News release

Amendments to Public Prosecutions Act

The appointment process for senior leadership positions at the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service (PPS) will be updated through amendments to the Public Prosecutions Act introduced today, April 11.

A key amendment sets a non-renewable seven-year term for the director of Public Prosecutions. The term for the deputy director will be five years, with opportunity for one renewal of up to five years.

“These changes strengthen the appointment process for senior leadership at the Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service,” said Brad Johns, Minister of Justice and Attorney General. “They will allow for ongoing renewal, new ideas and the opportunity for increased diversity at the most senior levels of our province’s justice system while respecting the prosecutorial independence of the Public Prosecution Service.”

Other changes to the act include:

  • clarifying that the Attorney General is responsible for recommending the proposed appointees for the director and deputy director to the governor in council
  • specifying that the appointee to the deputy director position must be from within the Nova Scotia public service and be a barrister of at least 10 years standing; these changes will take effect when the next deputy director is appointed.

Appointments will apply the Public Service Commission’s fair hiring policy, which requires adherence to important principles of equity, diversity and inclusion.

Quick Facts:

  • the PPS prosecutes charges under the Criminal Code and Nova Scotia statutes and handles 40,000 charges annually
  • established in 1990, it is the first statutorily based independent prosecution service in Canada
  • currently, there is no term limit for the director of the PPS; the change to a seven-year term appointment for is consistent with other jurisdictions with independent prosecution services
  • recruitment for a new director is underway
  • currently, there is no term limit for the deputy director and that position is appointed by the director

Additional Resources:

Bills tabled in the legislature this spring are available at: https://nslegislature.ca/legislative-business/bills-statutes/bills/assembly-64-session-1

Public Prosecutions Act: https://nslegislature.ca/sites/default/files/legc/statutes/pubprosc.htm

Nova Scotia Public Prosecution Service website: https://novascotia.ca/pps/

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