Widening the application of proposed legislation is in public interest, says Judicial Council
The Canadian Judicial Council (CJC) has called for a broader application of proposed legislation that would freeze pension entitlements for judges subject to a recommendation for removal by the CJC.
While the CJC said the proposed change was a “welcome and long overdue step in the right direction,” it also recommended the scope be extended to judges already subject to a removal recommendation, and not only those subject to removal recommendation after the legislation has been enacted.
The Minister of Justice had asked for an inquiry and report by the Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission on the proposed legislation. Though the commission found the proposed change reasonable, it said it was concerned about its effect on judges already subject to a removal recommendation. The justice minister thus amended the proposal so that it would only apply to judges who are subject to a removal recommendation on or after the time of the legislation’s enactment.
Stating that it saw no principled reason for this distinction, the CJC has disapproved of this amended proposal and has called for the justice minister to push through with the original proposal.
“The Council is concerned that the rules as now proposed fall short of the pressing objective of eliminating any incentive for a judge whose removal has been recommended, but who has not yet been removed, to draw the process out,” it said in a news release. “It is in the public interest that the risk of delay tactics at the expense of Canadians be fully eliminated.”
The proposed legislation, which is in response to the CJC’s call for judicial conduct reform, aims to safeguard confidence in the judiciary and to discourage the negative public perception that judges prolong the removal process for the sole purpose of receiving increased pension benefits.