Thank you, and good evening.
Ms. Dekker and I will be speaking to division 15, which contains amendments to the Judges Act and the Federal Courts Act to create new judicial positions for the provincial superior courts and the Federal Court. I will be speaking briefly about the changes that impact the provincial superior courts, and Ms. Dekker will speak to the changes to the Federal Court complement.
In terms of the provincial superior courts, you will see that the amendments propose an increase to the complement of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice by six judges, and an increase to the complement of the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal by one judge. These new judicial positions are in response to demonstrated existing and projected workload pressures in these courts, and will assist them in dealing with their caseloads in a timely manner.
The funding for these new judges is effective immediately, and new appointments can be made to these positions once the necessary legislative amendments are in place authorizing the salaries.
In addition, the proposed amendments will create a pool of 39 new judicial positions for unified family courts, or UFCs, in Canada. Just to briefly explain the UFC model, it is designed to enhance access to the family justice system by consolidating all jurisdiction over family law matters in a single level of court, the superior court. The UFC provides a corps of judges who are specialized in family law, and promotes simplified procedures and the use of a full range of community and support services.
The UFC model is found presently in some Canadian jurisdictions, but not all of them. It is up to each province and territory to determine the court structure that best meets their needs. Provinces and territories pay the administrative costs associated with the UFC, while the federal government appoints and pays the UFC judges.
These 39 new UFC positions are intended to support the introduction of the UFC model in key sites in Alberta; the next significant phase of UFC expansion in Ontario; and the completion of the model province-wide in Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador.
The funding for the UFC positions is effective as of April 1, 2019, and the bill includes a coming-into-force provision to this effect, so that judicial appointments to the new UFC positions can be made after this date. The intervening period will allow time for the necessary steps to be taken to implement the UFC in the new sites.
I'll now turn to Ms. Dekker for the Federal Court changes.