Criminal Law Policy Function Evaluation

2. Profile of the Criminal Law Policy Section

Not unlike other policy functions, CLPS operates in a dynamic, complex, fast-paced policy environment that is significantly influenced by events, shifting priorities and changing landscapes. The Section consults and interacts with a wide range of policy stakeholders, each with their own unique needs and interests. There is significant variation in the nature of these relationships, their depth, duration and the type of engagement (e.g. partnerships, consultations, networking/information sharing). Part of CLPS’ role is to help build consensus among stakeholders and achieve a balanced policy approach that takes these different perspectives into consideration. The policy work of CLPS benefits from the contributions and the support of a wide variety of actors and functions within the Department including, but not limited to, the Research and Statistics Division, Communications Branch, Public Law Sector (e.g. Human Rights Law Section which advises CLPS on the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”) risks associated with policy proposals), Cabinet and Legislative Affairs and Legislative Services Branch (which provides drafting services).

Other federal departments and agencies, provinces and territories and non-government organizations also provide input into policy development through the consultation process. Figure 1 below depicts the variety of products and services that the Section delivers to its diverse client and stakeholder base. Lines with two arrowheads denote a reciprocal (partner) relationship between CLPS and the other party. The figure also summarizes the varied nature of the work undertaken by CLPS on behalf of its clients and stakeholders.

Figure 1: Criminal Law Policy Products and Services for Clients and End Users

Figure 1: Criminal Law Policy Products and Services for Clients and End Users

Figure 1 - Text Description

CLPS’ products and services for Parliament include: bills for consideration, appearance at Committees, and clause-by-clause binders.

CLPS’ products and services for the Prime Minister and Cabinet include: Memoranda to Cabinet and Cabinet decks.

CLPS’ products and services for the Minister of Justice include: information and advice (briefing notes, speeches, decks, in-person briefings) on priority topics and emerging issues.

CLPS’ products and services for the Deputy Minister of Justice include: legal and legal policy advice on legislative and non-legislative initiatives, policy reports and papers, and position papers.

CLPS’ products and services for other areas of Justice include: legal and legal policy advice on legislative and non-legislative initiatives and consultations.

CLPS’ products and services for other federal ministers and departments include: legal and legal policy advice on legislative and non-legislative initiatives, consultations and strategy sessions with litigators.

CLPS’ products and services for other government and governance bodies (international) include: negotiations; international treaties and conventions; bilateral and international meetings, liaison and policy related initiatives; cooperation on international issues and strategic responses; technical legal advice; peer reviews; education/information sharing materials; reports on Canada’s implementation of international instruments.

CLPS’ products and services for other government and governance bodies (domestic) include: F/P/T meetings and consultations.

CLPS’ products and services for the criminal justice community and non-government organizations include: training sessions and materials; PLEI materials; and consultations.

2.1 Structure

The Criminal Law Policy Section is part of the Policy Sector, which manages the Department of Justice’s overall policy agenda. The Section consists of nine teams Footnote 1 which deal with different criminal law subject area specialties. While the team structure described below accounts for much of the Section’s policy work, it should be noted that some is carried out independent of this structure. Additionally, the Section works on cross-cutting issues that involve multiple teams. For example, CLPS provides extensive legal and policy advice on international cooperation and cross border law enforcement initiatives, including extradition, mutual legal assistance, law enforcement information sharing, integrated cross border policing and cooperative policing and plays a lead role in the development of international instruments and protocols to govern cross border policing initiatives.

Sentencing Reform

CLPS monitors the policy environment with respect to sentencing, including sentencing patterns and case law on sentencing. The Section provides legislative and policy options to the Minister of Justice. In addition, other federal departments solicit its advice on the penalty provisions in proposed federal legislation. Issues covered under this theme include penalties (maximum and minimum), conditional sentences, alternative measures, restorative justice, and the dangerous offender regime in the Criminal Code.

Cabinet and Legislative Agenda

The Cabinet and Legislative Agenda group oversees CLPS’ support to the Minister of Justice throughout the Cabinet and Parliamentary processes (e.g. in the preparation of Cabinet submissions, briefing material, speeches) and monitors the progress of legislation.

Criminal Procedure

Criminal procedure concerns the rules that govern criminal proceedings from the time of arrest through to sentencing and appeals. CLPS policy work in this area includes ensuring that procedures address emerging issues such as new technologies (e.g. electronic disclosure, telewarrants), social and procedural changes that affect the criminal justice process (e.g. the growth of mega-trials, the increase of self-represented accused) and case law developments (e.g. court decisions affecting legislative provisions). This policy work also ensures that the criminal justice system functions effectively, efficiently and fairly.

Social and Moral Issues

This subject area focuses on the provision of legal policy advice on social and moral issues in the criminal law context, such as federal legislative or policy responses to sexual morality issues (e.g. prostitution, pornography, obscenity), medical legal issues (e.g. abortion, assisted suicide, euthanasia), protection of vulnerable groups (e.g. violence against women and children including sexual violence, human trafficking), and other legal issues with social and moral implications (e.g. gambling, hate crime, mental disorder, impaired driving).

External Relations

Recognizing that increasingly criminal activity crosses national boundaries, CLPS focuses its response on transnational and international crime by participating in international fora, such as the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the G8 Roma/Lyon Group on transnational organized crime and terrorism, and the Canada-U.S. Cross Border Crime Forum. It brings Canadian experience, approaches and interests to the development of international instruments. In addition, protecting Canadian economic and national security interests can involve stabilizing countries that are experiencing serious domestic crime problems. Consequently, CLPS provides technical support and policy-related advice to assist these countries. The Section also provides advice and technical support to countries with effective justice systems that are interested in learning from the Canadian experience.

High-Tech and Investigative Powers

As part of its work in the area of high-tech crime, CLPS considers whether the statutory framework for law enforcement investigatory powers is sufficient to support the type of techniques required to keep pace with modern technology and its use in criminal activity.

Organized Crime

Several Criminal Code provisions address organized crime and police investigative powers that federal or provincial law enforcement agencies use to enforce federal statutes. CLPS monitors the Canadian legal framework and provides advice concerning these statutory provisions and their operation. It participates in international fora that address organized crime and assists in the development and implementation of related international instruments.

Security, Terrorism and Governance

CLPS provides legal and policy advice on domestic legislation and policy related to security, terrorism and governance (anti-corruption). In particular, CLPS serves as the policy lead within the Department on related legislation, such as the Anti-terrorism Act, Security of Information Act, Crimes against Humanity and War Crimes Act, Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act, and relevant provisions of the Criminal Code and the Canada Evidence Act. The Section participates in the negotiation of international instruments, implements international conventions into Canadian law, participates in international peer-review bodies and provides technical assistance to other countries undertaking domestic implementation. The Section also has the lead role in supporting the Minister of Justice with regard to the Cross-Cultural Roundtable on Security.

Figure 2 (below), shows the organizational structure of the Section, which is headed by a Director General/Senior General Counsel (DG/SGC). The DG/SGC Office provides executive support to the Director General, while Operations is responsible for corporate planning and reporting, budgeting, staffing, and contracting processes. The Director General is supported by several General Counsel and Team Leaders, each of whom leads one of the nine teams who deliver criminal law policy services. The Sentencing, Cabinet and Legislative Agenda, External Relations and Security, Terrorism and Governance teams are each managed by a General Counsel (LC-02). The Criminal Procedure, Social and Moral Issues, Policy Centre for Victim Issues, High-Tech and Investigative Powers and Organized Crime teams are each led by a Senior Counsel (LP-03) Footnote 2 who reports to one of the four General Counsel.

Figure 2: Criminal Law Policy Section Organizational Chart

Figure 2: Criminal Law Policy Section Organizational Chart

Figure 2 - Text Description

The Director General (DG)/Senior General Counsel (SGC) is responsible for the Section.

The following six areas of CLPS report directly to the DG/SG: Operations; the DG/SGC Office; Cabinet and Legislative Agenda; Sentencing; External Relations; and Security, Terrorism and Governance.

Criminal Procedure, Social and Moral Issues and the Policy Centre for Victim Issues fall under the Cabinet and Legislative Agenda team. High Tech and Investigative Powers and Organized Crime fall under the External Relations team.

2.2 Resources

Table 1 shows the Section’s actual expenditures between 2008–09 and 2012–13. All of CLPS’ services are funded through Department of Justice allocations as the Section does not cost recover for its services. After a rise in 2009-10, the Section’s expenditures have been decreasing due to a reduction in both salary and Operating and Maintenance (O&M) expenditures. From 2009-10 to 2012–13, the Section’s expenditures decreased by 21% from $8.1 million to $6.4 million. The most significant drop has been in O&M expenditures over the five years, which has dropped every year over the evaluation period.

Table 1: CLPS Actual Expenditures by Year Footnote 3
  2008-09 ($) 2009-10 ($) 2010-11 ($) 2011-12 ($) 2012-13 ($)
Salary 5,391,156 7,103,515 Footnote 4 6,449,968 5,980,007 5,921,055
Operating and Maintenance (O&M) 1,211,836 1,036,656 875,620 814,852 524,136
Total annual expenditures 6,602,992 8,140,171 7,325,588 6,794,859 6,445,191

Source: Information provided by CLPS Operations Team

Table 2 shows the Section’s actual human resources between 2008-09 and 2013-14. The Section employs 55 staff, a large majority of whom (67%) are counsel. Administrative staff represents 30% of employees, while other professional staff accounts for the remaining 3%. After a rise in 2009-10, total human resources have decreased annually between 2010–11 and 2013-14, which is mostly attributable to a decrease in counsel, particularly at the more senior levels (LP-03 and LC-02).

Table 2: CLPS Human Resources by Year
FTEs 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11 2011-12 2012-13 2013-14
Administrative staff (AS) 16 18 20 17.5 17 16
Other professionals (EC) 3 2.4 1.3 2 2 2
Counsel (LC, LP) 40 47 44.9 43.6 40 37
Total 59 67.4 66.2 63.1 59 55

Source: Information provided by CLPS Operations Team

2.3 Criminal Law Policy Section Program Logic

A logic model is a systematic and visual way to illustrate the relationship between the planned activities of a program, in this case criminal law policy services and their expected results. In other words, a logic model is a depiction of how a program or service is intended to work and what it is trying to achieve. A basic logic model has the following key elements:

The processes, tools, events and actions that are part of the implementation of the services. The activities should lead to the intended results.
The direct product of the identified activities.
The impacts of the services. These are results/changes/benefits/consequences. They are usually presented in stages, as change is incremental over time: immediate outcomes should support and lead to the intermediate outcomes, and intermediate outcomes to long-term ones.

This section provides a logic model for CLPS, including a visual diagram (Figure 4) and text descriptions of the key elements. The descriptions in this section represent the theory behind the Section. As such, they provide an account of expected results of the Section’s activities. The evaluation findings in Section 4 explore whether CLPS activities are being implemented as planned and whether expected outcomes are, in fact, being achieved.

2.3.1 Activities

The Section’s numerous activities that can be grouped into three main categories:

  • Legal policy development and analysis;
  • Legal advice and assistance; and
  • Engagement and collaboration with provinces and territories, criminal justice stakeholders and international partners.

Each of these areas of activity is described below, including the expected results. Legal Policy Development and Analysis

Part of the Section’s core mandate involves supporting the Minister of Justice in the development of criminal law and criminal justice policy. This includes providing criminal law and policy advice to the Minister and to other government departments as well as to advance Canadian priorities and interests internationally. The outputs of this policy work vary widely and include legal opinions, reports, legislation and international agreements and conventions. A lot of CLPS’ work during the evaluation period led to the development and enactment of new criminal laws. The sub-sections that follow describe CLPS’ involvement at each stage of the policy development process. Figure 3 depicts the federal policy development process and identifies the stages where CLPS is involved.

Step 1: Planning the Legislative Program

Twice each year, the Department of Justice is asked to submit a list of the legislation that the Minister plans to propose to Cabinet for introduction. CLPS provides input into this process by submitting proposals for the government’s legislative program in the area of criminal law and procedure. As part of this function, CLPS responds to policy direction from the government and monitors the legal policy environment in the areas of criminal law and procedure to determine emerging issues, such as gaps in the criminal law framework and issues with implementing recent law reforms. Research, case law and consultations with stakeholders (e.g. Canadian Bar Association) help inform emerging issues. As emerging issues and government priorities are identified, CLPS develops policy options for addressing them. The Minister’s chosen policy option forms the basis of the legislative proposal Footnote 5.

Step 2: Policy Development

Generally speaking, after a proposed bill is included in the government’s legislative program, CLPS counsel draft a Memorandum to Cabinet (MC) along with accompanying briefing material seeking policy approval and authority to draft the bill. The Memorandum to Cabinet includes an annex of drafting instructions which provides the framework for drafting the bill. As part of the development of the MC, the Section consults with affected departments and with legal advisers within specialized areas of the Department of Justice (e.g. Human Rights Law Section (HRLS) and the Constitutional, Administrative and International Law Section (CAILS)) who advise on the Charter and other constitutional implications of the policy proposal. Once it is approved by the Minister, CLPS follows the progress of the MC through approval by the appropriate Cabinet policy committee to ratification by the full Cabinet. It is usually at this stage that drafting can begin. Pre-drafting may start earlier, as long as Cabinet approval is given.

Step 3: Bill Drafting

CLPS operationalizes the drafting instructions in the MC approved by Cabinet by working with the drafters (from the Legislative Services Branch) to develop the bill. The details of the drafting instructions are often fleshed out by CLPS counsel orally at meetings with a team of two drafters, one of whom is responsible for the English version while the other is responsible for the French. This co-drafting process ensures two original and authentic versions of the bill that reflect both the civil and common law systems, as well as both official languages. CLPS also drafts briefing and speaking notes, and attends the Government House Leader Review to respond to questions.

Step 4: Parliamentary Process

As the bill is being drafted, CLPS prepares the necessary briefing materials that will be required for the Parliamentary process. These materials include: briefing books for use by the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary; clause-by-clause binders for use by all Members of the Parliamentary committees studying the bill; draft statements for the Minister, Parliamentary Secretary and government Members during debate at the various stages of the parliamentary process; and a succinct background paper that describes the bill. CLPS also works closely with the Department’s Communications Branch to prepare public communications materials such as: highlight sheets, backgrounders, Minister’s Press Conference remarks, material for Parliamentarians and media briefings, press releases, and any other communication materials deemed necessary for a particular bill.

CLPS supports the progress and passage of criminal law reform bills throughout the Parliamentary Process. Bills proceed through three readings in each of the House of Commons and Senate and are studied by committees in each House. CLPS counsel can be asked to support the Minister in the government lobby during each of the readings and at the Report Stage (when the bill, as passed by the committee, is considered by the House). CLPS counsel also appear as witnesses on technical matters at committee or accompany the Minister during Bill Committee Study. Part of CLPS’ role in supporting the Minister throughout the Parliamentary process also includes providing technical briefings to Opposition Critics upon request by the Minister’s Office.

Step 5: Post Enactment

The final Parliamentary stage in the enactment of a bill by Parliament is Royal Assent. If the bill comes into force upon proclamation on a date or dates after the bill receives Royal Assent, CLPS prepares the supporting documentation to obtain the Order in Council fixing the date(s) for coming into force. Depending on the nature of the bill, CLPS may provide post-enactment support, for example, by engaging in outreach, training and educational activities that support the bill’s implementation. The Section also monitors criminal law reforms by obtaining feedback on implementation issues from provinces and territories and criminal justice stakeholders including other departments and agencies, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, and non-governmental organizations such as the Canadian Bar Association and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. When legislation for which CLPS is responsible undergoes a parliamentary review process, the Section prepares materials and provides other necessary support, such as counsel serving as witnesses when appropriate. Additionally, CLPS provides litigation support when bills concerning a criminal law matter are contested. CLPS’ participation in strategy sessions helps ensure that the litigators have the information necessary to understand the objectives of the legislation being challenged.

Figure 3: CLPS Involvement the Federal Policy Development Process

Figure 3: CLPS Involvement the Federal Policy Development Process

Figure 3 - Text Description

There are five overall steps in the federal policy development process.

The first step is planning the legislative program. This step includes departmental analysis and planning and the PM’s review and approval of the legislative program.

The second step is policy development. This step includes departmental policy options; MC preparation and interdepartmental consultations; and MC approval.

The third step is bill drafting. This step includes drafting/preparation of the bill; departmental approval of the bill; and Government House Leader review and approval.

The fourth step is the parliamentary process. This step includes introduction and first reading in the House of Commons; second reading in the House of Commons; Committee stage in the House of Commons; Report Stage (in the House of Commons); third reading (in the House of Commons); First reading (in the Senate); Second reading (in the Senate); Committee stage (in the Senate); Third reading (in the Senate) and Royal assent.

The fifth and final stage is post-enactment. This step includes post-enactment support.

CLPS is involved in all of the steps, with the exception of the PM’s review and approval of the legislative program and departmental approval of the bill.

Private Members’ Business

CLPS also provides support to the Minister in relation to all Private Members’ business related to criminal law, including motions, parliamentary questions, and bills. CLPS advises the government on Private Members’ bills on criminal law matters (through Memoranda to Cabinet) and drafts speeches, briefing materials and amendments as necessary for initiatives the government supports. CLPS also works with legislative drafters to develop government motions to amend these bills where necessary. Similar legislative support and public and media relations materials (except clause-by-clause books) required for government bills are generally required for Private Members’ bills.

Legal Policy Development in Other Departments

In addition to legal policy development and analysis concerning the Department of Justice’s own criminal law and criminal justice policy initiatives, the Section provides legal policy advice to other federal departments/agencies on their own proposed legislation, policies, programs, guidelines or other initiatives either during the development of the policy stage or during the drafting of legislation. The Section will often comment on proposed ideas or options or will be asked to add criminal law aspects to non-criminal policy proposals.

Legal Policy Development in Other Departments

CLPS provides legal policy advice on the development of international instruments on criminal law and procedure. It does so by attending international meetings (e.g. United Nations, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Commonwealth, Council of Europe, G8, G-20) to share the Canadian perspective and by providing legal policy advice to Canadian negotiators. In some fora, such as the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, it is CLPS that leads the Canadian delegation in defending Canada’s interests and positions when negotiating international instruments related to crime prevention and terrorism. In addition, CLPS is involved in reporting on Canada’s implementation of international instruments and is involved in evaluating other countries’ implementation of international legal instruments or international standards in intergovernmental review bodies (e.g. in relation to the United Nations Convention against Corruption, the Inter-American Convention against Corruption, the Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions and the Financial Action Task Force Recommendations on Combating Money Laundering and the Financing of Terrorism and Proliferation).

CLPS can also be involved in bilateral meetings and negotiations. For example, the Section provides legal and policy advice in support of the negotiation of cross-border law enforcement initiatives, including the Framework Agreement on Integrated Cross-Border Maritime Law Enforcement Operations between the Government of Canada and the Government of the United States of America. Legal Advice and Assistance

As subject matter experts in the area of criminal law, CLPS provides legal advice to the Minister of Justice, to the Departmental Legal Services Units (DLSUs) and, on behalf of the Minister, to other federal departments. In the context of the former, CLPS, as the lead on the development of criminal law policy, will often provide a mix of legal and policy advice to the Minister of Justice. A typical briefing note, for example, may report to the Minister a factual situation that has occurred or is ongoing, how the existing law is being or may be applied, and then offer options or make policy recommendations as to law amendments or other legal or non-legal options for addressing them.

As with advice to the Minister of Justice, all other advice may contain legal matters or policy matters, and can contain both. A common scenario involves the use of criminal law powers and offences in support of the non-criminal policy proposals of other departments. In this scenario, the policy elements include advice on whether the client’s policy objective is an appropriate use of the criminal law, and if so, an assessment of the probable effectiveness of various offences and sentencing options. The legal issues include matters such as advice on how existing criminal law elements of the scheme have been applied and the actual formulation or amendment of offences.

Legal advice is typically sought by counsel in DLSUs who have attempted to find solutions before contacting CLPS and it typically flows from the Section to the DLSU counsel and through them to the client. The nature of the advice sought varies considerably but commonly involves such issues as enforcement powers (e.g. search and seizure); questions about criminal procedure; sentencing-related questions; as well as advice in relation to such things as the creation of offences in regulatory statutes and advice on the interpretation of laws and the legal considerations for operational issues, such as the use of investigative techniques.

For litigation matters, when the federal government intervenes in a case involving the interpretation/application of the criminal law, including Charter challenges on a criminal law matter, the Section provides litigation support (along with the Public Law Sector) to ensure that the litigators have the information necessary to address the Charter challenge. CLPS counsel often provide support to provincial counsel arguing criminal law issues even where the Government of Canada does not intervene, as well as to federal Crown prosecutors and litigators where the Government of Canada is carrying the case. CLPS also assists other countries in criminal law and procedure matters by giving technical assistance to support their law reform efforts and is occasionally involved in assisting the Government respond to complaints raised with United Nations bodies. Engagement and Collaboration with Provinces and Territories and Criminal Justice Stakeholders

CLPS engages with the provinces and territories and with numerous stakeholder groups to identify emerging issues, discuss options for addressing them, and monitor reforms by obtaining feedback on implementation issues. This process includes consultations with federal, provincial and territorial officials on criminal law issues, which occur primarily through the Coordinating Committee of Senior Officials (Criminal Justice) and its working groups, as well as through interdepartmental working groups within the federal government. The Section consults with other departments and agencies, such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Public Safety Canada, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, Canada Border Services Agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD). In addition, as appropriate to the particular issue, CLPS consults with other relevant criminal justice stakeholders, such as the Canadian Bar Association, Barreau du Québec, the Canadian Criminal Justice Association, and the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police.

At the international level, CLPS is involved in a number of bilateral activities with other countries (e.g. Canada-US Cross-Border Crime Forum, the Canada-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism) on issues of criminal law policy including national security and anti-terrorism law. CLPS also participates in a number of intergovernmental bodies and expert working groups, including the G8 Roma-Lyon Crime and Terrorism Group, the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, the Commonwealth and various specialized committees of the Organization of the American States.

2.3.2 Immediate Outcomes Enhanced Knowledge and Understanding of Domestic and International Criminal Law Issues

As a result of CLPS activities in monitoring the legal and policy environment, conducting legal and policy research, and engaging with stakeholders, activities that are all part of the policy development process, the Section’s counsel develop a better understanding of emerging issues, options for addressing them and issues with implementation of recent law reforms.

The Section also enhances stakeholders’ knowledge and understanding of criminal law issues through outreach, training and educational activities conducted during the implementation of new laws, regulations and policies. The Section also provides technical assistance and information sessions to other countries that want to learn from the Canadian experience. High-Quality Legal and Policy Advice on Domestic and International Criminal Law Issues

As subject matter experts, CLPS staff provides high-quality legal and policy advice to assist in the development and implementation of the domestic and international criminal law framework. This advice foresees problems, presents options, and offers solutions. It is clear and serves its intended purpose. It includes legal advice/information on the legal issues and risks that have been identified, including their assessment of the legal risk. Legal and policy advice is provided in a timely manner, so that government officials can adequately consider the advice during their decision-making process.

In the specific context of litigation, CLPS provides legal advice to counsel who are handling cases involving the interpretation/application of the criminal law or Charter challenges. This includes providing support to provincial counsel arguing criminal law issues even where the Government of Canada does not intervene, as well as to federal Crown prosecutors and litigators where the Government of Canada is carrying the case. This advice provides counsel with an enhanced understanding of the objectives of the legislation under scrutiny and other advice that relates to addressing the particular Charter challenge.

2.3.3 Intermediate Outcomes Government Decision Making is Informed by Legal and Policy Advice

Through its activities, CLPS is able to provide information upon which the government can base policy decisions. For example, the Section undertakes analyses regarding the potential impacts of legislative, policy or other initiatives. CLPS wants to ensure that the government is aware of the legal effects of any proposed changes and of the potential impacts that new laws or policies will have on the criminal justice system and key stakeholder groups. By offering well-analyzed policy alternatives, CLPS enables the government to make well-informed decisions based on the best available evidence. Although CLPS provides legal policy advice and support, it does not control whether its recommendations are accepted; the government makes the final decisions on the policy direction. Contribution to the Domestic and International Criminal Law Framework

CLPS contributes to the domestic criminal law framework through the development of criminal law policy. As mentioned previously, it is responsible for the preparation of Memoranda to Cabinet concerning criminal law policy issues, amendments to the Criminal Code, and in some other areas where the criminal law is seen as the primary or core element of an initiative. The Section also contributes to legislative and other initiatives where the criminal law does not form the primary or core element of the initiative. 

CLPS counsel often carry domestic policy files that involve discussions and cooperation with their international counterparts. This can be explained by the significant increase of transnational crime (e.g. drug trafficking, money laundering, cyber-crime, corruption, terrorism) due to globalization and technological advances. To ensure the effectiveness of Canada’s criminal justice system, CLPS must develop coordinated responses with its international counterparts. For this purpose, CLPS engages in a wide-range of ongoing intergovernmental committees and working groups that deal with various criminal justice matters.

The Section also provides legal policy expertise to DFATD during the negotiations of international criminal law instruments, which is used to ensure that these instruments reflect Canadian interests and approaches. In some instances (e.g. United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice), it is CLPS, on behalf of DFATD, that directly negotiates international criminal law instruments.

2.3.4 Ultimate Outcomes

Ultimately, the criminal law reform and policy development of CLPS is intended to support and maintain a fair, relevant and accessible Canadian justice system, and to contribute to a federal government that is supported by high-quality legal services.

Figure 4: Criminal Law Policy Section Logic Model

Figure 4: Criminal Law Policy Section Logic Model

Figure 4 - Text Description

The activities for CLPS are:

Legal policy development and analysis, Legal advice and assistance and Engagement and collaboration with criminal justice stakeholders.

These activities are expected to lead to the following outputs:

  • Written and oral policy advice;
  • Policy reports and papers;
  • Position papers;
  • Research products;
  • Memoranda to Cabinet;
  • Speeches;
  • Bills and Clause-by-clause binders;
  • Regulations;
  • Contribution to international meetings, processes, negotiations and instruments;
  • Strategy sessions with litigators;
  • International peer reviews
  • Technical legal assistance provided to other countries;
  • Consultations;
  • Briefing notes;
  • Support to federal/provincial/territorial Deputy Ministers and Ministers;
  • Training sessions;
  • PLEI materials;
  • Education/information-sharing materials.

The outputs for CLPS will result in the following immediate outcomes:  

  • Enhanced knowledge and understanding of domestic and international criminal law issues; and
  • High quality legal and policy advice on domestic and international criminal law issues.

Immediate outcomes are expected to result in the following shared intermediate outcomes:

  • Government decision making is informed by legal and policy advice; and
  • Contribution to the domestic and international criminal law framework.

Overall, CLPS will contribute to the following ultimate outcomes:

  • A fair, relevant, and accessible Canadian justice system; and
  • A federal government that is supported by high quality legal services.
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