Original language of petition: French
Bill C-9 proposes to reform the judicial conduct process, the process through which complaints against federally appointed judges are reviewed. Under C-9, the Canadian Judicial Council will be required to include a representative of the general public who has never been a lawyer or judge (known in this context as a “lay person”) on two key decision-making bodies charged with making findings of misconduct: review and full public hearing panels. Review panels will be primarily responsible for determining whether misconduct has occurred that is not serious enough to warrant removal and with imposing appropriate sanctions, while full hearing panels will be tasked with determining whether a judge should be removed from office and with making a recommendation on removal to the Minister of Justice.
Transparency will be safeguarded through the requirement to have the Council make public the selection criteria that it will use to name members of the general public to the roster. Bill C-9 will also require that the roster reflect the diversity of Canadians.
The Canadian Judicial Council’s practice of issuing an annual report will be codified in statute, along with what key information about the process each annual report will contain. Key aspects of process funding will also be reviewed every five years and be the subject of a public report issued after each review.
New measures proposed by Bill C-9 also include new appeal procedures for judicial conduct matters. Appeal panels will constitute the final stage of the Council’s process; their decisions will only be appealable to the Supreme Court of Canada with leave of the Court. This will make the Supreme Court itself directly responsible for providing court oversight of the process. In Canada, court oversight of all decision-making processes is a constitutional requirement.
As noted, Bill C-9 provides for comprehensive and effective mechanisms for fair and timely review of allegations of misconduct against federally appointed judges. As under the current process, anyone will be able to complain about the conduct of a federally appointed judge by writing to the Canadian Judicial Council. Routine review of a judge’s conduct in the absence of any allegations of misconduct would be not only unnecessary but inappropriate and a potential abuse of process.
The Government is committed to ensuring that Canadians have full confidence in their justice system, which necessarily entails not only respecting but furthering the constitutional principle of judicial independence. By enhancing fairness, accountability, efficiency and transparency of the judicial conduct process in a legislative framework that upholds and even furthers the process’ independence from the other branches of government, the reforms proposed by Bill C-9 are designed to do precisely that.
Only validated signatures are counted towards the total number of signatures.
|Province / Territory||Signatures|
|Newfoundland and Labrador||8|