Our Aims and Objectives
CAPCJ is committed to the achievement of several primary objectives which address the role of the provincial courts as integral players in the delivery of justice to the citizens of Canada. These include: monitoring the status of provincially-appointed judges, acting as an advisory and consultative body to governments and other agencies involved in reforming the system of justice, and being an educator and disseminator of information to judges across the country. CAPCJ supports and advocates for judicial independence, bilingualism, and respect for equality and diversity, concepts necessary to the proper administration of justice in Canada.
Our Management Structure
The Association is managed by an Executive Council, comprised of a President, Past President, First, Second and Third Vice-Presidents, and a Secretary-Treasurer/Executive Director as well as a representative (with voting authority) from each province and territory. Members of the Executive Council are drawn from the ranks of judges across the country. The numerous committees are comprised of volunteer members of the Association, including the chairpersons who are appointed by the President.
CAPCJ usually holds its Annual Meeting in September or October, alternating the location across the country. These meetings are held to conduct Association business, to stage training and development sessions and to elect Table Officers.The incoming President is the First Vice-President of the Association and hails from the province hosting the Annual Meeting. The Second and Third Vice-Presidents are from the provinces slated to host the next two Annual Meetings. CAPCJ provides funding to cover the costs of sending a number of delegates from each province and territory to the meeting. All other members are welcome to attend the meeting at their own expense.
How are we funded?
The Association is funded by a combination of membership dues and federal and provincial grants. Our initiatives are also assisted by the Chief Judges in each province and territory who, through the respective budgets assigned to their offices by their governments, subsidize the costs of travel and accommodations for some judges attending conferences, meetings and seminars.
We are Bilingual
It is CAPCJ policy that our English and French speaking members have equal access to national functions.
We are Committed to Respect for Equality and Diversity
Our commitment extends to matters arising within the CAPCJ and in all aspects of the work of Canadian provincial court judges. The CAPCJ has a formal equality and diversity policy and a standing committee on equality and diversity.
National Judicial Counselling Programme (NJCP)
A very beneficial aspect to CAPCJ membership is automatic access to the National Judicial Counselling Programme. This is a confidential program of prevention, assistance and treatment for members of the Canadian judiciary and their family members.
Hotline (for assistance): 1-866-872-6336
Our raison d’être
CAPCJ is committed to the development of the Provincial Court as a court of excellence whose jurists are universally respected as thoughtful, informed, fair, impartial and independent. We advocate the unification of federal and provincial trial courts. To meet this goal, we have a network of committees whose members work tirelessly to enhance the reputation of the Provincial court. Included in the roster of committees are National Education, Committee on the Law, Bilingualism, Judicial Independence and Compensation.
Other committees work to maintain strong ties with national organizations such as the Canadian Conference of Chief Judges, the National Judicial Institute, and the Canadian Bar Association. (The CAPCJ President is recognized as a member of the CBA National Council). Our Committee on the Law is regularly consulted by the Department of Justice regarding new or pending legislation in Criminal and Young Offender matters. Expanding jurisdictions and annual legislative amendments make this work critical.
CAPCJ is especially sensitive to the issues surrounding the independence of the judiciary. The Judicial Independence Committee studied and reported on the problems experienced by our judges and formulated responses. As a crisis loomed in the early 1990s, in the form of cross-country litigation, CAPCJ commissioned a report on the state of judicial independence of provincial judges. Entitled "The Independence of Provincial Court Judges: A Public Trust", the report clearly described the erosion of the independence of the provincial Court throughout the country.
Inspired by this report, CAPCJ intervened in the 1996 Provincial Judges’ Reference case in the Supreme Court of Canada, putting forward a persuasive argument in favour of a single standard of independence for both federal and provincial judges. The decision, rendered in September 1997, provides critical guidance on the issue of judicial independence. It led to the creation of Compensation Commissions in each province and territory in Canada.
- CAPCJ holds an Annual Conference and education seminar each fall. During these conferences, judges from across Canada learn from each other and from distinguished presenters.
- CAPCJ presents, each spring, the highly regarded New Judges’ Training Program, for provincial, territorial and military judges. Two annual seminars are staged for judges of the Atlantic provinces, through its Atlantic Regional Conference.
- CAPCJ pioneered social context education for judges in Canada.
- CAPCJ has liaised with the National Judicial Institute (NJI) and worked with it to increase provincial and territorial judges’ access to NJI education programs and materials.
- CAPCJ, with the support of the NJI, has facilitated communication and co-operation among provincial and territorial associations’ education committees. By forming a working group and circulating a newsletter for those working on education for provincial court judges, CAPCJ has fostered the presentation of high quality programs at reduced costs.
- CAPCJ and NJI have presented workshops on delivering judicial education for provincial and territorial education chairs.
- CAPCJ, with the support of the Department of Justice, organized a program on dealing with the news media for representatives of provincial and territorial judges’ associations.
- CAPCJ publishes the Provincial Judges’ Journal quarterly and maintains its Internet Home Page.
What does the future hold?
The new millennium will be tremendously exciting as the CAPCJ continues to prove the excellence of our jurists. We hope to forge a line of communication with all levels of government that will facilitate better understanding and respect for our respective responsibilities and for judicial independence. CAPCJ's committees are currently investigating other ideas to improve the continuing education programs and the New Judges’ Training Program. The Association will be increasingly visible to the general public. CAPCJ will strengthen its productive associations with our federally-appointed colleagues and with members of the Canadian Bar Association. Working with the Council of Chief Judges, it will foster our cooperative relationship with the Canadian Council of Chief Judges. Above all, CAPCJ will work tirelessly and effectively for the enhancement of Canadian Provincial courts and their judges.