The Canadian Judicial Council Reports on its Annual Spring Meeting
Members of the Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) are pleased to report on their Annual Spring Meeting. Canada’s Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices discussed a wide variety of topics, including pressures on democratic institutions, the high number of judicial vacancies across the country, and issues of health amongst judges.
In his opening remarks, Canada’s Chief Justice and Chairperson of the Canadian Judicial Council, the Right Honourable Richard Wagner, shared with members that “Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices have a vital role in preserving public confidence in the judiciary. We can take pride in our judicial system, and how it serves Canadians with fairness and impartiality”.
Council members discussed threats to democracy and the rule of law in many parts of the world, resulting from growing disinformation and authoritarianism. With presentations led by Canadian subject-matter experts, members discussed how these influences are affecting public trust in democratic institutions, and the role of the judiciary in countering disinformation.
Following the Council’s public statement last September, members reiterated their concerns about the need for more timely judicial appointments and the impact that vacancies have on court operations. They undertook a review of the current situation in their respective courts, which will assist in ongoing conversations with the government in this area.
Mindful that Bill C-9 on judicial conduct reform is working its way through Parliament, and hopeful that it will be adopted as soon as possible, members discussed eventual new procedures that will have to be put in place in this regard, as well as other operational details.
Council members took stock of several issues of mutual concern, including how judges are not immune to workplace illness and stress, and how Chief Justices can identify suitable solutions for both their colleagues and courts.
Chief Justices and Associate Chief Justices further discussed reports from a number of committees and working groups on trial and appeal courts, public information and technology.
Council members were pleased to have again the opportunity to engage in a constructive dialogue with the Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. They look forward to their next meeting in Saskatoon in September 2023.
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