Scotia Department of Justice:
The Department of Justice is responsible
for the administration of the courts; operation of correctional facilities
for adult and young offenders; provision of community correctional services
for adult and young offenders; legal advice and representation to all government
departments and agencies; civil proceedings by or against the Crown; programs
for victims of crime; administration of the maintenance enforcement program;
and the provision of audit and consultative services to law enforcement
The Department employs 1452 individuals in
150 offices and 11 correctional institutions throughout the Province.
Over the past few years, the Department
has been moving to consolidate court and public offices through the establishment
of 13 justice centres. In 1999-2000 establishment of the new
Family Division of the Supreme Court occurred, with implementation in the
Halifax and Cape Breton Regional Municipalities. A proposal is being developed
to seek federal government funding to extend the coverage of the new Court
to the entire Province. A number of initiatives have been undertaken
to divert cases from the costly formal justice system and to streamline
processes for matters before the justice system.
Through a Cooperative Business Solutions
process, a custody configuration plan was developed to replace or renovate
nine adult correctional institutions. Action is now being taken on
one component of the plan: the construction of a new central adult correctional
facility, co-located with a new forensic institution in the Halifax Metro
In the area of law enforcement, the provincial/municipal
service exchange has had a significant impact on the delivery of policing
services throughout the Province. The structure of policing services
is in flux, with many municipalities considering various models of service
delivery: for example, amalgation of municipal police forces; development
of regional police forces; and conversion from municpal police forces to
RCMP policing or vice versa.
Victims of crime in Nova Scotia, as elsewhere
in Canada, desire to play a greater role in the criminal justice process.
The Department has undertaken a number of initiatives to assist victims,
particularly children and those who are victims of family violence. Recent
amendments to the Criminal Code included provisions to significantly enhance
the recognition, participation and protection of victims of crime by the
criminal justice system. Through the restorative justice initiative, the
Department is providing a vehicle for victims to be heard and for greater
community involvement. Our objective is to ensure greater offender
accountability, thereby raising public confidence in the justice system.
allocation (per budget tabled in the legislature)
|Courts and Registries (Family and Provincial
Courts, Appeal and Supreme Courts, Maintenance Enforcement, Probate, Sheriffs)
|Correctional Services (Probation, Adult
and YO Institutions)
|Police and Public Safety Services (RCMP
contract, Native Policing, Internal Investigation Unit, Gun Control)
|Nova Scotia Legal Aid (Criminal and Civil)
|Fatality Inquiries Act (Chief Medical
Examiner, Pathologists, Body Removal Services)
|Administration (Legal Services, CSU's,
Public Trustee, Policy and Planning, Victims' Services)
facing the Department:
Federal cutbacks in federal-provincial
cost-shared agreements have had a negative impact on the Department.
In the young offender area, federal departure from a former 50:50 sharing
of costs has resulted in an annual loss to the Province of $1.5 million.
A similar reduction in federal payments for legal aid has resulted in annual
losses of over $1 million. Off-loading in the policing area has resulted
in significant increases in expenditures for RCMP policing, First Nations
policing and National Police Services (forensic laboratory and identification
services, communications, police training facilities).
The provincial/municipal service exchange
has shifted the responsibility for rural policing to the municipal units,
a number of which are experiencing severe fiscal pressure. Rural
municipalities are demanding increased accountability of the RCMP in an
effort to contain expenditures while maintaining an acceptable level of
of archaic court/correctional facilities:
Serious deficiencies in the physical plants
have been documented for many years. Although a new adult correctional
institution, co-located with a forensic facility, is currently being constructed
in the Halifax Regioanl Municipality, resources are insufficient to address
defencies in other correctional and court facilities.
There has been an
increase in the number of highly complex trials, resulting in significant
unforeseen costs to the Department. These high-profile cases
require additional security, and occasionaly, interpreters - all of which
place severe strains on the Departmental budget.
The escalation in
service demands, over which the Department has no control, poses serious
problems for cost containment. The continuing increase in the number
of court ordered assessments, demands byt he judiciary for enhanced security,
and the need to provide services to individuals with special needs are
significantly cost drivers. Costs of providing legal aid and court
services are frequently driven by actions taken by the Public Prosecution
Service and /or Supreme Court of Canada decisions over which the department
has no control.
Response to incidents of abuse perpetrated
on children residing in provincial institutions over a fifty year period
continues to figure prominently in the work of the Department. The independent
review of the previous government's response to the institutional abuse
is expected to be completed by March 31, 2001 at an estimated cost of approximately
It is anticipated that the new federal
legilsaion will dramatically change the approach to juvenile justice, with
resulting expenditures for new programs required fo the Province.
Although the federal government has committed to increasing cost-sharing,
the Province will have difficulty allocation resources to new programs.
The Department of Justice is committed
to the fair and effective administration of justice and to excellence in
service to the people of Nova Scotia.
1. Improve public safety and security
2. Provide effective dispute resolution
3. Offer a co-ordinated response to victims
4. Provide safe and secure custody, control
and effective supervision of offenders
5. Promote the lawful administration of
In making our homes and our streets safer,
using legilstive tools and community-based actions, we are preserving Nova
Scotia's qulaity of life allowing us to attract business and investment.
In lessening the financial burden for families
in crisis and in expanding the jurisdiction of the small claims court for
people in conflict, we are providing more accessible and more effective
dispute resolution mechanisms. (Accessibility)
In stepping up enforcement and fine collection,
and examining the possibility of a cost recovery program for the custody
of impaired drivers, we will ensure those who break the law will pay for
their actions. (Fairness)
In holding individuals accountable when
a crime is committed, and in holding parents responsible for the actions
of their children in conflict with the law, we are promoting safety and
security while improving accountability and community responsibility.
PRIORITIES FOR 2000/2001
Provides legal services to government
Provides custody/supervision of offenders
Provides infrastructure and support to courts
Enforces court orders
Establishes and monitors compliance with standards
for delivery of police services
Provides services to victims of crime
safety and security
dispute resolution mechanisms
Implement a comprehensive and effective crime
prevention strategy in cooperation with police, community organizations,
schools and the public and corporate sectors.
Deliver critical training to police officers
and establish a comprehensive audit policy to ensure compliance with provincial
policing standards so that we may enhance the safety and security of our
communities and the quality of police investigations.
Develop a comprehensive strategy for the delivery
of policing services that will respond to the changing needs of our communities.
Develop effective early intervention strategies
targeted to youth at risk in cooperation with departments of Health, Community
Services, Education, the Sport and Recreation Commission and the Youth
Implement a program to educate seniors on
how to effectively deal with situations where they consider their safety
Prepare legislation that provides for the
forfeiture of "johns" vehicles in prostitution related offences.
Offer a coordinated
response to victims of crime
Continue to put children first with the further
development and expansion of the Family Division of the Supreme Court
Continue to hold offenders accountable and
give victims a voice as we further develop and implement our restorative
Improve fine collection and enforcement of
Modernize and simplify procedures relating
to the Probate Act.
Focus on improved client service in the court
Prepare legislation that will require parents
to make restitution to victims where lack of proper parental supervision
has caused a young person to commit a crime.
Assist people in resolving conflict by extending
the jurisdiction of Small Claims Court and by incorporating mediation serives
into civil court process.
Provide safe and
secure custody, control and effective supervision of offenders
Implement and evaluate the federal legislation
affecting victims of crime and will develop a plan of action that will
place greater emphasis on the rights of victims of crime.
Ensure victims of home invasions are eligible
for funds under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Program to assist them
to deal with the trauma they have experienced.
Develop mechanisms to ensure victims’ rights
are addressed in disposition hearing for accused determined to be not criminally
responsible due to mental disorder.
Implement processes to enable victims of crime
to more readily attain restitution from offenders.
Conduct consultations with the Aboriginal
and African-Canadian communities to improve their accessibility to victims
Undertake a review of the research on the
effectiveness and viability of family violence treatment programs as an
adjunct to the formal justice system in responding to spousal/partner violence.
In partnership with MTT and the Transition
House Association of Nova Scotia expand the provision of the Victims 1st
Emergency Telephone Service province-wide.
Promote the lawful
administration of public affairs
Construct a new adult correctional facility
next to a new forensic hospital in the metro area.
Examine a cost recovery program for custody
of impaired drivers.
Reduce costs and increase fine payment revenues
with our Fine Option Program.
Work in partnership with the legal community,
service organizations and other government departments to respond effectively
to children under 12 who commit crimes.
Develop a plan for the implementation of the
proposed federal Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Implement the new Juries Act to provide for
greater representativeness and more efficient procedures for jury selection.
Issue a privacy discussion paper for government
and private sector-held personal information.
Complete consultations on the Fatality Inquiries
by Major Program Area:
The Court Services Division is responsible
for administration of the following courts: Nova Scotia Court of Appeal,
Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, Supreme Court (Family Division), Provincial
Court, Family Court, Small Claims Court, Summary Proceedings Court; the
management of court offices and registries (including probate and bankruptcy);
and transportation of prisoners to and
from court; coordination of the Justices of the Peace program; management
of the Maintenance Enforcement Program.
Requested 2000-01 budget estimate:
The Division has instituted a number of
programs and processes, aimed at reducing the cost of processing cases
within the formal justice system. The caseflow management project
was instituted to improve case processing by decreasing time delay in litigation.
A summary offence pilot project was instituted to divert minor offences
to a night court setting, presided over by an adjudicator. As a result
of the success of the pilot, this program will be expanded to Sydney. Alternative
measures programs for young offenders
and the adult diversion program divert
minor cases at the pre- and post-charge stages. Mediation sessions
result in agreements, which in many cases require the offender to provide
volunteer work in the community.
A new Family Division of the Supreme Court
was established in April 1999 to provide a coordinated response to the
resolution of family disputes. An array of new services are being
provided - including an extensive pre-court conciliation, a mandatory parent
education program, and mediation/alternate dispute resolution - all of
which are aimed at reducing the harmful effects on children and families
during and after family proceedings.
The Department has implemented a new restorative
justice initiative, the goal of which is to increase victim satisfaction,
community involvement and offender accountability, as well as reducing
the demand on the formal criminal justice system. Community agencies
are being contracted to facilitate mediation sessions or community justice
forums, involving the
offender, victim and members of the community.
The program is being 50% cost-shared by the federal government for two
years. Although it is unlikely that cost savings will be realized within
the formal justice system in the short term, this is one of the long term
goals of the initiative.
The Division is responsible for the administration
and operation of nine adult correctional institutions, three young offender
facilities, and sixteen community corrections offices, which provide supervision
of those serving sentences in the community.
Requested 2000-01 budget estimate:
Nova Scotia has traditionally had a favourable
ratio of community dispositions to the more costly incarceration dispositions
(51:26 per 10,000 adult population) and thus has a very low per capita
corrections cost compared to other jurisdictions (third lowest in Canada).
In recent years, there has been a reduction in the number of adult correctional
in this Province in an effort to close
costly and inefficient small institutions.
The Department has commenced construction
of a new central provincial adult correctional facility, co-located with
a new forensic facility in the Halifax metro area. In order to fund
the operating expenses of the new facility (due to open 2001), a plan for
rationalizing the configuration of existing smaller institutions is being
Programs and expenditures for young offenders
are heavily influenced by federal legislation. A new Youth Criminal
Justice Act is currently before Parliament. Federal contributions
toward young offender facilities and programs have declined from a 50%
share in 1985 to 39% in 1998. The ability to contain provincial expenditures
is dependent upon the success of provincial efforts to maximize federal
contributions and the flexibility
of the Province to allocate contributions
to offset operating costs of young offender facilities. Nova Scotia
has the third lowest rate of admissions to youth custody in Canada.
The Department is developing a plan to meet the requirements of the new
Youth Criminal Justice Act and reduce expenditures.
The Department has initiated a number of
programs to divert offenders from custody (fine option program).
A recent Criminal Code amendment created a conditional sentence disposition
which permits offenders to serve their sentence in the community.
These programs place significant pressures on community corrections staff.
In an effort to contain these costs, the Department has made increasing
use of volunteers and
paraprofessionals (assistant probation
officers). Moreover, the Department contracts with community agencies
to supervise community service order placements and with alternative measures
societies to provide programs for young offenders diverted from the formal
Police and Public Safety Services:
The Division is responsible for ensuring
that policing services are delivered efficiently and effectively by managing
contracts with the RCMP and First Nations Policing; providing regular audits/inspections
of municipal police agencies; delivering the federal firearms program;
licensing companies and individuals engaged in the private security industry;
and working with communities to develop and implement crime prevention
Requested 2000-01 budget estimate:
Nova Scotia Legal Aid:
The Nova Scotia Legal Aid Commission delivers
legal representation to qualified applicants with priority for matters
involving the liberty and civil rights of individual clients and for matters
involving the integrity and protections of an individual’s family.
Requested 2000-01 budget estimate:
Federal contributions for legal aid have
been steadily decreasing over the past few years. Although the Legal
Aid Commission can exert some control over expenditures by adjusting eligibility
criteria, federal legislation (such as the Young Offenders Act) places
increased emphasis on legal representation as do court orders for legal
representation of accused.
Office of the Medical Examiner:
Office conducts investigations into all
deaths due to violence, undue means, culpable negligence and sudden unexplained
deaths; provides written documentation including cause and manner of death.
Requested 2000-01 budget estimate:
Administration (Legal Services, CSU’s,
Public Trustee, Policy and Planning, Victims’ Services): Overall administration
of the Department; legal advice and representation to all government departments
and agencies; provision of trustee services for incompetent adults/infants
and missing persons; provision of services to victims of crime and
administration of the criminal injuries
Requested 2000-01 budget estimate:
Key pressures facing the Division are increasing
client department demands for legal services and high staff turnover due
to lower salaries in relation to the private sector. Unmet demand
results in purchase of legal services from private sector firms, which
is not cost-effective.
Provision of a coordinated response to
victims of crime is a strategic goal of the Department. Although
the institution of such programs on a province-wide basis is a relatively
new component of the justice system, it is a service which generates high
client satisfaction and results in greater public confidence in the justice
system. There is an ever-increasing demand for victims’ services.
The majority of the funding for the Regional
Victims’ Services program comes from the
Victim Fine Surcharge Fund, which has been steadily decreasing. In
order to address this situation, the Province lobbied the federal government
to amend the Criminal Code to increase the victim fine surcharge. The recently
proclaimed amendments are expected to generate new revenue in 2000/01.
In addition, the Department has initiated a project to maximize fine collection,
which will also have a positive impact on the collection of victim fine
The Department recognizes the importance
of working with all justice partners, community organizations and the corporate
sector in the development of a comprehensive crime prevention strategy
and in the initiation of restorative justice programs. Acknowledging
the need for early intervention in addressing the needs of families and
youth at risk, the Department is working in partnership with school boards
and the Department of Community Services.
The Department is involved in a broad consultation
process as it seeks to define a strategic direction for policing and the
provision of services to victims. Implementation of action plans
will require strong collaboration with all components of the justice system,
municipal units and community organizations.
The Department will continue to engage
in useful partnerships with the private sector to address priorities.
Such partnerships have been effective in developing plans for courthouse
and correctional institution improvements and in assisting the Department
to find innovative technological solutions to business problems.
AND OUTCOME MEASURES
We are committed
to the personal safety of Nova Scotians.
With the development
of a strategic policing plan, a comprehensive crime prevention program
and tougher measures to keep drunk drivers off the road, we will improve
public safety and security.
Nova Scotians deserve
a justice system that is equitable, fair and accessible.
Through the increased
use of mediation services, improved caseflow management and enhanced technology
we will improve the efficiency of our court system.
We believe in giving
victims a voice in Nova Scotia.
With the implementation
of a restorative justice program, we will provide a voice for victims,
encourage community involvement, and take positive steps to deal more effectively
with crime in our communities.
Our system of justice must be built on
We will work to improve programs for offenders,
construct a new correctional facility in Halifax Metro area and build on
our success with community corrections to help offenders become contributing
members of society once again.
The business of government must be conducted
openly, honestly and with integrity.
By improving the delivery of legal services
to client departments, and expanding the Freedom of Information and
Protection of Privacy Act, we will promote accessible, open and accountable
FROM HUMAN RESOURCES
This Correctional Services project is ongoing,
and we will continue to provide support/expertise in organizational analysis/design;
labor relations; EDIP/layoffs; staffing; classification of positions; and
training and development needs.
Custody Configuration Process/CBS Project
All committees are established and operational
province-wide. As new sections of the Act are implemented, we continue
to provide support in
Occupational Health and
understanding/complying with the Act,
setting goals/plans/budgets, and ongoing training/development through interdepartmental
partnerships. We are tracking the employees’ training, and working
on an internal Occupational Health and Safety audit system which can also
be used for departmental reporting.
We continue to provide sound contract interpretation,
advice and assistance to line management. The Civil Service Master Collective
Agreement expires March 31, 2000, and the Collective Agreement with the
Correctional Officers Union of Nova Scotia - Local 480, expires on October
31, 2000. We have begun preparatory work by way of issues gathering
(e.g. right to strike, essential services, staffing process, etc.) and
research which will support this massive negotiation process.
The government has targeted April 1, 2000,
for the implementation of this piece of their Integrated Management Development
(IMD) program for all MCP employees. We have the largest number of
MCP employees in government, and on November 16th, 1999, have completed
their mandatory training in the three phases of performance management:
Planning For Performance, Coaching For Performance, and Managing Deficient
Employee Performance. We will be delivering refresher training and
providing ongoing consultative support to managers in this area, and
will be coordinating the annual performance
management process in April 2000.
This is another element of the government’s
IMD program for MCP employees. In concert with the Department of
Human Resources (DHR), we will be providing the leadership, training, coordination
and implementation of the process.
Under Article 40.05 of the Civil Service Master
Collective Agreement, Management and the Union have agreed to review all
bargaining unit classifications in the Civil Service. Under DHR’s
direction, this process has begun with the selection of a new classification
system (Akin Plan) to be used. This means that every union position description
in our department(s) must be rewritten and evaluated. Our Human Resources
Division must coordinate and provide assistance to all employees with this
The third element of the government’s IMD
program is to update our current HAY classification system by re-evaluating
all MCP positions. This will also require Human Resources division
to coordinate the rewriting of all MCP positions within the department(s)
for submission to DHR for classification.
Departmental needs have been escalating in
all areas of Training and Development from corporate (IMD program), specialized
(correctional officers), to general (orientation), and we have just changed
our service delivery model to move towardsa pro-active approach to addressing
We continue to strive to have our employees
reflect the visible minorities and persons with disabilities population
within the province. DHR, in partnership with line departments, is working
on an implementation plan for the Affirmative Action Policy.
Training and Development:
We are convinced that our division could provide
faster and more efficient/effective service to the department(s) if complete
authority/responsibility for this human resource function were decentralized
to the departmental human resources group.
We continue to provide training and support
to line managers with this relatively new policy. DHR is coordinating
an evaluation process of the policy. Results of the evaluation are
awaited, as it may assist the department with improvements in this area
and support to address pending grievances.
Decentralize Staffing Process:
This is a very time consuming area for our
Consultants as they must liaise with the employee, the manager, the health
service providers and DHR to establish rehabilitation goals/plans for the
management of short term illness (STI) and long term illness (LTD). We
are looking at ways to improve this process as we lack sufficient resources;
we do not have the medical expertise on staff to assess many of the issues
which is critical to a successful solution.
DHR is currently overseeing a pilot project
in this area, and we anticipate that it may be a value added approach in
some work areas of our department(s). If a policy is accepted, we would
assist with the training of managers and employees, and coordinate implementation.
Disability Management and Workplace Rehabilitation:
FROM INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY
During the next fiscal year, the Regional
Desktop Support Project will continue to expand. The three participating
CSU’s (Justice, BCS, NDR) will invite other CSU’s to join this project
expanding the area of coverage to include most regions of the province.
The Technology Division will continue to assist
clients to identify, justify, and implement technology solutions to enhance
business operations. Partnerships with client representatives will be strengthened
with joint participation throughout new initiatives.
Regional Technology Support
Staff of the Division will further
develop their capacity to lead or assist with major initiatives through
further development of project management skills. Client staff participating
on project work will be invited to participate in project management development
Communication and information exchange with
clients will be improved at all levels. Regular updates on initiatives
will be presented to senior managers to increase awareness and to enhance
decision making. IT will work together with user groups of major
applications to improve information sharing and advance ownership of such
Research on effective technology tools and
solutions will continue. The Division will recommend a development tool
platform. This recommendation will improve the Division’s ability to support
and/or develop customized applications. Benefits of development will be
leveraged through sharing common solutions where feasible and practical.
Improved Communication with Clients
FROM FINANCIAL SERVICES
The Division has recently undergone a minor
restructuring which is designed to provide a broader base of support services
to the department.
Continue to train staff in client divisions
regarding use of corporate financial management system (CFMS/SAP).
Provide financial analysis to client divisions.