Public Law Sector Evaluation

1. Introduction

The Public Law Sector (PLS) is a core resource within Justice Canada that offers specialized legal services and policy expertise on public law issues, as needed, to Justice counsel and other government departments and agencies. The Sector’s goals are to provide high-quality legal services, and to contribute to a consistent, whole-of-government approach to public law issues.

This document constitutes the final report for the evaluation of the PLS. This evaluation responds to the Treasury Board Secretariat’s 2009 Policy on Evaluation, which requires that all government programs be evaluated every five years. The evaluation, which represents the first for the PLS, was conducted between December 2011 and January 2013.

1.1. Purpose of the Evaluation

In accordance with the 2009 Policy on Evaluation, the primary purpose of this evaluation was to assess the relevance and performance of the PLS. In terms of relevance, the evaluation considered the continued need for the PLS and the alignment of PLS priorities and activities with government priorities, departmental strategic outcomes, and federal roles and responsibilities. With regard to performance, the evaluation considered both effectiveness (i.e., the extent to which the PLS has achieved its objectives) and efficiency and economy (i.e., the degree to which appropriate and efficient means are being employed to achieve the desired outcomes).

The evaluation covers the work of the PLS between fiscal years 2007–08 and 2011–12. The Department of Justice Evaluation Division directed the evaluation, and an evaluation working group (an advisory group with representatives from various PLS sections) provided ongoing input into the evaluation.

1.2. Structure of the Report

This report contains six sections, including the introduction. Section 2 provides the background on the PLS, describing its structure, resources, services, and the logic behind its activities; Section 3 describes the methodology used in the evaluation; Section 4 summarizes the key findings; Section 5 presents the conclusions of the report; and Section 6 contains the recommendations and management response.

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