Thank you very much.
And thank you to the committee members.
I'm here to answer questions regarding the supplementary estimates (B) in areas that fall under my jurisdiction as Attorney General of Canada.
Mr. Chairman, among my responsibilities is ensuring that our justice system operates in a transparent and efficient manner. As the committee is aware, the Department of Justice did not submit any items to be tabled under supplementary estimates (B).
Today I will speak to those items tabled in supplementary estimates (B) by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, or PPSC, and the Courts Administration Service, or CAS, in my role as Attorney General. And I'm pleased in that regard to have Mr. Brian Saunders, the director of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, with me on this occasion.
Before I get into those estimates, I'd like to just reference the other areas in my portfolio, which are organizations with distinct mandates and different relationships to the minister and linkages with the department.
The Human Rights Commission was established in 1978 to administer the Canadian Human Rights Act, which promotes equality of opportunity and protects individuals from discrimination based on race, national ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family status, disability, or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted.
The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal is a quasi-judicial body created by statute, and it has operated independently of the Canadian Human Rights Commission except for certain administrative functions. Legislative changes in 1998 further separated the tribunal from the commission to confirm its independence and impartiality. The tribunal ensures that Canadians' right to equality, equal opportunity, fair treatment, and an environment free of discrimination is not violated by federally regulated employers and suppliers of goods, services, facilities, and accommodation, including the government itself.
The Office of the Commissioner for Federal Judicial Affairs was established in 1978 under the Judges Act to safeguard the independence of the judiciary and to place federally appointed judges at arm's length in administrative terms from the Department of Justice. The office allocates statutory funding for federally appointed judges' salaries, allowances, annuities, and their surviving beneficiaries' benefits, voted appropriations to support the administrative activities of the Office of the Commissioner, and separately voted appropriations that fund the administration activities of the Canadian Judicial Council. My portfolio also includes the Office of the Information Commissioner and the Office of the Privacy Commissioner, of course, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.
As I indicated earlier, and as you're aware, I'm here to discuss those items tabled in supplementary estimates (B) by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada and the Courts Administration Service.
The Public Prosecution Service of Canada was created in 2006 to separate the federal prosecution function from the Department of Justice. It is headed by the director of public prosecutions, who reports directly to the Attorney General, and again, I'm pleased to have Brian Saunders here with me today. The PPSC supports the Attorney General by prosecuting all federal, non-criminal offences as well as certain criminal offences—organized crime, terrorism, fraud, and federal offences in the three territories. The PPSC plays a crucial role in the effective enforcement of federal legislation, including, of course, drug offences and in maintaining public confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system. It plays an important role in pre-charged support for complex crimes.
The supplementary estimates before you include a request for approximately $4.9 million for the PPSC. This funding will help in the fight against the laundering of proceeds of crime and the financing of terrorist activities. It will support the appointment of crown witness coordinators under the victims of crime initiative to provide court-based victim witness support in the territories, help with the eventual relocation of headquarters offices, and support a national website for combatting organized crime.
Mr. Chairman, my portfolio also includes the Courts Administration Service. The Courts Administration Service was established in 2003 by the Courts Administration Service Act to provide registry, judicial, and corporate services to four federal courts. They are the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Tax Court, and the Court Martial Appeal Court. The CAS enables the courts to function, to hear and resolve cases in a fair, expeditious, and efficient manner. It also provides a full range of services relating to court hearings, processes court documents, records hearings, maintains court records, and makes information available to the judiciary and all those others who need it, including the public.
The funding request for the CAS is approximately $2.5 million. This is intended to address issues of program integrity. More specifically, the funding will help CAS meet its ongoing obligations to support the positions of prothonotaries, or judicial officers, who assist in managing complex cases, thereby promoting efficient court operations and conserving scarce judicial resources.
Mr. Chairman, the CAS would also use this funding to enhance court security. The enhanced funding will, among other things, be used to support the development of a security framework, strengthen the security perimeter in courtrooms and offices, help introduce fully trained court security officers, and enhance central monitoring and response functions.
To conclude, I'd again like to express my appreciation and thanks to you, Mr. Chair, and to your committee members for the important work you do on behalf of this country. The funding that the justice portfolio has received has brought results for Canadians, and I will certainly do my utmost to see that the funding requests brought in today will be spent wisely.
Thank you very much. If you have any questions, I'd be pleased to answer.