2. The Year in Review
The total PPSC caseload in 2010-2011 numbered 78,817 files. This figure includes 48,504 files opened during the year, as well as 30,313 carried over from previous years.
PPSC counsel prosecute offences in four broad areas:
- drug offences throughout the country;
- crimes that threaten national security, such as terrorism and war crimes;
- all offences in the three Northern territories, including Criminal Code offences; and
- economic crime and offences under federal regulatory legislation.
Drug prosecution files represent a significant proportion of the PPSC’s total caseload. In 2010-2011, the PPSC handled 58,117 prosecution files related to offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Of those, 24,245 files were carried over from previous years, and 33,872 files were new. These prosecutions vary greatly in complexity; some are simple cases of possession of a few grams of marihuana, while others involve complex schemes to import quantities of cocaine or to make methamphetamine in a suburban neighbourhood for export.
PPSC prosecutors are often involved early in investigations to ensure that investigators receive timely advice on the techniques they are using and to ensure that the evidence is marshalled to permit a prosecution on the merits of the case.
Cases targeting criminal organizations have increased as a result of police forces focusing more of their efforts on investigations of such organizations. Trafficking in drugs is one of the primary activities of most organized crime groups.
In part because of changes in enforcement in recent years, the PPSC has seen an increase in the number and size of drug cases in certain parts of the country. In British Columbia, for example, a single case involved a seizure of over 1,000 kilograms of cocaine, and another involved a seizure of over 1,000 kilograms of ketamine. Taken together, eight other cases involved over 420 kilograms of cocaine, 75 kilograms of methamphetamine, 88 kilograms of opium, and 55,000 hits of ecstasy. The wholesale value of the drugs seized in these ten cases exceeds $75 million. The street value would be many times more.
Drug prosecutions can become time-consuming and complex. Lately, prosecutions that would have been relatively straightforward in the past have been prolonged as a result of motions focusing on the legality of the investigation, the constitutionality of the legislation or of the investigation, disclosure issues, allegations of abuse of process, or unreasonable delay.
High-complexity drug cases require a significant amount of PPSC resources. While such cases represented only 2.13% of staff counsel’s drug caseload in 2010-2011, they took up 35.38% of the litigation time dedicated to drug prosecutions.
Drug offences are often revenue-generating crimes, and thus continue to represent the majority of offences that lead to the forfeiture of proceeds of crime and property used to commit crime (“
offence-related property”). In 2010-2011, the PPSC handled 2,176 cases involving either proceeds of crime or offence-related property (1,296 were carried over from previous years, and 880 were new). The proceeds or property at issue ranged from money used to buy drugs from an undercover officer to real estate bought with the proceeds of crime or used to produce drugs. A total of $35.6 million of proceeds of crime and offence-related property was forfeited during 2010-2011.
Addiction-motivated crime presents particular challenges. To try to reduce the revolving door of crime committed to feed an addiction, federally funded Drug Treatment Courts have been established in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa. As well, a community-funded Drug Treatment Court operates in Calgary. These courts focus on the supervised treatment of the offender. Prosecutors work with judges, defence counsel, treatment providers, and other personnel to cooperatively but accountably deal with the issues raised by the conduct of offenders diverted to these specialized courts.
PPSC prosecutors currently staff all of Canada’s Drug Treatment Courts with the exception of the Regina Drug Treatment Court, which is staffed by prosecutors from the Ministry of the Attorney General of Saskatchewan.
Following a two-year investigation into the East End Charter of the Hells Angels (EEHA), 18 people were arrested and charged with a variety of offences connected to the production and trafficking of methamphetamine in association with a criminal organization.
The last of the trial matters concluded in the spring of 2010 with Randall Potts and John Punko (both EEHA members) pleading guilty to conspiracy to produce and traffic methamphetamine and trafficking cocaine. The trial judge ruled that the federal Crown was estopped (prevented) from proceeding on the criminal organization charges. The PPSC appealed the sentences and the estoppel ruling. In February 2011, the B.C. Court of Appeal increased both sentences and ordered a new trial for Mr. Punko and Mr. Potts on the criminal organization offences.
The PPSC has concurrent jurisdiction with provincial prosecution services to prosecute terrorism offences. To date, the PPSC has concluded proceedings for three prosecutions under the anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code.
In 2010-2011, the PPSC continued to strengthen its approach on national security prosecutions. Regional Terrorism Prosecutions Co-ordinators were appointed in each region of Canada. A National Co-ordinator was also appointed. These individuals make up the Terrorism Prosecutions Co-ordination Committee, which works on issues of concern in terrorism prosecutions.
A set of tools to support terrorism prosecutions has been developed that includes a comprehensive searchable database of court decisions on terrorism, as well as selected non-terrorism cases relevant to terrorism prosecutions. These tools help prosecutors better prepare for and prosecute terrorism-related cases.
PPSC counsel defended the constitutionality of s.38 of the Canada Evidence Act before the Supreme Court of Canada in R. v. Ahmad. In this case, the court found that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is not violated by the fact that national security claims relating to disclosure in a criminal trial are addressed by the Federal Court rather than the criminal trial court.
PPSC counsel argued a number of appeals over sentencing considerations before the Ontario Court of Appeal in the cases of R. v. Khawaja, R. v. Gaya, and R. v. Khalid. The judgments in these three cases affirm the extraordinary challenges and exceptional risks to society associated with terrorism offences and call for an approach to sentencing that reflects these unique considerations. The decision in R. v. Khawaja also upholds the constitutionality of the definition of terrorist activity in s. 83.01 of the Criminal Code. Mr. Khawaja has sought leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada.
As of the time of publication, two terrorism-related prosecutions are ongoing. In August 2010, charges were laid against three individuals in Ottawa and in March 2011, unrelated charges were laid against a single individual in Brampton, Ontario.
Mohammad Momim Khawaja was charged with building detonators in his Ottawa basement for a United Kingdom terror group. He also funded and trained with the group in Pakistan. At trial, he successfully challenged as unconstitutional the political or religious motive requirement for terrorism offences, but was nonetheless convicted and sentenced to 10.5 years in addition to the five years he had spent in pre-trial custody. The Crown appealed this sentence and Mr. Khawaja appealed both his conviction and the sentence. The Ontario Court of Appeal reversed the trial judge’s constitutional ruling, upholding the anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code in their entirety. The Court of Appeal also allowed the Crown’s sentence appeal and increased Mr. Khawaja’s sentence to life imprisonment. In the key part of its ruling, the Court of Appeal agreed with the PPSC’s position that offenders who plan to harm large numbers of innocent civilians for terrorist purposes should face severe sentences in order to protect the public and to demonstrate that Canada cannot be used as a safe haven for terrorist activities.
War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity
The PPSC is responsible for prosecuting offences under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.
The PPSC’s first prosecution under the Act resulted in the conviction of Désiré Munyaneza of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes in relation to events that occurred in Rwanda in 1994. Mr. Munyaneza received a life sentence in 2009. An appeal is ongoing.
A second case is ongoing. R. v. Mungwarere concerns a Rwandan national residing in Windsor, Ontario who was charged in 2009 with genocide. Additional charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity were added in 2010. A trial date of April 2, 2012 has been set. The accused, Jacques Mungwarere, remains in custody.
Prosecutions in Canada’s North
In Canada’s three Northern territories, the PPSC prosecutes all Criminal Code offences, in addition to offences under other federal legislation. In 2010-2011, the PPSC handled 10,023 litigation files in the territories, of which 9,109 involved Criminal Code offences. Of those files, 8,546 were new, and 1,477 were carried over from previous years. Northern prosecutions also included 529 drug offences, 349 regulatory offences, and 366 territorial offences. Some files involved multiple offences. As in the past, a large number of charges involved family violence and sexual assault.
In 2010-2011, the Northern regional offices handled a total of 33 homicide files, 19 of which were carried over from previous years.
In 2009-2010, the PPSC joined forces with the RCMP and the Department of Justice to deliver training on the prevention of wrongful convictions in Nunavut and in 2010-2011, the same training was delivered to the Northwest Territories and Yukon regional offices.
Regulatory and Economic Prosecutions
The PPSC provides a wide range of prosecution services related to legislation that is aimed at protecting the health, safety, economic and environmental security, and general welfare of the public.
Regulatory and economic prosecutions are the second-largest category of offences prosecuted by the PPSC, after drug prosecutions. Outcomes in these cases may generate large fines and penalties, and can result in remedial and preventative measures that enhance public and environmental health, safety, and security. In 2010-2011, the PPSC handled 9,863 files involving regulatory and economic offences. Approximately $22 million in fines and surcharges were imposed by the courts.
Regulatory and economic prosecutions are typically complex and resource-intensive. Because of the nature of these cases, specialized teams of prosecutors have been established in most regional offices.
The PPSC prosecutes offences under all statutes administered by the Canada Revenue Agency, notably the Income Tax Act. In 2010-2011, the PPSC handled a total of 584 files under the Income Tax Act, and concluded 286 prosecutions.
Integrated Market Enforcement Teams
PPSC counsel assigned to Integrated Market Enforcement Teams (IMET) work with members of the RCMP and other investigators, including forensic accountants, who investigate suspected capital market fraud. These IMET units are located in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. PPSC counsel provide training as well as pre-charge and general legal advice and support to IMET teams. They may also support or participate in prosecutions of IMET cases. In 2010-2011, PPSC counsel, in their role as legal advisors to the IMETs, were consulted on 33 investigations.
The PPSC has concurrent jurisdiction to prosecute fraud charges under the Criminal Code. When a fraud charge is laid following an IMET investigation, the attorney general of the province in which the charge is laid has the right of first refusal to prosecute the offence. Where provinces, in the exercise of first refusal, choose not to assume responsibility for a case, the PPSC may assume carriage of the prosecution.
In 2010-2011, PPSC prosecutors were involved in two significant IMET-related prosecutions: a PPSC prosecutor was co-counsel in the prosecution of Vincent Lacroix, former president of the Norbourg investment firm, and his five associates, and a PPSC team conducted the prosecution of six corporate officers and executives of Royal Group Technologies, who were acquitted.
Charges were also laid during 2010-2011 in four other alleged capital market fraud investigations in British Columbia, Quebec, and Nova Scotia. Those matters are currently before the courts, and the PPSC has carriage of three of the prosecutions (one is being prosecuted by the British Columbia Attorney General).
In 2010-2011, the PPSC continued implementing the recommendations of the Le Pan Report, taking steps to reduce delays and improve information sharing, including developing internal business rules. The PPSC also participated extensively in the evaluation of the IMET initiative conducted by Public Safety Canada, which began in 2009 and was completed in 2010. The PPSC began work on implementing the recommendations, particularly as they relate to the timeliness of investigations and prosecutions and to ongoing training needs.
The PPSC worked with Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions throughout the investigation and prosecution of Vincent Lacroix, former president of the Norbourg investment firm, and his five associates.
The PPSC provided advice to investigators throughout the investigation, which involved very complex and elaborate accounting systems and required a substantial investment of time. The prosecution was co-conducted by a prosecutor from the office of Quebec’s Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions and a prosecutor from the PPSC’s Quebec Regional Office.
Mr. Lacroix entered a guilty plea in 2009 and received a 13-year sentence. The trial of the five other accused ended in a mistrial in January 2010, as the jury was unable to reach a verdict. Following a retrial of that case, two of the remaining five accused were convicted of fraud and forgery-related offences on March 7, 2011. Two others were acquitted, and a mistrial was declared regarding the fifth accused, the jury being unable to reach a verdict. The two accused who were convicted are in custody and are expected to be sentenced in June 2011.
Competition Law Section
The PPSC handles prosecutions under the Competition Act as well as the Consumer Packaging and Labelling Act, the Textile Labelling Act, and the Precious Metals Marking Act. These statutes are administered and enforced by the Commissioner of Competition, who oversees the Competition Bureau. The PPSC also provides legal advice at the investigative stage on Bureau files that may lead to prosecutions.
In 2010-2011, the Section advised on 60 investigations and conducted 19 prosecutions, appeals and related proceedings, primarily related to alleged violations of the Competition Act. PPSC counsel also represented the Commissioner in her defence of a constitutional challenge of s.11 of the Competition Act.
In 2010, the Commissioner and the DPP entered into a memorandum of understanding that sets out each organization’s roles and responsibilities at the investigative and prosecution stages of a case.
The PPSC prosecutes a wide range of offences aimed at protecting the welfare of the public and the environment. They include offences under statutes such as the Canadian Environmental Protection Act and the Migratory Birds Convention Act.
In 2010, Syncrude Canada Ltd. was found guilty of offences under Alberta provincial legislation and the federal Migratory Birds Convention Act arising out of the deaths of 1,600 ducks in a Syncrude tailings pond. The Court imposed a sentence reflecting a plea negotiated between the Crown and the defence and consisting of a global penalty of $3,000,000 which included fines of $800,000 and another $2,200,000 for a variety of initiatives designed to benefit migratory and shorebirds in Alberta.
Corruption of Foreign Public Officials
The PPSC is responsible for the prosecution of offences under the Corruption of Foreign Public Officials Act (CFPOA). The PPSC also provides pre-charge advice to the two RCMP units dedicated full-time to the investigation of alleged offences under the CFPOA.
The CFPOA was enacted to implement the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions, which was signed by Canada in 1997. The Convention carries with it a robust and ongoing evaluation regime for signatory countries. The PPSC played a central role as part of the team representing Canada before the OECD during the phase 3 evaluation process.
There is currently one ongoing CFPOA prosecution, and pre-charge advice is being provided to the RCMP on a number of ongoing investigations.
Nuclear Safety and Security
The PPSC undertook a prosecution in connection with an attempt to bypass sanctions imposed by the United Nations on Iran.
On March 4, 2009, Mahmoud Yadegari attempted to export restricted pressure transducers from Toronto to Iran. Mr. Yadegari had not obtained the required permits under the United Nations Act, the Export and Import Permits Act, and the Nuclear Safety and Control Act. In April 2009, he was charged with offences under those acts as well as the Customs Act and the Criminal Code. Mr. Yadegari was tried in the Ontario Court of Justice in the spring of 2010. He was convicted of nine offences and sentenced to 20 months in jail in addition to 15½ months of pre-sentence custody.
Canada Labour Code Offences
The PPSC prosecutes Canada Labour Code offences following investigations conducted by health and safety officers of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada regarding the protection of workers employed in the operation of federal works, undertakings, and businesses.
In October 2009, a boiler at a plant that heats many downtown Ottawa buildings, including Parliament Hill, exploded, killing an engineer working at the plant. After an investigation, the Minister of Human Resources and Skills Development Canada approved the laying of charges under the Canada Labour Code against Public Works and Government Services Canada. The PPSC has carriage of this prosecution, which will continue into 2011-2012.
In July 2009, an employee of Fraser River Pile and Dredge (GP) Inc. was killed while working on the Dredge “
Sceptre Columbia” in the waters of the Fraser River in British Columbia. The employer was charged with contravening the safety provisions of the Canada Labour Code. Fraser River Pile and Dredge (GP) Inc. pleaded guilty to an offence under the Canada Labour Code and was convicted and fined $140,000.
In 2010-2011, the PPSC conducted one prosecution under the Statistics Act related to the 2006 Census. R. v. Sandra Finley involved a charge under section 31 of the Act for failure to fill out and submit the long census form. Ms. Finley challenged the constitutional validity of section 31 on the grounds that it violated her constitutional rights. The Provincial Court of Saskatchewan dismissed Ms. Finley’s challenge and found her guilty of the offence. Ms. Finley has appealed her conviction and the appeal is pending before the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench.
In 2010-2011, the PPSC handled 2,189 files dealing with fisheries-related offences. These prosecutions stem from investigations undertaken by Fisheries and Oceans Canada in respect of its mandate to manage Canada’s fisheries.
Some fisheries-related prosecutions across Canada were defended on the basis of an assertion of an Aboriginal or Métis right to fish or a challenge to the regulation of Aboriginal fishing by Fisheries and Oceans Canada. R. v. Vautour involved a determination of whether an historic Métis community existed within a certain area of New Brunswick. The New Brunswick Provincial Court determined that the accused had not established that such a community existed, or that the accused had a constitutionally protected right to fish.
In R. v. Armstrong et al., the Supreme Court of British Columbia dismissed the appeals of the convictions of 45 commercial fishers who had participated in a protest fishery. The defence to the prosecution was a claim that the federal government was failing to enforce the Fisheries Act against Aboriginal fishers. The appeal was dismissed on the basis that the evidence did not support a finding that there has been a dispensation of the law against Aboriginal fishers.
The PPSC retains the services of agents (private-sector lawyers) to conduct prosecutions on behalf of the Federal Crown where it does not have a regional office or where it is impractical or otherwise not cost-effective for staff counsel to handle cases. In 2010-2011, approximately 41,000 files of the total PPSC caseload were handled by agents. Of these, approximately 22,500 were new files and 18,500 were carried over from previous years.
The Agent Affairs Program (AAP) looks after the management of agents. Its objective is to ensure that agents provide quality legal services at a reasonable cost. Each regional office of the PPSC (with the exception of the Northern regional offices) has an Agent Supervision Unit to handle the day-to-day supervision of agents and to support them in their work.
As part of its management control framework, the AAP uses modern audit techniques, such as risk management, for agent file review. Benchmarks have been developed for a number of case profiles under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Fisheries Act, the Income Tax Act, and other federal statutes.
In 2008-2009, the PPSC introduced a regime of fixed-term agreements for agents, replacing indeterminate appointments. Under the new regime, any law firm or lawyer interested in becoming an agent can apply for a five-year term when an opening occurs. The selection of agents is done pursuant to a competitive process.
The PPSC’s transition to fixed-term agreements is progressing in accordance with a five-year plan. In 2010-2011, 71 fixed-term agreements were entered into with agents — a combination of incumbents as well as new private-sector lawyers and firms. As of March 31, 2011, the PPSC had retained the services of 535 agents from 224 law firms.
Crown Witness Coordinators
The PPSC employs 12 Crown Witness Coordinators (CWCs) in its three Northern offices. They help explain to victims and witnesses how the court process works and support them throughout their involvement with the criminal justice system. A Northern Victim Services Coordinator (NVSC), based in Ottawa, provides liaison, coordination, program development, and advisory services.
During 2010-2011, the NVSC organized and facilitated a two-day training session for the CWCs. The training included a presentation by and discussion with the Federal Ombudsman for Victims of Crime. CWCs also participated in workshops on vicarious trauma, personal safety and preparedness, Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, victim registration, and risk assessment.
Over the past year, CWCs have participated in various training and speaking engagements throughout the country. One CWC sat on a panel at the Department of Justice Knowledge Exchange Conference on Child Advocacy and discussed the realities of working within a court-based program and preparing witnesses of violent crime to testify. Another CWC participated in a panel at the 4th International Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Conference in Vancouver, and a third made a presentation at the Northern Law and Policy Symposium in Yellowknife.
The PPSC is responsible for administering the National Fine Recovery Program under the terms of an assignment issued by the Attorney General of Canada in 2007. The Program recovers outstanding court-ordered fines under federal statutes through the efforts of eight fine recovery units, located in PPSC regional offices.
Outstanding fines are recovered through various types of intervention, including an initial demand letter, telephone contacts, set-off of income tax refunds and GST/HST credits, payment negotiations, seizure of assets, registration of liens on property, and income garnishment.
In 2010-2011, the Program focussed its efforts on reducing the large number of small fines outstanding. The Program recovered over $5 million in fines. Although this represents a decrease of 15% from the previous year, 95% of the fines collected were in the $5,000 range and over 1,600 files were closed. Some 150 individuals were incarcerated for refusing to pay their fines despite their ability to pay. Since the Program was first established in late 2002, over $56 million in fines has been recovered.
On July 1, 2008, the PPSC entered into an agreement with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) to allow the PPSC to recover offenders’ outstanding fines by way of set-off against the offenders’ income tax refunds and GST/HST credits. In 2010-2011, this agreement resulted in the recovery of $896,000, an increase of over 11% compared to the previous year’s recovery of $808,000.
More than 6,000 fines (out of a total of 22,379 outstanding fines), with almost $22 million outstanding, are now registered with the CRA’s set-off program, an increase of 20% over last year.
The PPSC’s national legal committees provide advice and guidance on matters of law and policy for all regions of Canada. This national perspective helps to ensure that federal prosecutors apply the law consistently throughout the country and that Canadians everywhere are treated equitably.
National Litigation Committee and Supreme Court of Canada Litigation
The National Litigation Committee advises the DPP on questions of law in the context of litigation, especially in the Supreme Court of Canada. This involves making recommendations to the DPP on the approval of applications for leave to appeal and factums in the Supreme Court, the filing of interventions in the DPP’s name, and, on occasion, the provision of legal advice on other litigation issues.
The Committee considered 10 appeals in 2010-2011, all in the Supreme Court of Canada.
During 2010-2011, PPSC prosecutors appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada on six cases: three appeals, two interventions and one oral hearing on a leave application.
National Prosecution Policy Committee
The National Prosecution Policy Committee is composed of senior prosecutors from across the PPSC. The Committee serves as a senior advisory body on matters that affect the PPSC nationally and that are not related to any specific ongoing investigation, prosecution, appeal or intervention. The Committee’s purpose is: a) to promote and ensure consistency and quality in PPSC legal advice, policy development and prosecution practices; and b) to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge across the PPSC.
More specifically, the National Prosecution Policy Committee:
- reviews proposed confidential advice directives to federal prosecutors and makes recommendations to the Deputy DPPs and the DPP about such directives;
- examines legal issues when its views are sought but where a formal practice directive may not be required;
- considers and recommends revisions to the FPS Deskbook;
- monitors emerging trends in federal prosecution practice and makes recommendations as to how the PPSC should adjust to such trends; and
- provides a forum for resolution of divergent views on legal issues so as to ensure consistency in arguments advanced by Crown counsel or agents on behalf of the DPP.
During 2010-2011, following recommendations from the Committee, the DPP issued seven confidential practice directives.
Major Case Advisory Committee
The Major Case Advisory Committee is composed of senior PPSC prosecutors with expertise in major prosecutions from offices across Canada. It considers prosecution plans submitted for major and complex prosecutions, and makes recommendations to the responsible Deputy DPP. The Committee examined five such plans in 2010-2011.
PPSC National Awards
The PPSC recognizes merit at both the national and local levels. There are three national awards:
- the Excellence Award, which recognizes exceptional performance and professionalism;
- the Leadership Award, which recognizes leadership in inspiring excellence, professionalism and ethical behaviour; and
- the Team Achievement Award, which recognizes exceptional performance and contributions beyond normal expectations for a team or group.
There are two types of local awards: the Merit Award and the Immediate Recognition Award. Local awards allow managers to recognize employees who have exceeded normal performance expectations.
Recipients of the 2010 PPSC National Awards were as follows:
Elisapee Angnatisiak - Nunavut Regional Office
Ms. Angnatisiak, a Crown Witness Coordinator, received the award for her remarkable attentiveness and sensitivity to the needs of others. Her award citation also noted her tireless work to help bridge the gap between Inuit and non-Inuit.
Jyoti Grewal - Human Resources Directorate
Ms. Grewal, Manager of Career and Leadership Development, received the award for her demonstrated dedication to the PPSC and her strong commitment to promoting and encouraging a workplace that is diverse and free from discrimination.
Team Achievement Award
Project Osage Team - Ontario Regional Office
Geoffrey Roy, Clyde Bond, Croft Michaelson, Jason Wakely, Marco Mendicino, Giannice Lund, Iona Jaffe, and Sarah Shaikh
The award recognized the team’s contribution to the prosecution of a number of terrorism cases, as well as their contribution to promoting public trust in the administration of criminal justice. Team members demonstrated exceptional commitment and dedication to the ideals of justice throughout a series of high-profile prosecutions, and dealt with highly complex and unprecedented legal issues.
Project Osage was an RCMP investigation into the activities of a group in the Toronto area who were planning to commit terrorist acts in Canada. The investigation culminated in June 2006 with the arrest of 18 people. The accused had initially conspired together, but later splintered into two separate groups. One group (led by Zakaria Amara) planned to detonate large ammonium nitrate-based bombs in three separate locations across the Toronto area. The other group (led by Fahim Ahmad) attempted to acquire firearms and paramilitary training for its members with the intention of eventually attacking certain government targets, including Parliament.
The Crown proceeded with charges against ten of the adult accused and one young person. All eleven were convicted. The young person was convicted after trial in 2009. Six of the adult accused pleaded guilty. Two separate trials were conducted in 2010 for the remaining adult accused. Shareef Abdelhaleem, a member of Mr. Amara’s bomb plot, was convicted after a judge-alone trial and sentenced to life imprisonment. Mr. Ahmad, Steven Vikash Chand, and Asad Ansari were tried before a jury. Mr. Ahmad changed his plea to guilty midway through the trial. Mr. Chand and Mr. Ansari were convicted by the jury.
In December 2010, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on three sentence appeals arising out of the prosecution. The Court affirmed the life sentence imposed on Mr. Amara and allowed the Crown’s appeals in respect of Saad Khalid and Saad Gaya, increasing their sentences to 20 and 18 years, respectively.
R. v. Munyaneza Prosecution Team - Quebec Regional Office
Pascale Ledoux, Lyne Champagne, Alexis Gauthier, Rita Haddad, Hélène Lecavalier, France Rousseau, and Richard Roy
The award recognized the team’s prosecution of Canada’s first modern war crimes case. The prosecutors worked long hours throughout, including conducting rogatory commissions overseas, in order to prosecute the case.
FPT National Prosecution Awards
Every year, the Federal-Provincial-Territorial (FPT) Heads of Prosecutions Committee recognizes prosecutors through the National Prosecution Awards. In 2010-2011, the Committee presented one of its awards to a PPSC employee.
Ms. Sandra T. Thomas, prosecutor in the Ontario Regional Office, was awarded the Committee’s 2010 Humanitarian Award. Ms. Thomas was recognized for her commitment as a prosecutor and her exemplary record of outstanding involvement and dedication to community issues and needs. The award citation noted her work as a staunch advocate for inclusiveness of minorities and women in the legal profession, as well as her work in funding numerous educational scholarships to help provide the means for access to the legal profession.
The PPSC continues to focus on encouraging employee development, ensuring that employees follow and understand their career path and are able to develop the competencies required to perform their work.
In 2010-2011, the PPSC concentrated on initiatives that promote continuous learning and development to strengthen performance and leadership skills. This included ensuring certain mandatory training requirements were met, promoting mentoring throughout the organization, and ensuring all employees had learning plans.
School for Prosecutors
The PPSC School for Prosecutors offers annual in-house training aimed at promoting professional development relevant to the prosecution function.
In 2010, the School conducted two intensive one-week courses — one fundamental, the other advanced — each covering a number of topics, for over 135 lawyers.
More than 45 faculty members, the majority of whom were drawn from the senior ranks of the PPSC, delivered the training. The faculty also included external speakers, including members of the judiciary, university professors, defence counsel, senior provincial prosecutors, and a senior police investigator.
Core elements of the Prosecution Fundamentals course — designed for counsel with less than five years of criminal law experience — included topics such as the role of the prosecutor, trial advocacy, wiretap issues, search and seizure, informer privilege, expert evidence, disclosure issues, proceeds of crime, regulatory offences, and preventing miscarriages of justice.
The Advanced Issues for Prosecutors course was comprised of two separate components.
The first covered complex wiretap issues and was developed for senior prosecutors either seeking to attain or maintain a wiretap designation or for those who may be expected to work on wiretap files in future.
The second, a two-and-a-half-day workshop on written advocacy, was developed to help prosecutors improve their factum-writing skills. It consisted of plenary presentations, small group workshops, and individual meetings. The small group workshops were led by a professional writing instructor assisted by a judge or experienced lawyer.
In addition to the formal instruction provided in a classroom setting, the School program served as a forum for prosecutors to meet, share work experiences, and develop mentoring relationships.
National Training Conference 2011
The second PPSC National Training Conference, Adapting Federal Prosecutions Practice to Technology Changes, took place in Calgary from March 21 to 24, 2011. It brought together more than 185 participants from across the country.
The training, which included sessions on electronic case management, knowledge sharing, and technology, helped to develop a greater understanding of the technological issues facing Crown prosecutors. Conference sessions also addressed many other issues related to the conduct of prosecutions.
The PPSC maintained contact with key national stakeholders involved in the criminal justice field throughout the year.
The PPSC discussed issues of mutual interest with the Executive of the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
PPSC prosecutors continued to provide training to the RCMP and other police forces on search and seizure issues, wiretap law, and disclosure obligations. With the aim of contributing the prosecution viewpoint to police training, a PPSC prosecutor has been seconded to the Canadian Police College since 2004.
FPT Heads of Prosecutions Committee
The Federal-Provincial-Territorial Heads of Prosecutions Committee brings together the leaders of Canada’s prosecution services to promote assistance and cooperation on operational issues. The DPP is permanent co-chair of the Committee and the PPSC acts as its secretariat.
The Committee held two meetings in 2010. The first was organized jointly with the Public Prosecution Service of Nova Scotia in Halifax, in April, 2010. The second was organized with the Public Prosecutions Division of the Ministry of the Attorney General of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon, in October, 2010. The PPSC also organized several meetings and teleconferences of subcommittees and working groups of the Committee.
United Nations-Sponsored Activities
In 2010-2011, PPSC counsel made presentations at several terrorism-related workshops organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. In May 2010, counsel participated in a workshop in St. Vincent and the Grenadines which focused on terrorist financing. In July and August, counsel made a presentation at an anti-terrorism workshop in Jamaica, and in October, PPSC counsel participated in a workshop in Columbia dealing with the use of the Internet for terrorist purposes. In December 2010, counsel made a presentation at a Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate Workshop for counter-terrorism prosecutors at the United Nations (UN) in New York City.
In March 2011, PPSC counsel made presentations to a UN-sponsored criminal law workshop in Nigeria. The workshop dealt with the global framework against the financing of terrorism and financial crimes. In August 2010, PPSC counsel made a presentation at a similar workshop in Trinidad and Tobago.
Also in March 2011, the PPSC attended briefing sessions and prepared briefing materials for the Canadian delegation to the 20th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in Vienna, Austria, on the use and implementation of UN standards and norms in crime prevention and criminal justice, and on the dissemination and implementation in member states of the Standards of Professional Responsibility and Statement of the Essential Duties and Rights of Prosecutors.
International Association of Prosecutors
The International Association of Prosecutors (IAP) is a non-governmental and non-political organization. It promotes the effective, fair, impartial, and efficient prosecution of criminal offences through high standards and principles, including procedures to prevent or address miscarriages of justice. It assists prosecutors internationally in the fight against organized or other serious crime, and fosters measures for the elimination of corruption in public administration.
The PPSC has a representative on the development board of the Global Prosecutors E-Crime Network (GPEN), a web-based platform launched by the IAP for specialist e-crime prosecutors that provides access to a library of documentary and training resources. The GPEN site offers cybercrime prosecutors, a contacts database, a discussion forum, and a virtual library and training materials. The PPSC representative on the development board prepared a regional reporting template which will enable the site to maintain a list of national legislative and regulatory instruments and enforcement bodies for each country represented in the IAP. The PPSC also produced a French version of the GPEN information leaflet.
The PPSC has a representative on the board of the Association internationale des procureurs et poursuivants francophones, a sister organization of the IAP.
The PPSC participated in the first North American and Caribbean Regional Conference of the IAP in Bermuda November 17-19, 2010, during which the DPP spoke as a member of a panel on Organized Crime and Money Laundering in one of the Plenary Sessions.
Foreign Prosecution Services
In 2010-2011, the PPSC hosted a delegation of interns from Latin American countries seeking to learn more about Canada’s legal system. The delegates spent three weeks with PPSC mentors in the National Capital Regional Office and the Quebec Regional Office, and also attended presentations at the PPSC’s Headquarters in Ottawa.
Also, two prosecutors from Mexico and a prosecutor from France attended the PPSC’s School for Prosecutors. At that time, the PPSC arranged meetings for the Mexican prosecutors with Canadian judges, defence counsel, RCMP and City of Ottawa police officers, as well as various Crown counsel.
In November 2010, and again in March 2011, PPSC prosecutors conducted training sessions in Mexico as part of the Harmonization of Criminal Legislation and Strengthening of Prosecutions in Mexico Project. The training sessions dealt with professionalism, ethics, transparency, accountability, and fairness in prosecutorial decision-making, the work of the prosecutor, and oral advocacy skills. It also covered a number of trial-related process issues. A Canadian judge also participated and provided valuable daily “
views from the bench” on the topics covered. The participants included 60 prosecutors from five Mexican states: Campache, Yucatán, Tabasco, Chiapas and Quintana Roo.
The PPSC’s British Columbia Regional Office (BCRO) continued to support the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform Policy and Criminal Justice Policy (ICCLR) in its “
China Programme” by meeting with senior justice officials from the People’s Republic of China in May 2010 and providing information on issues such as training and development and anti-corruption. The BCRO has worked with the ICCLR for several years on this project.
In September 2010, a PPSC prosecutor from the BCRO was appointed as one of five Commissioners on a Commission of Inquiry into the killings of prisoners that occurred on January 19, 2010, in Les Cayes Prison, Haiti. The Commission was created by the United Nations and the Government of Haiti with the mandate to investigate and report on allegations of serious human rights violations resulting from the killings. The Commissioners submitted a final report to the Special Representative to the UN in Haiti and to the President of Haiti, which provided detailed recommendations on reforms to the Haitian justice and corrections system.
In November 2010, the BCRO collaborated with the Department of Justice Canada in its work with the Attorney General of the Palestinian Authority by undertaking a review of the prosecution service and providing recommendations for reform. The mission involved meeting with a wide range of Palestinian justice officials, including judges, focusing on the management challenges in the operation of a prosecution service.
Strategic Planning and Performance Management
The Strategic Planning and Performance Management Division is responsible for corporate-level strategic and business planning, performance management and reporting, central agency liaison, as well as research and evaluation.
The Division is responsible for coordinating the preparation of the PPSC’s annual estimates reports to Parliament (Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report). The production of these reports is one of the PPSC’s key planning and reporting obligations.
The Division also coordinates the PPSC’s participation in the annual Management Accountability Framework (MAF) assessment process. The MAF process helps federal departments and agencies measure how well they meet Treasury Board’s expectations for good public service management. In 2010-2011, the PPSC’s assessment was positive overall and indicated that the PPSC’s management capacity was improving. The PPSC is moving forward with a MAF action plan focused on increasing its capacity in management processes and structures.
In 2010-2011, the Division directed the PPSC’s participation in the Treasury Board-mandated evaluations of three horizontal initiatives: the Anti-Money Laundering/Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime, the Integrated Proceeds of Crime initiative, and the National Fine Recovery Program component of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy.
The Division also drafted a Research and Evaluation Framework which includes a research and evaluation plan to track mandatory research, evaluation, and performance reporting requirements, and to prioritize discretionary activities.
The Human Resources Directorate is responsible for leadership and direction in human resources management. During 2010-2011, the Directorate continued to focus on its People Management Strategic Plan (2009-2014). The plan supports the PPSC’s ongoing efforts to attract and retain talent to ensure a vibrant, knowledgeable, and engaged workforce.
In July 2010, Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat and the Association of Justice Counsel (representing the Law (LA) occupational group) signed their first collective agreement. While this represents a significant shift in the way members of this group are managed, both managers and employees understand their new roles within a unionized environment and are adjusting well.
On December 9, 2010, the Law Management (LC) occupational group was introduced for those in excluded management positions. Lawyer-managers are now subject to the same terms and conditions of employment as those in the Executive (EX) Group in the federal public service.
The PPSC faced recruitment challenges over the course of the year in certain regions as a result of labour-market gaps and financial constraints. Nonetheless, the PPSC launched aggressive recruitment activities focused on staffing prosecutor positions, primarily in the Northern regions. The campaigns were successful, and several appointments were made.
Finance and Acquisitions
The Finance and Acquisitions Directorate provides leadership and direction in resource management, accounting operations, and acquisition management. In 2010-2011, in addition to its ongoing commitments, the Directorate:
- implemented procurement requirements to ensure that the PPSC meets its legal obligations in relation to Comprehensive Land Claim Agreements, primarily in its Northern offices;
- took over responsibility for account verification and materiel management, which had been handled previously by the Department of Justice Canada;
- developed a succession plan for key positions;
- rolled out the government-wide expenditure management tool; and
- implemented changes to the chart of accounts and the salary forecast system.
Information Management and Technology
The Information Management and Technology Directorate is responsible for the planning, management, and delivery of library, information management, information technology, and application services to PPSC staff across the country.
During 2010-2011, the PPSC refreshed its technology and systems in accordance with its technology renewal plan. Additionally, staff from the Law Practice Management and Information Technology directorates implemented a Knowledge Management system to facilitate the collection and sharing of legal information and knowledge throughout the organization.
Ministerial and External Relations
The Ministerial and External Relations Secretariat (MERS) is responsible for Cabinet and parliamentary affairs, ministerial liaison, correspondence, relations with external groups, and access to information and privacy.
MERS responds to requests for information on PPSC activities, including questions placed on the Order Paper of the House of Commons and Senate and incoming correspondence. It coordinates the appearances of PPSC officials before parliamentary committees, as well as PPSC meetings with external stakeholders, such as the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office is responsible for the application of access to information and privacy legislation in the PPSC. The ATIP Office ensures that the PPSC complies with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. The ATIP Office saw its workload increase considerably during the year, as almost twice as many access to information requests were received during 2010-2011 as in 2009-2010. The ATIP Office also carried out training and education activities to raise awareness and to educate management and employees about their roles and responsibilities under these Acts. The ATIP Office also completed an assessment of the organization’s overall compliance with the Privacy Act and related regulations and policies.
During 2010-2011, the ATIP Office prepared the PPSC’s annual reports on the administration of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act for tabling in Parliament. The publications can be found on the PPSC’s Internet site.
The Administration Services Division is responsible for the delivery of national programs and services in the areas of Security, Accommodations, Conflict Management, and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). Key activities undertaken during the year included:
- continued work for the planning and implementation of several regional office fit-ups and relocations (principally Edmonton, Yellowknife, and St. John’s) and for the establishment of a consolidated Headquarters facility in the National Capital Region;
- national coordination of conflict management and conflict resolution;
- the entrenchment of various program components and activities in security, including the provision of a wide range of security services within the PPSC; and
- the national coordination of the Occupational Health and Safety program and the provision of information, functional direction, and advice on legislative, administrative, and technical OHS matters.
The Office of the Corporate Counsel (OCC) provides advice to the DPP and to PPSC management on administrative and public law matters, risk management, values and ethics, and conflicts of interest. In addition, the OCC is involved in the provision of advisory services in areas pertaining to management issues.
In 2010-2011, the OCC provided advice on the proposed new federal Code on Values and Ethics, political activities, and conducted extensive research that will ultimately lead to the implementation of a Code of Conduct for the PPSC. The OCC also monitored and followed up on issues related to the Memorandum of Understanding on Corporate Services with the Department of Justice. The OCC provided direct support to the development of a report on risk management activities in the PPSC.
The PPSC has a responsibility to communicate to the public and the media, as outlined in the Director of Public Prosecutions Act.
The Communications Division provides communications products, services, and advice to PPSC managers, regional offices, and functional areas. It is also responsible for internal communications products and services and for publishing the PPSC intranet and internal communications vehicles.
The Division provides strategic communications advice, media relations and monitoring, and Web publishing. It is also responsible for the application of federal identity standards within the PPSC, for reporting on advertising activities, and for producing the PPSC Annual Report.
In 2010-2011, the Communications Division worked on major internal and external communications projects, including a Northern recruitment initiative and substantial additions to the PPSC Web site and the intranet site in the area of Human Resources.
The Internal Audit Division (IAD) assesses the effectiveness of the PPSC’s processes and makes recommendations to ensure that the PPSC achieves its objectives. The IAD works with the Departmental Audit Committee (DAC) to provide objective advice and recommendations to the DPP regarding the sufficiency, quality and results of the organization’s risk management, control, and governance frameworks and processes.
In 2010-2011, the PPSC published its first audit report, on the topic of Account Verification. The IAD visited seven regional offices in the course of its work to examine and assess business processes and transactions and look for opportunities for improvement.
The DAC, which is chaired by the DPP, held four meetings during the year and reviewed a number of audit-related issues, as well as issues such as values and ethics, risk management, governance, financial reporting, privacy, information technology, program evaluation and research, and corporate planning.
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