CBA Alberta’s Agenda for Justice committee has completed its review and update of the Alberta Agenda for Justice, available here. In the last few months, CBA Alberta has been very active on a number of advocacy fronts, including the following:
Judicial Resources and Administration of Justice
CBA Alberta participated in stakeholder discussions on potential operational improvements to Alberta’s criminal justice system in light of R v Jordan. One of several solutions proposed was an increased judicial complement, for which CBA Alberta has advocated for some time. CBA Alberta continues to push for the timely appointment of the additional superior court appointments promised to Alberta by the federal budget. We have also made a similar request for additional judicial resources for Provincial Court. Adequate resources for all aspects of the justice system remains a CBA priority.
The Government of Alberta is negotiating a new governance agreement to structure the legal aid system in our province, and CBA Alberta has provided feedback to the process and provided support for the development of a sustainable funding model. In particular, members of our Family Law section have provided input to the Law Society of Alberta’s consultations, while our Access to Justice committee has a working group that is advocating for adoption of CBA’s legal aid benchmarks.
The national Immigration Section has also developed recommendations on the provision of refugee legal aid services and the local sections have been active in those efforts.
CBA Alberta provided the Premier and the Minister of Justice with a response to the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s special report to the legislature which recommends legislative changes to grant the Commissioner the power to require the production of records over which solicitor-client privilege have been claimed. The CBA’s response stressed the paramountcy of solicitor-client privilege as recognized by the Supreme Court of Canada, and recommended that any determination of matters related to legal privilege is appropriately reserved for the courts. A full copy of the response is available here.
Wills and Estates Section Advocacy
The Wills and Estates Sections have been active in working with the government and Court of Queen’s Bench to address concerns about delay issues affecting surrogate practice and in particular, the impact that this has had on access to justice for Albertans.
The Wills and Estates Section also wrote to the Minister to provide their support for the Alberta Law Reform Institute’s Final Report 109, A New Trustee Act for Alberta.
Input into Condo Regulations
The government has invited comment at a series of summer open houses on proposed regulations under the revised Condominium Property Amendment Act (CPAA). They will also be giving Albertans an opportunity to participate through an online survey in the coming weeks. If you would like more information on the process being followed by the government in amending condo rules or to be notified when the survey is open, please sign up through the Service Alberta website at www.servicealberta.ca/Consumer-condominiums.cfm.
Unified Family Court
The CBA Family Law Section, both nationally and within the Branch, have been actively supporting a process to create Unified Family Courts across the country. We have been advised by the Alberta Deputy Minister of Justice that they are working with the courts on a submission to the federal government for the establishment of a unified family court in Alberta, and if a positive response is received, they will be seeking further input from stakeholders, including CBA Alberta, to help develop a service delivery model.