Courts Administration Service
Symbol of the Government of Canada
CAS Home > Reports on Plans and Priorities > Report on Plans and Priorities 2013-14 -Archive

Report on Plans and Priorities  2013-14


Warning This Web page has been archived on the Web.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived on the Web is for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It has not been altered or updated after the date of archiving. Web pages that are archived on the Web are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats by contacting us.

PDF Version  PDF Version

Honourable Rob Nicholson P.C., Q.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada


Table of Content

Chief Administrator's Message

Section I: Organizational Overview

Section II: Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

Section III: Supplementary nformation

Section IV: Other Items of Interest


Chief Administrator’s Message

Daniel Gosselin I am pleased to present the 2013-14 Report on Plans and Priorities for the Courts Administration Service (CAS).This report details how CAS intends to use its resources to carry out its mandate to provide administrative services to four separate and independent federal superior courts of record: the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.

In its first ten years of existence, CAS has earned the reputation as a respected and trusted leader in the provision of quality judicial, registry and corporate services. To maintain this position, CAS will focus its priorities on maintaining core judicial and registry services, strengthening security, modernizing technology, addressing the needs of employees and improving communications. While accomplishing this, CAS must absolutely secure its long-term financial sustainability and continue to work toward identifying a financial model which is better suited to the unique nature of the business of the four courts.

As we move forward with our plans, CAS remains committed to meeting the highest standards of professionalism in the provision of judicial, registry and corporate services.

I invite you to read this report to learn more about CAS' plans and priorities for the 2013-14 fiscal year.

Daniel Gosselin,
Chef Administrator


Section I – Organizational Overview

Raison d’être

The Courts Administration Service (CAS) was established in 2003 with the coming into force of the Courts Administration Service Act. The role of CAS is to provide effective and efficient registry, judicial and corporate services to four superior courts of record – the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. Judicial independence is enhanced through the Act by placing the judiciary at arm’s length from the federal government while ensuring greater accountability for the use of public money.

Responsibilities

CAS recognizes the independence of the courts in the conduct of their own affairs, and aims to provide each with quality and efficient administrative and registry services. The purposes of the Act are to:

  • Facilitate coordination and cooperation among the four courts for the purpose of ensuring the effective and efficient provision of administrative services;
  • Enhance judicial independence by placing administrative services at arm's length from the Government of Canada, and by affirming the role of the Chief Justices and judges in the management of the courts; and
  • Enhance accountability for the use of public money in support of court administration while safeguarding the independence of the judiciary.

CAS has 640 employees in permanent offices in ten cities across Canada. The head office is located in Ottawa and its main regional offices are in Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver.

Judicial Independence

Judicial independence is a cornerstone of the Canadian judicial system. Under the Constitution, the judiciary is separate from and independent of the executive and legislative branches of the Government of Canada. Judicial independence is a guarantee that judges will make decisions free of influence and based solely on fact and law. It has three components: security of tenure, financial security and administrative independence.

Strategic Outcome and Program Alignment Architecture (PAA)

CAS 2013-14 Program Activity Architucture

[text version]

Organizational Priorities

Priority Type1 Strategic Outcome
Maintain core judicial and registry services to the four courts. Previously committed to The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.
Description

Why is this a priority?

  • CAS is mandated to provide effective and efficient judicial, registry and internal services to the four courts, while safeguarding their judicial independence.
  • Enabling the four courts to conduct their business in response to the needs of litigants, and as determined by individual members of the courts is the fundamental purpose ofCAS and is always considered the top priority when allocating available resources.
  • The costs associated with court hearings are non-discretionary and are almost entirely beyond the control of CAS.
  • While CAS faces critical under-funding, it must manage an important increase in its workload and court-related costs.

Plans for meeting the priority

To ensure fair and timely access to the four courts, CAS will continue to allocate and reallocate its resources to meet its changing workload requirements and the essential needs of each court. CAS will work closely with the four courts to identify and prioritize their needs while continuing to seek efficiencies.

CAS will also continue to maintain and update its IM/IT infrastructure, including legacy systems, to ensure ongoing operations and address technology risks.

While developing and implementing a new Court and Registry Management System (CRMS) remains a priority for the organization, several significant financial and operational challenges must still be overcome. In the interim, judicial, registry and IT employees will focus resources on maintaining, and where possible, on modifying existing and obsolete electronic systems in an attempt to make them more efficient and effective. CAS will also continue to review its operations and explore opportunities for innovation and improved efficiency.

CAS will continue to closely monitor its expenses and be proactive in identifying and managing any new financial risk resulting from non-discretionary expenditures, such as hearing costs. New tools apednd processes will be developed to better monitor and predict future costs, and hence improve the management of risks to CAS' budget.

 

Priority Type 2 Strategic Outcome
Strengthen security for members of the courts, their users and employees. Previously committed to The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.
Description

Why is this a priority?

  • Proper security to protect the safe and secure operation of the courts is fundamental to the effective functioning of Canada's justice system. CAS must ensure members of the courts, employees and court users are provided with adequate security and an environment free from fear and intimidation.
  • While the Government of Canada has overall accountability for the security of the federal courts, CAS is responsible for ensuring that appropriate government security standards are met. Current measures fall short of the government's required security readiness standards.
  • A comprehensive threat and risk assessment will establish the security level required for the federal courts and will serve to further define related security requirements and priorities.

Plans for meeting the priority

Over the next three years, taking into account the results of the security threat and risk assessment, and in consultation with the members of the courts, CAS will advance the implementation of a comprehensive national security program on behalf of the four federal courts. The national security program is based on a standardized nationwide security approach for prevention, detection, response and recovery.

In 2013-14, to the extent permitted by available resources, CAS will continue to implement security programs related to court screening and security officers. CAS will also harmonize its security service delivery standards across Canada and introduce more effective and efficient security technologies. CAS will continue to refine its intelligence-led security strategies to better identify and assess potential security risks, especially those associated with court hearings, and to ensure optimal application of security measures. The organization will also finalize its business continuity plan.

Enhancing security measures, awareness and services will help CAS to strengthen the security culture throughout the organization and the courts system. This will help promote a safe and secure environment for members of the courts, employees, litigants and the public.

 

Priority Type Strategic Outcome
Provide a robust, reliable and secure IM/IT infrastructure and modernize judicial support systems.  Previously committed to The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.
Description

Why is this a priority?

  • The systems which support the judicial process are essential elements of the services offered by CAS to the courts. These systems are critically dependent on the IT infrastructure that supports them. The judicial support systems enable the conduct of court operations, the management of court documents and the provision of registry services to the courts and their users. Essential judicial support systems include the Court and Registry Management System, electronic filing, electronic scanning, digital audio recording and videoconferencing.
  • Given that the current legacy systems are inefficient and unreliable, investing in modern electronic judicial support systems and digital information management is a matter of the highest priority for CAS, the courts and their clients. As mentioned above, lack of resources has seriously thwarted progress in this area.
  • CAS must create and maintain a strong and reliable IT infrastructure platform on which to base all of the increasingly vital technological services to the courts, their clients, regional offices and the public. The goal is to provide "anywhere, anytime" support services of a high standard to the members of the courts and for the operations of the courts and Registry.
  • Strengthening CAS' information management is necessary to ensure that corporate information holdings and knowledge management are properly administered and secure. A key requirement is an adequate document management system.

Plans for meeting the priority

CAS recently invested in the construction of a new data center and in upgrading its IT infrastructure to address imminent failure and critical rust out. Within the limits of available resources, the focus will shift on upgrading other aspects of CAS’ technology environment, implementing application mitigation strategies, improving management of changes to judicial support systems, and ensuring information and technology security enhancements.

Attention will be concentrated in 2013-14 and beyond, on extending to the regions the accessibility to the network and speed of connectivity needed to make “anywhere, anytime” support for the members of the courts, the courts and CAS offices a reality across Canada.

Other key activities will include upgrades to operating systems and applications such as Windows and Microsoft Office, as well as to the information management databases which are critical for court and registry operations and modernization.

A robust and reliable technical infrastructure will ensure the integrity and functionality of CASIT operations and offer a secure IT platform for the integration and enhancement of the key judicial support systems required to maintain and advance court operations. This will include the ability to properly support the current legacy systems in order to minimize disruptions to court operations, as well as to ensure that the benefits of newly introduced solutions such as digital audio recording can be realized to the fullest.

A key element of moving to electronic records and processes is the implementation of a corporate document management system. This will enable CAS management and employees to receive and share records in ways that are more accessible, secure and cost-efficient. It will also facilitate knowledge management, especially for  decision-making.

A specific requirement to be addressed in 2013-14 is the upgrading of the websites of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada to meet accessibility requirements.

To ensure that CAS delivers on the above priorities while adhering to principles of good management, the IM/IT governance approach and planning activities will be strengthened. Effective Life Cycle Management Plans supporting IM/IT strategies will be developed and implemented in line with the CAS Investment Plan. Through the Enterprise Project Management Office framework, CAS will continue to improve project oversight, stakeholders’ involvement and delivery of projects in accordance with defined requirements.

 

Priority Type4 Strategic Outcome
Ensure the long-term financial viability of the organization and establish a work environment which addresses the needs of employees. Ongoing The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.
Description

Why is this a priority?

Financial Viability

  • For several years, CAS has faced significant financial challenges which have affected its capacity to deliver its programs and to move forward on a number of essential initiatives. This financial reality has also led to serious program integrity issues, which were recognized but only partly addressed in the federal budget 2011.
  • To maintain the provision of core services to the four courts, CAS must ensure its long-term financial viability. CAS faces serious budget constraints attributable to several factors. Principal among these are:
    • Approximately 80% of the non-salary operating and maintenance expenses for CAS are contracted costs for services to support the judicial process and court hearings. Since CAS is required under the Act to provide these services as directed by the judiciary, the related expenditures are essentially non-discretionary and limit the organization's financial flexibility.
    • Judicial requirements are constantly evolving, resulting in increased workload and additional demands for court services.
    • CAS has been required to support additional judicial appointments with no corresponding ongoing source of funds.
    • The requirement of the government for the past three years that departments absorb costs related to wage increases resulting from the collective bargaining process has permanently reduced available CAS resources.
    • General inflation represents a continuing pressure that erodes the value of CAS’ O&M resources across the board. In some areas, such as the judicial library, costs are rising much more rapidly than the Consumer Price Index.

Employee Needs

  • CAS is a service-delivery organization that relies on a qualified, experienced and engaged workforce to deliver high-quality services to the members of the courts and the public.
  • The 2011 Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) showed an overall improvement in people management and highlighted areas for further enhancement. For CAS addressing these areas is a priority.

Plans for meeting the priority

Financial Viability

To ensure its long-term financial viability, CAS will work collaboratively with the courts, the Department of Justice and central agencies to develop a more sustainable funding model. CAS will also continue to manage and monitor closely its significant financial risk.

However, given CAS’ program integrity issues, no contingency resources are available to deal with the financial risk associated with an increase in the volume or complexity of hearings or an increase in overall court workload, which are beyond the control of CAS. Any major unanticipated requirements will compel CAS to seek additional funding, as all possibilities for reallocation have been completely exhausted.

Employee Needs

Senior Management is committed to supporting and developing employees, both individually and collectively. CAS will manage its workplace and engage its workforce with special focus on HR planning, strategic staffing which encompasses diversity, key competencies and succession planning, as well as on values and ethics, career development and learning strategies.

Finally, CAS will implement an action plan in response to the results of the 2011 PSES.

 

Priority: Type5 Strategic Outcome:
Improve the quality and relevance of corporate communications. New The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.
Description

Why is this a priority?

  • CAS must optimize the effectiveness of communications with members of the courts, management and employees, to further enhance governance, planning, change management and provide better support for informed decision-making at all levels of the organization.
  • CAS relies on many important partnerships to provide registry services and access to courtrooms across Canada. Strategic and ongoing communications with these partners is essential to deliver these services and to support the courts in their ongoing efforts to improve the administration of justice.

Plans for meeting the priority

To improve the quality, timeliness, relevance and flow of information across the organization and with members of the courts and its partners, CAS will create and deploy a strategic communications plan. Furthermore, CAS will continue to maintain strong partnerships with Provincial and Territorial Governments to provide ongoing services to the courts. The organization will also continue to support committees which assist the four courts in improving services to the legal community and to Canadians.

Risk Analysis

The environment within which CAS must manage its risks is increasingly complex and challenging environment. The nature of its business, the unique characteristics of the Canadian judicial system, its governance structure and its unique clientele, are inherent factors which pose many challenges and risks to the effective management of CAS' business priorities.

In 2013-14, CAS will continue to implement strong governance, oversight and risk management practices. The identification of risks and the development of mitigation measures and controls will continue to contribute to the establishment of priorities, planning, resource allocation, policy development, program management and performance reports.

The following represents the key risks facing CAS in 2013-14 and some of the mitigation strategies planned for each risk.

Judicial Support Systems

Court operations are critically dependent on effective, efficient and secure information technology. At present, the courts must operate in an inefficient mixed paper and digital environment. The current paper-based registry systems are not only inefficient and unreliable but fall far short of the requirements of the members of the courts, court users and the public. A lack of resources has seriously limited progress toward the conversion to modern electronic systems, including the Court and Registry Management System.

To mitigate this risk, CAS is focusing resources on maintaining or modifying the existing legacy systems in an attempt to prevent the disruption of court operations and, where possible, make them more efficient. Also, CAS continues to work closely with members of the four courts to advance solutions, to the extent permitted by available resources, which will better serve the unique "anywhere, anytime" needs of itinerant courts while ultimately helping to contain the costs of court support.

Moreover, CAS will continue with its IT infrastructure enhancement initiative. The specific focus for 2013-14 will be on addressing IT performance issues at regional offices and upgrading databases, applications, the Windows platform and the Microsoft Office suite. These upgrades are essential to support the use of digital audio recording, videoconferencing, electronic filing and electronic storage of documents across the country, as well as the implementation of a new Court and Registry Management System.

Finally, CAS will continue to increase its project management capacity through its Enterprise Project Management Office, and offer project management support, tools and employee training.

Financial Resource Sufficiency

There is a risk that sufficient financial resources will not be available to sustain CAS' capacity to maintain core judicial and registry services to the four courts. This risk is driven by many factors: evolving court workload and service demands; ongoing increases in salary and O&M; and limited options to address growing program integrity issues.

CAS has no control over a significant portion of judicial expenditures, notably those related to hearings. Approximately 80% of the non-salary operating and maintenance expenses for CAS are contracted costs for services to support the judicial process and court hearings. Since CAS is required under the Act to provide these services as directed by the judiciary, the related expenditures are essentially non-discretionary and limit the organization's financial flexibility.

To mitigate this risk, CAS will continue to monitor closely its budget spending through frequent reviews of expenditures to rapidly identify pressures and to reallocate funding to pressing priorities. While the organization's program integrity issues were acknowledged, they were only partially addressed in Budget 2011. For this reason, CAS will continue to work collaboratively with the Department of Justice and central agencies to identify a sustainable funding model and secure additional funding to address urgent program integrity issues.

Security

The need for enhanced security measures and services for members of the courts, employees, litigants and the public remains a top priority for CAS in 2013-14. To help define the security level required for the protection of the federal courts and mitigate related risks, CAS has undertaken a comprehensive security threat and risk assessment and is developing a security strategy to guide its corporate security action plan.

While new requirements may come to light, it is clear that CAS must always be vigilant and continue to strengthen its security base and infrastructure, and address identified security risks. Accordingly, the focus will be on improving court security measures, such as court screening, security officers, physical security upgrades to court facilities, and the hearing risk management process.

Information Management

There is a risk that efforts to meet the IM requirements for rigorous protection and management of records and information remain insufficient. This risk is driven by two main requirements: (1) safeguard of court records and (2) access to corporate information to support decision-making. To mitigate these risks, CAS is planning to implement a scanning project for court records to safeguard them and make them more easily accessible.

Related to the possibility of losing Information Resources of Business Value (IRBV) which could diminish the effectiveness of decision-making within the organization and impact its ability to comply with various policies, CAS must adopt current information management principles, practices and standards, and implement a document management system which will act as the central repository to perform adequate IRBV lifecycle management. This will optimize the value of CAS' investment in information assets, and support effective and efficient operations, while improving the information management services offered to the members of the courts and their clients.

The implementation of a document management system will contribute to the effective management and sharing of information and will improve the operation of the courts. It will also facilitate the day-to-day activities performed by employees and improve the level of service offered to members of the courts and their clients.

 

Planning Summary

Financial Resources (Planned Spending — $ millions)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)2013-14
Planned Spending 2013-14 Planned Spending 2014-15 Planned Spending 2015-16
68.5 70.3 69.1 64.9

Planned Spending for 2013-14 amounts to $70.3M and is composed of:

  1. CAS Main Estimates; and
  2. Allocations from Treasury Board Central votes (subject to the approval of Treasury Board) include:

    1. Estimated Paylist shortfalls and related Employee Benefit Plan (EBP) costs. Paylist shortfalls include maternity and parental leave benefits, vacation credits payable upon termination of employment with the public service, and severance pay. The amount included for 2013-14 is $0.8M and is based on previous year trends.
    2. Estimated Severance pay liquidation and related EBP. This is for payments to employees who have exercised the option to immediately receive payment for previously earned and accumulated severance pay. The amount included for 2013-14 is $1.0M and is based on outstanding collective agreements and guidance from TBS in the calculation of amounts. These amounts are expected to cease in 2014-15 as all collective agreements offering this option are expected to have been exercised during the 2013-14 fiscal year.
Human Resources (Full-Time Equivalents — FTE)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
640 640 617

Note: The financial and human resources for the implementation of Bill C-11, an Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Balanced Refugee Reform Act) and the Federal Courts Act are included in the tables above. Also, 2014-15 represents the final year of funding related to Division 9 proceedings of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) aimed at addressing challenges in the management of security inadmissibility cases, protecting classified information in immigration proceedings, and obtaining diplomatic assurances of safety for inadmissible individuals facing a risk of torture.

Planning Summary Table ($ millions)
Strategic Outcome Program Actual Spending
2010-11
Actual Spending
2011-12
Forecast Spending
2012-136
Planned Spending Alignment to
Government of
Canada
Outcomes7
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. Judicial Services 19.9 21.6 21.2 22.7 21.9 20.5 Strong and independent democratic institutions
Registry Services 25.8 29.1 26.0 27.1 27.1 25.6 Strong and independent democratic institutions
Sub–Total 45.7 50.7 47.2 49.8 49.0 46.1

 

Planning Summary Table for Internal Services ($ millions)

Program Actual Spending
2010-11
Actual Spending
2011-12
Forecast Spending
2012-13
Planned Spending
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Internal Services 17.9 22.5 21.3 20.5 20.1 18.8
Sub-Total 17.9 22.5 21.3 20.5 20.1 18.8

Planning Summary Total ($ millions)

Strategic Outcome Program(s),
and Internal Services
Actual Spending
2010-11
Actual Spending
2011-12
Forecast Spending
2012-138
Planned Spending
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
Total 63.6 73.2 68.5 70.3 69.1 64.9

Note: The financial and human resources for the implementation of Bill C-11, an Act to amend the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (Balanced Refugee Reform Act) and the Federal Courts Act are included in the tables above. Also, 2014-15 represents the final year of funding related to Division 9 proceedings of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) aimed at addressing challenges in the management of security inadmissibility cases, protecting classified information in immigration proceedings, and obtaining diplomatic assurances of safety for inadmissible individuals facing a risk of torture.

Expenditure Profile

Departmental Spending Trend

Actual, Forecast and planned Spending 2009-10 to 2015-16

Actual, Forecast and Planned Spending 2009-10 to 2015-16

[text version]

Actual, Forecast and Planned Spending 2009-10 to 2015-16

The variations in spending seen in the chart are attributable to a series of factors which fall under two broad categories: CAS' responsibilities and government decisions.

In the first category, the significant level of actual spending in 2011-12 includes: payments to employees in relation to collective agreements signed in 2011; a major investment in information technology infrastructure to address rust-out issues, including the construction of a new data centre; and the provision in Budget 2011 for permanent program integrity funding for CAS to improve security services and to fund legislatively mandated judicial appointments.

In the second category, the factors related to government decisions include lump sum funding for collective agreements and existing employee benefits such as severance and maternity pay. One such example is the option offered to many employees to convert severance pay entitlements into cash; this represents the biggest single component in the 2011-12 increase in spending. Other factors affecting spending from year-to-year include various government expenditure restraint measures.

There is an increase in planned spending in 2013-14 due in part to the expected completion of severance liquidation payments and in part to the resumption of funding for collective agreement increases. Planned spending decreases in 2015-16 are related to the expiration of funding related to Division 9 proceedings of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) aimed at addressing challenges in the management of security inadmissibility cases, protection of classified information in immigration proceedings, and obtaining diplomatic assurances of safety for inadmissible individuals facing a risk of torture. Furthermore, funding for support of additional judicial appointments for refugee reform under Bill C-11 is included in the planned spending levels but is not available to CAS until these appointments are made. To date, no judicial appointments have been made and as a result, no actual spending has been incurred.

Estimates by Vote

For information on our organizational appropriations, please see the 2013-14 Main Estimates publication.


 

Section II: Analysis of Program Activities by Strategic Outcome

Strategic Outcome

The public has timely and fair access to the litigation processes of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada.

Program: Judicial Services

Program Description

Judicial Services is comprised of executive legal officers, senior legal counsel, judicial administrators, law clerks, jurilinguists, judicial assistants, library personnel, court attendants and chauffeurs who support members of the four courts in discharging their judicial functions.

Financial Resources ($ millions)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2013-14
Planned Spending
2013-14
Planned Spending
2014-15
Planned Spending
2015-16
22.4 22.7 21.9 20.5


Human Resources (FTE)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
191 191 188


Program Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets
Members of the courts have the legal services and administrative support they require to discharge their judicial functions. To protect the judicial independence of the courts, reporting of performance results will be omitted. N/A

Planning Highlights: Judicial Services

Judicial Services plays a vital role in support of the organization's mandate by offering key services to members of the courts. The program enables members of the courts to hear and dispose of cases efficiently, which is essential to the proper functioning of the judicial system. It also ensures that the public has timely access to court orders and decisions, and supports the important liaison that exists between the bench and bar as well as the work of the statutory rules committees of the courts. All of these activities ensure the effective, efficient and timely administration of justice for litigants before the courts, and more generally, for al Canadians.

In 2013-14, CAS will continue to provide key strategic management and legal advice to the four Chief Justices and other members of the four courts. This includes support and legal advice to court committees that facilitate dialogue between courts, litigants and the public. These committees provide a forum for discussions on court practices and possible amendments to court rules. Judicial Services will also continue to support the implementation of practice guidelines for alternative dispute resolution of Federal Court proceedings involving Aboriginal litigants which were finalized in 2012 by the Aboriginal Law Bar Liaison Committee.

Judicial Services will continue to support an initiative by the Federal Courts Rules Committee to modernize Federal Courts Rules, removing obstacles to the use of technology in court processes. Draft amendments are expected to be ready for publication in the Canada Gazette in 2013. Judicial Services will also continue to support the Committee's global policy review of the Federal Courts Rules, which started in 2012-13, with a focus on proportionality, control of abusive proceedings, and access to justice for self-represented litigants. Furthermore, Judicial Services will continue to provide support for the Tax Court of Canada Rules Committee to ensure that proposed amendments to the Tax Court of Canada Rules become effective in 2013-14.

Through its Library Services, CAS provides a full range of professional law and management library services. They make available across Canada legal and other published information products and services in electronic and paper formats to meet the information needs of the members of the four Courts and CAS employees. In an effort to control the rising costs of print and electronic publications, CAS will continue to implement a cost containment strategy. This includes the continued review of various electronic and print information services, as well as the continued review and integration of print library collections in judicial chambers, regional offices and various administrative areas within the organization. In addition, Library Services is continuing to finalize policies and procedures aimed at streamlining library holdings. Library Services will work with IT Services on the implementation of a new Digital Depository to facilitate access to, and the management of electronic publications.

Under their respective legislation, each of the four federal courts is designated as a "superior court of record." Consequently, under current rules, essentially all court records are retained, which means that CAS has accumulated a vast amount of paper documents from court proceedings. To improve the efficiency and accessibility of court records, and reduce ongoing storage and management costs, CAS will launch a court records retention and digitization project in the near future. In this regard, the main focus in the coming years for Judicial Services will be to establish court records retention and disposition schedules for each court, obtain the agreement of the Chief Justices as well as initiate the lengthy process of formal approval of changes to court rules.

Judicial Services will deploy a new electronic tracking system for translation requests of court decisions. This new system will have the ability to prepare detailed reports that will improve our ability to monitor highly variable translation costs. The ability to better monitor these costs is critical, as CAS has little control over the number of court decisions requiring translation. In 2011-12 the cost of translating court decisions represented close to 20% of the Judicial Services budget.

On an annual basis, CAS hires approximately sixty law clerks to support members of the courts: preparing case summaries, researching questions of law and preparing detailed memoranda on facts and legal issues. This annual hiring process attracts applications from upcoming and recent graduates of law schools from across Canada. CAS will continue to improve the online application tool for law clerks, in order to facilitate the management of the application and interview process and to provide a secure online application option for potential candidates.

A survey was conducted in the spring of 2012 to gauge the satisfaction of members of the Federal Court of Appeal and the Federal Court with the services provided by Judicial Services. This survey was a follow-up to the one conducted in 2009. The results of the survey were generally very positive and action plans were developed for implementation in 2013-14.

Finally, Judicial Services will also work closely with the Registry and Internal Services to update and improve the court websites, with a particular focus from the Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court on providing support to self-represented litigants. While some improvements were made in 2012 to the Tax Court of Canada website by making available to the public the set-down list, further updates will be made in 2013-14 and new enhanced features, such as further details on the nature of the appeals, will become available. This will ensure that the courts’ websites meet the needs of litigants, the public and the media.

Program: Registry Services

Program Description

Registry Services are delivered under the jurisdiction of the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada. The registries process legal documents provide information to litigants on court procedures maintain court records, participate in court hearings, support and assist in the enforcement of court orders, and work closely with the offices of the four Chief Justices to ensure that matters are heard and decisions are rendered in a timely manner. Registry Services are offered in every province and territory through a network of permanent offices, and agreements with provincial and territorial partners.

Financial Resources ($ millions)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2013-14
Planned Spending
2013-14
Planned Spending
2014-15
Planned Spending
2015-16
26.7 27.1 27.1 25.6


Human Resources (FTE)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
294 294 282


Program Expected Results Performance Indicators Targets
Court files are accurate and complete % of court files accurate and complete 90%

Planning Highlights: Registry Services

Registry services are critical for the efficient and effective delivery of justice by the courts. During the upcoming year, CAS will continue the implementation of a few key initiatives that will ensure delivery of quality services and facilitate timely and fair access to the litigation process of the four courts.

Court operations rely on information management and technology systems to enable the Registry to help the courts fulfill their legislative mandate as superior courts of record. Critical operational support services provided to the courts across Canada by the registries include: reception, issuance and processing of legal documents, appeals and applications for judicial review; ensuring the proper management of court records; providing support to the litigation processes; and facilitating access to court records.

In 2013-14, Registry Services will move into the final implementation phase of a new Digital Audio Recording System (DARS) for the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada. As the configuration, installation and testing of DARS have been completed, emphasis will be on a gradual nationwide deployment and ongoing employee training. By the end of 2013-14, DARS is expected to be fully operational and available for recording court hearings at judges' request. As the IT infrastructure will be updated, an assessment will be made to determine whether and how we can connect the DARS to our internal network. Once fully implemented, DARS will improve the conduct of court hearings; this is expected to generate savings as the request for court reporters and transcripts should decrease accordingly.

DARS will be a useful tool for members of the courts, both during hearings and afterwards while reviewing their notes or writing their decision wherever they may be located. While the Federal Court's and the Tax Court of Canada's DARS projects are being implemented, the requirements and plans for a similar project for the Federal Court of Appeal will be explored.

At present, the courts operate mainly in a paper environment due to the use of obsolete, incompatible and inefficient court record management systems. CAS has attempted to develop an integrated electronic court system, which would include a Court and Registry Management System and other functionalities such as e-filing, automatic issuance and posting of decisions on court websites, performance information and statistics. However, due to current financial constraints, CAS has been unable to fund this project. CAS will continue to seek a financial solution for this important and critical project for the courts, litigants and employees. In the interim, CAS will focus its resources on maintaining, and where possible, modifying its existing and obsolete systems to continue delivering services to the courts and litigants. E-filing services at the Federal Court will continue to be provided by an internally-developed system until a new CRMS with e-filing functionality is implemented.

A survey was conducted in the spring of 2012 to gauge the satisfaction of litigants of the four courts with the services provided by the Registries. Following the results of the survey, action plans were developed for each court's registry, and these will be implemented in 2013-14. Initiatives focusing on improved training, quality assurance and improved client services will likely result in enhanced court user satisfaction.

CAS does not control the duration and number of hearings, which have an impact on court reporter costs, transcripts, simultaneous interpretation, videoconferencing, travel, contracted court registrars and ushers costs. Therefore, Registry Services will continue to ensure the rigorous monitoring of the significant financial risk related to these non-discretionary expenses.

Registry Services will also be forecasting and proactively managing the high variability of proceedings which impacts these expenses. Since 2007, the number of immigration cases at the Federal Court has more than doubled and they are projected to increase by approximately 32% or 13,000 between 2011-12 and 2012-13. This represents at least 120 additional hearings, an increase of about 8% over 2011-2012. This increase is due to the elimination of all applications under the Federal Skilled Worker Program prior to February 27, 2008. The full potential impact of this situation on the courts is unknown at the moment but could be even more substantial. In order to manage this risk, the Federal Court Registry will continue to allocate and reallocate resources as necessary to continue the provision of registry services. It will also monitor legislative and policy developments and will actively communicate with other government departments and tribunals, such as the Canada Border Services Agency, Citizenship and Immigration Canada and the Immigration and Refugee Board.

Another example of increasing workload is at the Tax Court of Canada, where it is predicted that appeals and applications filed in 2012-13 will exceed the average of the last three years by approximately 22%. This increase in caseload will result in a rise in registry costs as well as in the amount of hearings-related expenses. Trials associated with these files will likely take place over the next four years.

Increases in workload at both the Federal Court and the Tax Court of Canada are expected to eventually result in a corresponding increase in the workload at the Federal Court of Appeal.

The non-discretionary expenses that are related to the variable workload of the courts are extremely difficult to manage within fixed reference levels, and thus add significant financial and operational pressures which compromise CAS' ability to deliver on its mandate and priorities.

Program: Internal Services

Program Description

Internal Services are groups of related activities and resources, which are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. These groups are: Management and Oversight Services; Communications Services; Legal Services; Human Resources Management Services; Financial Management Services; Information Management Services; Information Technology Services; Real Property Services; Materiel Services; Acquisition Services; and Travel and Other Administrative Services. Internal Services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization and not to those provided specifically to a program.

Financial Resources ($ millions)
Total Budgetary Expenditures
(Main Estimates)
2013-14
Planned Spending
2013-14
Planned Spending
2014-15
Planned Spending
2015-16
19.4 20.5 20.1 18.8


Human Resources (FTE)
2013-14 2014-15 2015-16
155 155 147


Planning Highlights: Internal Services

Security

Security will remain one of CAS' top priorities for the period 2013-14 to 2016-17. Proper security remains fundamental to the effective functioning of the federal court system. Accordingly, CAS has undertaken a comprehensive threat and risk assessment to establish the security level required for the federal courts and serve to further define related security requirements.

In 2013-14 and beyond, taking into account the results of the security threat and risk assessment, CAS will continue to refine and implement its national security program to ensure that court security measures across Canada are standardized and consistently applied to achieve their intended results. The main elements include: implementation of the security officer program; strengthening of the court screening program; implementation of the hearing risk management process; and continuation of physical security upgrades to facilities.

CAS will also continue to improve its intelligence-led security strategies to better identify and assess potential security risks, especially those associated with court hearings, and to ensure optimal application of security measures. The organization will also finalize its business continuity plan and further promote security awareness.

Information Management and Information Technology (IM/IT)

A sound IM/IT infrastructure is the foundation for the functionality, reliability and security of court operations and administrative functions. For 2013-14, CAS has identified IM/IT as one of its key priorities and top corporate risks. With the completion of major IT upgrades, including the new data centre, the focus will shift to regional capacity, application strategies, backup capability, judicial support systems, and furthering information and technology security enhancements.

Special attention will be given to extending full network capability and accessibility to regions in order to make "anywhere, anytime" support for the members of the courts, the courts and CAS offices a reality across Canada. Renewal of operating systems and applications, as well as the databases that underlie CAS information management systems, will also be a priority area for IM/IT in 2013-14 and beyond.

With a more robust, reliable and secure IT infrastructure, CAS will be able to support the implementation of current and future technology-enabled solutions for the members of the courts such as e-filing capability, digital audio recording systems, videoconferencing, e-scanning and e-copying, as well as the future implementation of a new Court and Registry Management System.

Meanwhile, to mitigate associated risks, CAS will focus on maintaining or modifying the existing judicial support legacy systems in an attempt to prevent the disruption of court operations and, where possible, make them more efficient. CAS will also continue to work closely with members of the four federal courts to identify solutions, to the extent permitted by available resources, which will better serve the needs of the itinerant courts while ultimately helping to contain the costs of court support.

To meet CAS' information management needs and to comply with Treasury Board information management policies, principles, standards and practices, CAS will update its information management framework and implement a new Document Management System. This will enable technological integration with other corporate systems and ensure that digital information can be easily accessed and shared.

Finance

To ensure its long-term financial viability, CAS will work collaboratively with the courts, the Department of Justice and central agencies to develop a more sustainable funding model. Additional funding may also have to be sought to address urgent program integrity issues.

CAS will perform frequent reviews of expenditures and will ensure the rigorous monitoring of the significant financial risk related to non-discretionary expenses, including costs related to hearings. These non-discretionary expenses are highly variable and difficult to manage within fixed reference levels, adding significant financial pressures and limiting the organization's ability to deliver on its priorities.

During the reporting period, CAS will continue the implementation of its policy on internal controls. This will include the documentation of key processes as well as testing, monitoring and remediation. Adjustments to procurement and contracting in the areas of governance, delegation of authority, documentation and quality control will be made to improve the management and efficiency of related processes. Support will also be provided to the Investment Planning Committee to ensure proper financial reporting and monitoring of the Investment Plan.

Human Resources

HR planning, strategic staffing and leadership development will be critically important during a period when CAS continues to face serious budget constraints and new demands. To ensure that it has the capacity to deliver on its priorities, CAS will continue to invest in developing creative learning and development strategies.

Human Resources will support CAS governance and organizational structure reviews by providing services and advice to senior management. In addition, HR will lead the implementation of the Action Plan developed in response to the results of the Public Service Employee Survey, and will continue working with senior management to foster a respectful workplace.

In order to optimize the use of its resources, CAS will streamline its HR processes. To this end, CAS will implement the Common Human Resources Business Process (CHRBP), a government-wide initiative led by the Office of the Chief Human Resources Officer.

Investment Plan and Project Management

In 2013-14 CAS will continue to implement its five-year Investment Plan ensuring the effective and efficient provision of services to the courts, their users and the public. It will continue to standardize and integrate processes for investment decision-making and project management, while ensuring that CAS is allocating its scarce resources where they provide most value.

CAS will continue to strengthen its project management framework and capacity through the Enterprise Project Management Office (EPMO), which has established common standards and processes to be adapted to each project according to complexity and risk. The EPMO will continue to offer project management training and provide support to project managers.



 

Section III: Supplementary Information

Financial Highlights

The future-oriented financial highlights are intended to serve as a general overview of CAS' financial position and operations. They are prepared on an accrual basis to strengthen accountability and improve transparency and financial management.

Future-Oriented Condensed Statement of Operations and Departmental Net Financial Position
For the Year (ended March 31)
($ millions)
  $ Change Forecast
2013-14
Estimated Results
2012-13
Total expenses 2.2 100.0 97.8
Total revenues - 0.0 0.0
Net cost of operations before government funding and transfers 2.2 100.0 97.8
Departmental net financial position 0.3 0.7 0.4


Future-Oriented Condensed Statement of Financial Position
For the Year (ended March 31)
($ millions)
  $ Change Forecast
2013-14
Estimated Results
2012-13
Total net liabilities -0.8 14.1 14.9
Total net financial assets - 8.2 8.2
Departmental net debt -0.8 5.9 6.7
Total non-financial assets -0.5 6.6 7.1
Departmental net financial position 0.3 0.7 0.4

Future-Oriented Financial Statements

The Courts Administration Service’s future-oriented financial statements can be found at:
http://cas-cdc-www02.cas-satj.gc.ca/portal/page/portal/CAS/RPP_eng

List of Supplementary Information Tables

All electronic supplementary information tables listed in the 2013-14 Reports on Plans and Priorities can be found on the Courts Administration Service website at:
http://cas-cdc-www02.cas-satj.gc.ca/portal/page/portal/CAS/RPP_eng/RPP-st-ts-2013-14_eng




Section IV: Other Items of Interest

Organizational Contact Information

Further information on the strategic planning components of this report can be obtained by contacting:

Robert Monet
Director, Corporate Secretariat
Courts Administration Service
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H9
Robert.Monet@cas-satj.gc.ca

Further information on the financial components of this report can be obtained by contacting:

Paul Waksberg
Director General, Finance and Contracting Services
Courts Administration Service
Ottawa, Ontario
K1A 0H9
Paul.Waksberg@cas-satj.gc.ca

 


 

Footnotes

1Type is defined as follows: previously committed to—committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the report; ongoing—committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the report; and new—newly committed to in the reporting year of the RPP or DPR.

2Type is defined as follows: previously committed to—committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the report; ongoing—committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the report; and new—newly committed to in the reporting year of the RPP or DPR.

4Type is defined as follows: previously committed to—committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the report; ongoing—committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the report; and new—newly committed to in the reporting year of the RPP or DPR.

5Type is defined as follows: previously committed to—committed to in the first or second fiscal year prior to the subject year of the report; ongoing—committed to at least three fiscal years prior to the subject year of the report; and new—newly committed to in the reporting year of the RPP or DPR.

6The amount should reflect the department’s best estimates of its cash expenditures—in other words, what the department would expect to see published in the upcoming Public Accounts.

7Information on departmental alignment to Government of Canada outcomes is available on the Secretariat’s website.

8The amount should reflect the department’s best estimates of its cash expenditures—in other words, what the department would expect to see published in the upcoming Public Accounts.