Gateway Gazette

Government Plans to Address Court Backlog

New funding means 65 staff would be hired throughout the criminal justice system, including Crown prosecutors and court clerks.

The Government of Alberta plans to make a new investment in the justice system to hire 35 Crown prosecutors and an additional 30 support staff.

These positions will add to the current 15 Crown prosecutors that are being recruited right now.

“It’s critical that our justice system works well for Albertans and that they have confidence in it. That takes resources, which is why this government is investing in the system. In light of the recent Supreme Court of Canada decision in Jordan, this new investment is more important than ever.”

Kathleen Ganley, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

The Supreme Court’s Jordan decision, which came down in the summer of 2016, limits how long a case can take.

“Additional prosecutors will help ease the current workload pressure facing Crown offices throughout the province. This funding will allow the Prosecution Service to return to full complement and look towards growth in target areas. There is more work to do and together with our partners, we are moving in the right direction.”

Eric Tolppanen, Assistant Deputy Minister, Alberta Crown Prosecution Service

“Additional financial support for Crown prosecutors and the court system is one component in addressing issues within the criminal justice system specific to delays and backlogs. It is critical to ensure timely resolve of criminal cases and, most importantly, in the interests of those that are victimized.”

Rod Knecht, Chief of Police, Edmonton Police Service

“This welcome funding will increase the effectiveness of investments in policing made by communities like Grande Prairie, helping to ensure those who are accused of crimes face the courts in a timely manner.”

Bill Given, Mayor, Grande Prairie

The new investment would include an increase of approximately $14.5 million to address court and Crown pressures. This funding will be presented as part of Budget 2017 and is subject to approval by the Legislative Assembly.

More Crown prosecutors

There are currently 310 Crown prosecutors which would increase to 360 over the next year, including those who appear at first instance bail hearings.

More court staff

With the new investment, about 30 court staff, including clerks and data entry personnel, would be hired. These new positions would ensure clerks are available for courtrooms, ensure the timely processing of court-related documents and assist the public with their inquiries.

Quick Facts

Since we started Jordan applications tracking on Oct. 25, 2016:

  • 68 Jordan applications have been filed
  • 15 applications are pending (as of March 8, 2017)
  • 18 applications have been dismissed by the court
  • 6 applications have been granted. One has been appealed by the Crown.
  • 14 applications were abandoned by defence
  • 6 matters were proactively stayed by the Crown on the basis that they would not survive the Jordan application
  • 9 matters were resolved unrelated to Jordan

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