Criminal Section Minutes 2007

Other Initiatives

Delegates may also be interested in the on going work of the Department of Justice relating to criminal law reform as some of these issues have been the subject of discussion at ULCC.

Hybridization

In the summer and fall of 2006, the Department of Justice conducted, on behalf of the FPT Working Group on Criminal Procedure, a written consultation on a series of proposals for the hybridization of offences. The Consultation document on hybridization was presented at the 2006 Conference. The Working Group is currently finalizing recommendations for FPT Ministers Responsible for Justice in relation to this initiative. ULCC resolutions pertaining to the reclassification of various Criminal Code offences and outcome of discussions of the 2006 presentation have been considered in the context of this initiative.

Bail

A number of resolutions pertaining to bail and dating back to 1985 have been examined by an ad hoc Sub-Committee of the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Working Group on Criminal Procedure (as referred to in the 2005 and 2006 Senior Federal Delegate’s Reports). This sub-committee undertook to review the entire judicial interim release scheme, including the provisions relating to release by police officers.

The Recommendations on bail reform of the F/P/T Working Group on Criminal Procedure, which address a variety of important issues raised by F/P/T forums in recent years, including the ULCC, were approved by F/P/T Ministers Responsible for Justice at their October 2006 meeting, for implementation where appropriate, or referred to the Department and the F/P/T Working Group for further work on policy development and consultation.

Preliminary Inquiry

The Department is currently assessing the role and ongoing usefulness of the preliminary inquiry as well as the impact of amendments brought to the preliminary inquiry provisions by Bill C-15A, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to amend other Acts (S.C. 2002, c. 13). This research involves gathering information from a broad spectrum of participants in the criminal justice system to determine whether the preliminary inquiry currently serves a purpose, what the purpose is and how to make improvements to the procedure if required. When data from the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics becomes available, the research will also determine statistically the frequency of use of the preliminary inquiry, the circumstances in which these occur and whether the C-15A amendments have had an impact. This research will inform the development of proposals for reform.

Youth Justice

The Department of Justice is undertaking a comprehensive review of the pre-trial detention regime under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. A consultation paper dated June 1, 2007, seeking the views of experts and stakeholders in the youth justice system can be found on the Justice Canada website. The paper sets out information on experience with the pre-trial detention regime for youth; identifies a number of issues; and raises questions about how the pre-trial detention system for youth should be structured.

Organized Crime

In the Spring of 2007, federal, provincial and territorial Ministers responsible for Justice and Public Safety agreed to a renewed commitment to a national agenda on organized crime during their Ministerial Forum on Organized Crime. The main purpose of this meeting was to discuss how to increase coordination and cooperation across the country in the fight against organized crime. Components of that strategy could include:

  • strengthening mechanisms to facilitate effective national cooperation and collaboration on organized crime (i.e. governance);
  • strengthening criminal and civil legislative approaches to combating organized crime, including targeting proceeds of crime;
  • improving information sharing and collaboration amongst prosecutors, police and intelligence personnel;
  • enhancing strategies for integrated responses to organized crime, (e.g. joint law enforcement strategies; developing a national witness protection program and developing a legal and policy framework for cross border policing);
  • enhancing research to improve understanding of the evolving nature of organized crime, including its structures, activities and impact on communities; and
  • enhancing training for police, prosecutors, and enforcement and corrections personnel.

Ministers agreed to target organized crime and collectively acknowledged it as a local, regional, provincial-territorial, national and global issue. Its effects are felt directly in communities across Canada, through criminal activities such as drug-related crimes including marijuana grow-ops, gang violence, identity theft, the sale of counterfeit goods and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation, especially women and children. Ministers agreed that while many successful actions to combat organized crime have been taken by the federal, provincial and territorial governments, sustained, enhanced and integrated efforts are needed to address the serious risk organized crime presents to the safety of communities.

Ministers will review progress at upcoming federal-provincial-territorial meetings.

Victims of Crime

In March, 2007 the Federal Ministers of Justice and Public Safety announced the establishment of the Office of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. The first Ombudsman was appointed in April, 2007.

The Ombudsman operates at arm's length from the federal departments responsible for victim issues, namely the Department of Justice and the Department of Public Safety. The provinces and territories will continue to be the primary providers of victim services.

The mandate of the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime relates exclusively to matters of federal responsibility and includes:

  • facilitating access by victims to existing federal programs and services by providing them with information and referrals;
  • addressing complaints of victims about compliance with the provisions of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act that apply to victims of offenders under federal supervision and providing an independent resource for those victims;
  • enhancing awareness among criminal justice personnel and policy makers of the needs and concerns of victims and the applicable laws that benefit victims of crime, including to promote the principles set out in the Canadian Statement of Basic Principles of Justice for Victims of Crime; and
  • identifying emerging issues and exploring systemic issues that impact negatively on victims of crime.

Conclusion

The work of the ULCC greatly assists the Department of Justice Canada in identifying key areas of criminal law that are in need of reform. Justice Canada will continue the process of examining resolutions proposing amendments to the Criminal Code and other related criminal law statutes for consideration in future legislative initiatives.

September 2007

Next Annual Meeting

2018 Conference (Centennial)

Delta Hotel

Québec City, QC

August 12 - 16, 2018