and to implement certain provisions of the Yukon Northern Affairs Program Devolution Transfer Agreement, and to repeal and make amendments to other acts—Chapter No. 7.
Bill C-30, an act to establish a body that provides administrative services to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court of Canada, to amend the Federal Court Act, the Tax Court of Canada Act and the Judges Act, and to make related and consequential amendments to other acts—Chapter No. 8.
Bill C-49, an act to implement certain provisions of the budget tabled in Parliament on December 10, 2001—Chapter No. 9.
It being 11.50 a.m., the House stands adjourned until Monday, April 8, 2002, at 11 a.m., pursuant to Standing Orders 28 and 24.
(The House adjourned at 11.50 a.m.)
Courts Administration Service Act
February 22nd, 2002 / 10:50 a.m.
The Acting Speaker (Ms. Bakopanos)
The question is on the motion for third reading of Bill C-30. Is it the pleasure of the House to adopt the motion?
Courts Administration Service Act
February 22nd, 2002 / 10:30 a.m.
Peter MacKay Pictou—Antigonish—Guysborough, NS
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to take part in this debate.
This bill is one which I think has already been described as technical in nature, but certainly is a very important bill and one that has laudable aims and goals. On behalf of my colleagues in the Progressive Conservative coalition, we are supportive of the bill, the efforts it entails in making the courts more effective and efficient and, to use the vernacular, keeping the wheels of justice turning in what is increasingly a very complex system throughout this country.
It has salary components and elements of consolidation. The salary components perhaps are those which could be described as the most sexy parts of this bill. In essence, their aim is to ensure that judges remain independent and free of influence. The bill touches upon some of the very tenets of law in that it is meant to ensure there is greater access and efficiency in the administration of justice.
The bill itself touches upon a number of elements that I hope to discuss in my brief remarks, but there is an important component behind all bills that relate to justice.
If I can digress for just a moment, one of the cornerstones of justice is the importance of truth, the importance of the evidence itself being presented in a truthful fashion. All efforts that are made to ensure that this is implicit in the administration of justice are very important. We could learn from this in the Chamber in the process we engage in as members of parliament; the importance of truth, the importance of ministers and of all members to be truthful in their relating of evidence, information and their exchanges within the Chamber.
The bill touches on a large number of other areas of the law. It touches on things such as the Federal Court of Appeal, the Court Martial Appeal Court, the Tax Court of Canada. It amends the Federal Court Act, the Judges Act and other consequential acts.
It can be described best as an omnibus bill. We have seen numerous omnibus legislation in this government's tenure. Some of that has been a very poison and partisan process which often has been used to try to scuttle opposition criticisms of certain elements of legislation. I do not believe that is the case with the bill before the House.
What the bill tries to do is consolidate the current administrative services of the Federal Court of Canada, the Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court of Canada into a single courts administration service. It is aimed at streamlining the delivery of court services.
Often when we hear members of the government use this word, it is fair to say that we expect the opposite because streamlining has really not been this government's forte. In fact, we have seen expansion of bureaucracy under this particular government. However, at least in its intent the bill is certainly trying to streamline the current system. It amends the Federal Court Act and related legislation to create a separate Federal Court of Appeal and it amends the Tax Court of Canada and related legislation that changes the status of the tax court to that of a superior court.
It also goes about amending other federal statutes such as the Judges Act and the Access to Information Act, which we know has been thwarted in some instances very recently by this government, particularly as it relates to the disclosure of charge accounts of senior bureaucrats and ministers. That is unfortunate and is inconsistent with the government's earlier promises to be more transparent and more open in its administration. That certainly has not been the case.
The bill also touches upon the Canada Elections Act, the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, the Employment Insurance Act, Extradiction Act, Immigration Act, Income Tax Act, National Defence Act and Privacy Act to name a few. This is not the complete list.
I want to talk just for a moment about some of the substantive elements of the bill.
Bill C-30 proposes to change the Federal Court Act so that:
The Court shall consist of two divisions, called the Federal Court—Appeal Division (which may be referred to as the Court of Appeal or Federal Court of Appeal) and the Federal Court—Trial Division.
Under clause 19, section 10(1) of the act would read:
--any judge of a superior, county or district court in Canada, and any person who has held office as a judge of a superior, county or district court in Canada, may, at the request of the Chief Justice of the Federal Court of Appeal made with the approval of the Governor in Council, act as a judge of the Federal Court of Appeal, and while so acting has all the powers of a judge of that court and shall be referred to as a deputy judge of that court.
This would expand the diversity of the actions of judges in that capacity.
This can happen under current legislation but judges need the permission of the chief justice or chief judge of the court on which they currently serve as members, or they would need the permission of the attorney general of the province. It creates a new process to be followed.
Under the bill, section 11 of the act would read:
(1) Every person who is a barrister or an advocate in a province may practise as a barrister or an advocate in the Federal Court of Appeal or the Federal Court.
(2) Every person who is an attorney or a solicitor in a superior court of a province may practise as an attorney or a solicitor in the Federal Court of Appeal or the Federal Court.
It goes on to talk about the attorney, advocate or solicitor being an officer of the court.
Clause 21 of the bill with respect to sheriffs and their actions within the court is of importance and deserves highlighting. Under it, section 13 of the act would state:
(1) The Governor in Council may appoint a sheriff of the Federal Court of Appeal and of the Federal Court for any geographical area.
(2) If no sheriff is appointed under subsection (1) for a court for a geographical area, the sheriff and deputy sheriffs of the county or other judicial division or part of the county within that geographical area who are appointed under provincial law are ex officio sheriffs and deputy sheriffs--
In the constituency I represent in Nova Scotia, Pictou--Antigonish--Guysborough, we have an efficient and effective sheriff system due in great part to men like Jim MacDonald who is the high sheriff for Pictou county. The men and women acting in that capacity are custodians of justice in a very real sense. They are called on daily in their duties to help administer. They are the front line deliverers of many services and in some cases are the enforcers of the law.
They work closely with other elements in the administration system like the prothonotary. We are fortunate in Pictou county to have a woman as capable and competent as Doris Scanlan. She and others in the area I represent are doing an extremely good job for the people of Pictou county and surrounding areas.
One of the changes in Bill C-30 that relates to sheriffs would give every sheriff or deputy sheriff of the court ex officio status. A marshal as an ex officio would become a deputy marshall of the court.
There are elements of the bill that speak to the jurisdiction of the trial division. Under subclause 25(3) of Bill C-30, section 17 of the Federal Court Act would be modified as follows:
(3) The Federal Court has exclusive originaljurisdiction to hear and determine thefollowing matters:
(a) the amount to be paid if the Crown andany person have agreed in writing that the Crown or that person shall pay an amount to be determined by the Federal Court, the Federal Court—Trial Division or the Exchequer Court of Canada; and
(b) any question of law, fact or mixed lawand fact that the Crown and any person haveagreed in writing shall be determined by the Federal Court, the Federal Court--Trial Division or the Exchequer Court of Canada.
(4) The Federal Court has concurrent original jurisdiction to hear and determine proceedings to determine disputes in which the Crown is or may be under an obligationand in respect of which there are or may be conflicting claims.
The bill is technical in nature but deals with the nuts and bolts of the administration of justice, be it in civil matters or matters involving the criminal administration of justice.
A number of clauses deal with payment and the affixing or assigning of debt. I am referring to judgments of the court. Clause 50 of the bill deals with section 52 of the existing act which states:
The Federal Court of Appeal may
(a) quash proceedings in cases brought before it in which it has no jurisdiction or whenever those proceedings are not taken in good faith--
That is in essence the power to quash proceedings.
In the case of an appeal from the trial division it would have the power to dismiss the appeal or give judgment and awards the trial division should have given or awarded.
Again, the bill deals with making decisions based on fact, assignment of debt, and declarations or conclusions the trial division may have made that are subject to appeal.
The sections dealing with the tax court can be viewed as quite complicated but are of great importance. My colleague in the Alliance Party from Saskatchewan spoke quite eloquently in suggesting the administration of justice and civil court actions have become extremely cumbersome and convoluted and are beyond the pale of most average citizens. The ability to access justice and court administration has become cumbersome and almost unattainable in some instances because of the cost. It is cost prohibitive in many instances to take an action to court.
I mention this to underscore the importance of speeding up the way we react to conflicts in the law and the time it takes to get matters to the courts and the judges. We are finding time and again that the Department of Justice is in many instances complicit in efforts to delay justice because it is used as a tactic. It is used as a tactic in all levels of court to the advantage of individuals who have the ability to pay. The government is in a much stronger position if it can drag matters out to the point where people simply give up and go away because they cannot afford a lawyer or filing costs and in many instances cannot afford to wait and put their lives on hold.
This is an extremely important problem throughout the country. I hope the bill will have an impact on it. I am not completely confident it is the solution the government holds it out to be, but I see some merit in its efforts to streamline administration and make the courts more effective.
My hon. friend from Cumberland--Colchester would agree that it depends very much on the professionals and the proficiency of people working in the system. Whether in government, law, business or professional sports, a certain standard and level of efficiency must be applied. It cannot always be imposed by legislation. It must be fostered. It must be encouraged. It must be rewarded in some instances.
I hope the personnel who carry out the administration of justice will take seriously the intent of the bill. This is not in any way to cast aspersions on those who work in the system. I made a statement yesterday in the House about legal aid lawyers in Canada who do a tremendous job with a lack of resources. They go far beyond the pale in terms of the preparation time they require and the extraordinary effort they make to ensure access to justice on behalf of their clients.
It truly is a crisis. I do not use the word lightly because the phrase is often over-used in this place. Prosecutors and legal aid lawyers are labouring under a system that has become bogged down. The wheels of justice have not been turning in an effective way. I am hopeful that Bill C-30 is a starting point. It is an opportunity to revisit and re-examine areas in which we can become more efficient.
I alluded earlier to the Judges Act. One of the upshots of the bill would be to address increasing concerns about judges being susceptible to influence. I will be blunt. I am talking about organized crime, biker gangs or terrorists, either within our country or globally, attempting to influence judges through intimidation or bribes.
As the subcommittee on organized crime made a brief foray into the problem of organized crime in Canada it became clear that the scourge of organized criminal activity had far reaching influence in both criminal and legitimate sectors of Canadian society. We cannot in any way, shape or form allow such influence to permeate the halls of justice.
Thus the issue of judges and justices' salaries becomes increasingly important. We must find a way to ensure judicial independence is always maintained and that judges are not tempted by any outside influence that could compromise their rulings from the bench. This is an element of the bill we in the coalition feel is extremely important and one we embrace and support.
The salaries of federal court judges in recent years have by Canadian standards been seen as quite high. However let us consider the importance of the job they do, the pristine nature of the law, the need for it to be administered correctly and the need to attract the best, brightest, and most ethical. I strongly urge Canadians to think about the issue in that context.
The margin of error for people who administer justice is very small. Sadly, in recent days and years we have seen examples where people who should not have been entrusted with the responsibility have made improper rulings and commentary that have done considerable damage to communities and to the public image of their profession.
The bill would set out the levels of salaries, fix rates of compensation and deal with the duties judges are expected to perform. It would deal with how long they are required or permitted to stay in their positions and how they might be removed for indiscretions. It would deal with designation and salary adjustments if they choose to step down or are removed involuntarily from their positions of responsibility.
The bill is quite voluminous. It touches on important administrative departments and legislation in the current context.
The Access to Information Act is another bill which deserves our attention. There is a change afoot within section 52 of that act. It states:
(1) Any application under section 41 or 42 relating to a record or a part of a record that the head of a government institution has refused to disclose by reason of paragraph 13(1)(a) or (b) or section 15 shall be heard and determined by the Associate Chief Justice of the Federal Court or by such other judge of the Court as the Associate Chief Justice may designate to hear such applications.
This is very apropos to a current situation. The information commissioner, John Reid, has commenced an action because of the refusal of the PMO to turn over certain documents pertaining to the Prime Minister's schedule. Sadly, the issue of whether the documents should be made public is sometimes blurred. The information commissioner is not suggesting the documents simply be made public. He is suggesting he has the right to look at them and determine whether they should be made public.
Mr. Reid is a former member of parliament and distinguished member of the House. It is ludicrous and beyond perverse that the Prime Minister, who is ultimately responsible for appointing the information commissioner and entrusting those responsibilities to him, is in essence saying he does not trust him to make the call. It is somewhat disturbing and inconsistent with any suggestion of transparency in government.
Courts Administration Service Act
February 22nd, 2002 / 10:20 a.m.
Michel Guimond Beauport—Montmorency—Côte-De- Beaupré—Île-D'Orléans, QC
Madam Speaker, I am pleased to have the opportunity to speak to Bill C-30, an act to establish a body that provides administrative services to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court of Canada. It consolidates the administrative services already in place under a chief administrator. This bill also creates a Court Martial Appeal Court and makes justices of the Federal Tax Court into justices of the Superior Court .
The first amendment had been needed for some years, and in fact reflects the organization chart already in place for the other courts, both federal and provincial, that is a court of first instance, or trial court, and an appeal court. The third is a matter of terminology only, not changing the powers and duties of these judges in any way.
I wish to point out to begin with that the Bloc Québécois is in favour of protecting the principles of impartiality and independence of the judiciary from any interference by the executive and legislative branches of government. We are, however, forced to admit that the Minister of Justice, a Quebecer to boot, has not seen fit to extend this protection to the mechanisms for selecting the chief administrator, by having a call for nominations from which the final selection would be made by the House and not by appointment by the governor in council.
When we see that a bill states that appointments are to be made by the governor in council, this is just a roundabout way of saying, “We want to continue the system of patronage we have at present”. The governor in council is in fact a body composed of none other than the Prime Minister and the PMO, which decides on certain appointments. This takes us back to the standard demand by the Bloc Quebecois that these appointments need to be submitted to democratic screening the House and its committees.
If the government, which often makes the claim of transparency, has nothing to hide, why does it allow this power to be left in the hands of the Prime Minister, his cabinet and the Privy Council, which is really nothing but the Prime Minister's department?
This bill could be more effective if it respected the concept of appearance of justice by giving preference to the selection of candidates, rather than a governor in council appointment. The Bloc Québécois presented an amendment in committee to call for nominations in order to select the chief administrator. As members can imagine, given the Liberal majority sitting on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, this amendment was rejected. We believe that the suggestion made by the Bloc Québécois could have preserved the independence of the bench and protected it from government interference.
While an independent administrative body is created, its administrator remains under the authority of the executive branch, namely the Prime Minister's Office, because of the appointment process itself. Why did the government not also want to preserve the independence of the chief administrator?
There is a contradiction here and, as parliamentarians, we are greatly disappointed by that. We were hoping for more. Given the government's intention to undertake a reform in this area, it would have been desirable to extend its scope to the fullest.
In conclusion, the Bloc Québécois feels that the objectives mentioned in the preamble of the bill, which include co-ordinating activities between the various federal courts an increasing judicial independence and responsibilities regarding the use of public moneys, must be supported.
In spite of the flaw relating to the appointment process of the chief administrator, the Bloc Québécois feels that the protection of the principle of judicial independence must prevail. This being said, the Bloc Québécois supports Bill C-30 at third reading.
Courts Administration Service Act
February 22nd, 2002 / 10:05 a.m.
Paul MacKlin Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
Madam Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise to lead off the debate on third reading of Bill C-30, an act to establish a body that provides administrative services to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court and the Tax Court of Canada.
The principal objective of Bill C-30 is to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the Federal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada through certain structural modifications to these courts. At the same time, these amendments are intended to fully respect the courts' independence and to ensure the continued provision of the high quality of justice that Canadians have a right to expect from these courts.
The bill contains three important structural modifications to the courts. First, the consolidation of the current administrative services of the two, the federal court and the tax court, into a single courts administration service. Second, the creation of a separate Federal Court of Appeal. Third, a change in the status of the tax court to that of a superior court.
The most significant structural modification to the bill is the consolidation of the administrative services of the courts and the establishment of the courts administration service. The service would provide the administrative needs of the federal court, the tax court and the court martial appeal court. This would entail common management of all aspects of administration, including court facilities, registries and related real property and common corporate services.
As hon. members know, our constitution establishes that responsibility and power for courts administration be shared between the judiciary and the government. The government is responsible for providing and is publicly accountable for the necessary resources required to support the courts' functions while chief justices are responsible and accountable for the effective administration of the courts as it relates to the judicial function.
The Supreme Court of Canada has held that to ensure the courts' institutional independence the judiciary must control all matters bearing directly on the adjudicative function.
However, delineating the respective authority and accountability of the government and the judiciary is not always a simple task. There is a large operational and policy area in which both government and the judiciary have an interest and a role.
Thus, in addition to the constitutional imperative that any model developed must respect the role of the judiciary and the government in the administration of the courts, the practical realities of this shared responsibility necessitated collaboration between the government and the judiciary in the development of the proposed structure of the courts administrative service.
The bill would establish a structure that would permit both the government and the judiciary, through the office of the courts administration service, with the chief administrator at the head, to collaborate in such a way as to maximize public accountability and judicial independence.
In addition to being supported by the courts affected by the reforms, these reforms will be welcomed by those served by the courts. The establishment of a single administrative structure will enable administrative improvements and efficiencies to be effectively realized while maintaining the high quality of service that Canadians expect from our national institutions.
I am very pleased to report that during the second reading debate, all parties indicated their support for Bill C-30. I would ask all hon. members of the House for their continued support.
The bill represents an unprecedented opportunity to put in place a model for court administration that will balance judicial independence and public accountability as well as create opportunities for realizing economies and efficiencies.
As hon. members are aware, the bill was introduced by the former minister of justice. I am very pleased to carry forward legislation that in my view creates an innovative structure.
I believe that with its appropriate balance between public accountability and the requisite institutional independence of the courts the service will become a model for other jurisdictions.
I thank the hon. members of the House for their attention today and ask for their support in the passage of Bill C-30.
Business of the House
Oral Question Period
February 21st, 2002 / 3 p.m.
Ralph Goodale Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, we will continue this afternoon with report stage debate of Bill C-5 respecting species at risk.
Tomorrow we will consider report stage and third reading of Bill C-30, the courts administration legislation, and return to third reading of Bill C-27 respecting nuclear safety. Bill C-48, the copyright bill, will be our backup work for tomorrow afternoon if we have time.
Next week, we will return to Bill C-5. We are now in the third day of the report stage of that bill and I should think that the House would want to complete consideration of this bill without much further delay. As early as we can, depending on when Bill C-49, the Budget Implementation Act, 2001, is reported from committee, we will want to try to deal with it at the report and third reading stages.
Thursday of next week, February 28, will be an allotted day.
Business of the House
Oral Question Period
January 31st, 2002 / 3:50 p.m.
Ralph Goodale Leader of the Government in the House of Commons
Mr. Speaker, this is my first reply to the customary Thursday question about House business. I want to thank all the House leaders and deputy House leaders of the other parties for the manner in which they have received this newcomer into their fraternity of House leaders. I look forward to a constructive relationship.
Tomorrow we will debate second reading of Bill C-48, the copyright legislation.
Monday we will continue with unfinished business and Tuesday will be an allotted day. Next Wednesday, we hope to be able to start the debate on second reading of the budget legislation.
Committees of the House
December 12th, 2001 / 3:10 p.m.
Andy Scott Fredericton, NB
Mr. Speaker, I have the honour to present, in both official languages, the tenth report of the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights.
Pursuant to the order of reference of Wednesday, October 3, the committee has considered Bill C-30, the courts administration act, and has agreed to report it with amendments.
Courts Administration Service Act
October 3rd, 2001 / 4:25 p.m.