Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould answering questions from the media after the introduction of the victim surcharge legislation, Bill C-28 on October 21, 2016. Photo credit: Department of Justice
Ensuring a fair, efficient, and accessible justice system that reflects Canadian values remains a top priority of our Government.
The year 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and the 35th anniversary of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This is the year for celebrating who we are and how far we have come as a country. It is also a year to envision what kind of country we want Canada to become, and how our justice system will reflect this vision.
That is why our Government is undertaking a broad examination of Canada’s criminal justice system and review of sentencing reforms over the past decade.
Many recent reforms have often focused on very particular issues and have been implemented through a piecemeal, rather than a comprehensive long-term strategic approach and have led to court challenges. Given that the last broad review of the criminal justice system occurred in the 1980s, an in-depth examination of how the system is currently working would assist in identifying gaps and pressure points to ensure a comprehensive and modern justice system that is more transparent, fair, effective, and accessible for all Canadians.
This comprehensive review will also help to ensure that future reforms are consistent with the objectives of the criminal justice system, our values and the Charter.
To fulfill this commitment, a program of consultation and engagement with stakeholders through a series of regional roundtables is already underway.
Our Government is seeking the views of all Canadians on how we can ensure that the criminal justice system reflects the evolving needs of our society. To participate, visit the Department of Justice’s online consultation portal at http://www.justice.gc.ca/eng/cj-jp/tcjs-tsjp/index.html.
Transforming Canada’s criminal justice system: a principle-based approach
Canada’s justice system is considered among the best in the world. Many other countries have emulated our Charter and Canadian judicial officials are often chosen to serve on international courts and tribunals.
Despite its strong foundation, Canada’s criminal justice system has much room for improvement. Various inefficiencies have let to court delays, shortcomings have resulted in disproportionate impacts to vulnerable populations, and more can be done to support victims and survivors to heal and move forward.
Transforming the criminal justice system involves thinking differently about how the criminal justice system works and how it relates to other social support systems in our society such as housing, health care, education, employment, training and child protection. As part of this process, our Government is identifying changes that can be made to respond to known problems. Over the longer term it will identify further reforms that can make the system more just, compassionate, and fair.
Transforming the criminal justice system is a principle-based approach that works for Canadians and will address a number of important issues, notably:
- ensuring consistency with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- reducing the over-representation of vulnerable populations
- assessing the impacts of criminal sentencing reforms made in recent years
- improving efficiency, effectiveness and timeliness
- increasing transparency, accountability and oversight within the federal correctional system
- increasing the use and acceptance of restorative justice processes
To learn more about transforming the criminal justice system, visit the Department of Justice website or follow updates online using #CdnJusReform.