2 The Year in Review
In 2011-2012, the PPSC worked on 78,698 files. This figure includes 48,140 files opened during the year, as well as 30,558 carried over from previous years. A file typically consists of an information or an indictment and may include more than one charge, involve more than one accused, and include charges under multiple acts. These numbers include all files worked on by PPSC prosecutors and paralegals as well as legal agents.
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 federal offences in the three Northern territories, including Criminal Code offences; and
- economic crime and offences under federal regulatory legislation.
New Files and Carried-Over Files over the Past Four Years
Number of “Low” and “Moderate” Complexity Files over the Past Four Years
Number of “High” and “Mega” Complexity Files over the Past Four Years
Drug prosecution files represent a significant proportion of the PPSC’s total caseload. In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 58,972 prosecution files related to offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Of those, 34,619 files were new and 24,353 were carried over from previous years. 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 large quantities of cocaine or to manufacture methamphetamine for the purpose of exporting it.
PPSC prosecutors are often engaged early in an investigation to ensure that investigators receive timely advice on the techniques they are using and that the evidence is gathered in a manner that complies with the Canadian Charter of Rights of Freedoms and the laws of evidence.
Cases targeting criminal organizations have increased, largely as a result of police forces focusing more of their efforts on investigations of such organizations. Trafficking in drugs is one of the key activities of most organized crime groups.
Drug prosecutions can be extremely complex and time-consuming. In recent times, prosecutions that would once have been relatively straightforward have been prolonged as a result of the accused bringing motions focusing on such issues as the legality of the investigation, the constitutionality of the legislation or of the investigation, disclosure, allegations of abuse of process by the police or Crown prosecutors, and unreasonable delay.
High-complexity drug cases require a significant amount of PPSC resources. While such cases represented only 2.24% of staff counsel’s drug caseload in 2011-2012, they took up 36.02% of the litigation time dedicated to drug prosecutions.
Drug offences are frequently revenue-generating crimes, and thus continue to represent the majority of offences that lead to the forfeiture of proceeds of crime and of the property used to commit the crime (“offence-related property”). In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 1,803 cases involving either proceeds of crime or offence-related property (1,175 were carried over from previous years, and 628 were new). The proceeds or property at issue ranged from the money used to buy drugs from an undercover officer to real estate bought with proceeds of crime or used to produce drugs. A total of $41.3 million of proceeds of crime and offence-related property was forfeited during 2011-2012.
Addiction-motivated crime presents particular challenges. To try to reduce the revolving door of crime committed to feed addiction, there are six federally-funded Drug Treatment Courts in Canada: in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, and Ottawa. As well, there are a number of community-funded Drug Treatment Courts, such as those found in Calgary, Kitchener, and Durham. These courts focus on the supervised treatment of an offender. Prosecutors work with judges, defence counsel, treatment providers, and others 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 federally-funded 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. A PPSC prosecutor also works alongside the provincial prosecutor in the Calgary Drug Treatment Court.
The PPSC has concurrent jurisdiction with provincial prosecution services to prosecute terrorism offences. To date, the PPSC has concluded proceedings for four prosecutions under the anti-terrorism provisions of the Criminal Code: R. v. Namouh in Quebec, R. v. Khawaja in Ontario, charges stemming from Project Osage, also in Ontario, and R. v. Thambithurai in British Columbia. Convictions were entered in all four proceedings, and appeals are outstanding in R. v. Namouh, R. v. Khawaja, and six of the prosecutions arising from Project Osage.
At the time of publication, two additional terrorism-related prosecutions were ongoing. In August 2010, charges were laid against three individuals in Ottawa stemming from Project Samossa. In March 2011, charges were laid in R. v. Hersi in Brampton, Ontario. As of March 31, 2012, a trial date had not yet been set for either of these matters.
There has also been a case of counter-proliferation, R. v. Yadegari, which was prosecuted in Ontario. Mahmoud Yadegari was convicted of offences under the Customs Act, the United Nations Act, the Export and Import Permits Act, the Nuclear Safety and Control Act, and the Criminal Code.
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 for 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 was filed, but has not yet been heard.
A second case is ongoing. R. v. Mungwarere concerns a Rwandan national who was residing in Windsor, Ontario in 2009 and was charged with genocide and crimes against humanity. As of March 31, 2012, the trial was underway.
Security of Information
The prosecution of Jeffrey Paul Delisle for an alleged contravention of the Security of Information Act is underway in Halifax, Nova Scotia. As of March 31, 2012, a trial date had not yet been set.
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 2011-2012, the PPSC was responsible for 9,236 files in the territories, of which 8,480 involved Criminal Code offences. Of those files, 7,610 were new, and 1,626 were carried over from previous years. Northern prosecutions also included 518 drug offences, 219 regulatory offences, and 248 territorial offences. Some files involved multiple offences. Of the Criminal Code files, 28 were homicide files.
Regulatory and Economic Prosecutions
The PPSC provides prosecution services related to legislation 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 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 9,348 files involving regulatory and economic offences, of which 4,248 were carried over from previous years. Approximately $10 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 the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, as well as fraud offences related to and uncovered during the bankruptcy and insolvency process. In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 243 files involving offences under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act. For example, in the case of R. v. Elmore, the Superintendent of Bankruptcy referred a matter to the RCMP for investigation based upon wrongdoings uncovered by the Trustee. Mr. Elmore, who presented himself as a financial advisor, accepted money from his clients and friends, which he said he was investing in Guaranteed Investment Certificates at TD Canada Trust. Instead, without their consent or knowledge, he used their money to purchase risky stocks. He lost $2.9 million of his investors’ funds and had no ability to repay them. He was convicted of offences under the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act and related fraud and theft offences under the Criminal Code. He was sentenced to six years of incarceration and ordered to make restitution.
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 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 135 such files, 72 of which were carried over from previous years.
A number of cases prosecuted by the PPSC in 2011-2012 involved workplace deaths. For example, in October 2009, an engineer died in a boiler explosion at an Ottawa plant. Charges were laid against Public Works and Government Services Canada, and the prosecution is ongoing. In 2009, an airplane de-icer working for Servisair died of a fall from an open cherry picker bucket. The company was acquitted at trial. In 2010, an independent contractor died in an excavator that fell from a railway flat car near Thunder Bay. Canadian Pacific Railway pleaded guilty under the Canada Labour Code to failing to inform him of foreseeable dangers in the workplace.
In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 227 files involving census-related offences under the Statistics Act. Following the conclusion of the 2011 Census of Population, 16 charges were laid against individuals under the Statistics Act for refusing to answer questions on the Census of Population questionnaire. These charges are being prosecuted by the PPSC.
In 2010-2011, the PPSC prosecuted Sandra Finley under section 31 of the Statistics Act in relation to her refusal to answer questions on the 2006 Census of Population long-form questionnaire. Ms. Finley challenged the 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 offences. Ms. Finley appealed her conviction and the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench upheld the lower court’s decision. Ms. Finley has appealed to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. That appeal is pending.
Citizenship and Immigration Offences
The PPSC has carriage of prosecutions related to the fraudulent activities of immigration consultants. In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 479 files related to charges under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) and the Citizenship Act, 185 of which were carried over from previous years.
In the case of R. v. El-Akhal, the RCMP laid approximately 70 charges against Ahmad El-Akhal and Hussam Saïf under IRPA, the Citizenship Act, and the Criminal Code in relation to the selling of addresses of convenience in Ontario to persons living in Jordan who then applied for Canadian citizenship or a renewal of their permanent residence cards. Mr. El-Akhal and his associates also filed false tax returns for these individuals, claiming child tax benefits and goods and services tax refunds on their behalf. Mr. El-Akhal pleaded guilty to IRPA, Citizenship Act, and fraud offences, and received a three-year jail sentence. He also forfeited to the Crown the sum of $160,000, which had been seized from his residence in Montreal. Mr. Saïf pleaded guilty to the charges against him and received a five-month sentence.
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. The PPSC also provides legal advice at the investigative stage on Competition Bureau files that may lead to prosecutions. In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 70 files dealing with competition law.
Notable proceedings in 2011-2012 included a three-month preliminary hearing in a bid-rigging case relating to contracts to provide information technology services to the federal government and a variety of guilty pleas and other processes involving alleged price-fixing in retail gasoline markets in the province of Quebec.
Corruption of Foreign Public Officials
The PPSC shares with the provinces the responsibility 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 plays a role as part of the team representing Canada before international forums such as the OECD.
In 2011-2012, PPSC prosecutors were responsible for the conduct of a prosecution involving allegations of bribes paid to Indian government officials in order to obtain favorable treatment in the awarding of a contract to provide security software to Air India. The trial is ongoing.
Environmental and Fisheries Offences
The PPSC prosecutes offences aimed at protecting the welfare of the public, wildlife, and the environment under statutes such as the Fisheries Act, the Migratory Birds Convention Act, the National Parks Act and the Wild Animal and Plant Protection and Regulation of International and Interprovincial Trade Act (WAPPRIITA). In 2011-2012, the PPSC handled 8,588 files dealing with offences under the Fisheries Act (3,988 carried over from previous years), and 157 files related to other environmental legislation (65 carried over from previous years).
In a number of prosecutions involving Métis or members of First Nations, the accused have defended themselves on the basis of a Métis or Aboriginal right to fish or a challenge to the regulation of Aboriginal fishing by Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
In 2011, Clark Builders pleaded guilty in Edmonton to one count of depositing a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish under s.36(3) of the Fisheries Act, and was sentenced to pay a fine of $285,000. The charge arose from a discharge of 8-12 million litres of chlorinated water into the North Saskatchewan River.
In R. v. Daeninck and 3774156 MB Ltd., the accused and his company, an aquarium and aquatic supplies dealer, were convicted in the Manitoba Provincial Court of nine counts each of violations of the WAPPRIITA. The charges related to the importation of 9,600 kilograms of coral rock from Indonesia. An expert testified that taking coral directly from reefs would have a devastating impact on the coral reef ecosystem. The accused have not yet been sentenced.
In the case of R. v. Ontario Northland Transportation Commission (ONTC), a train derailment near Englehart, Ontario resulted in the deposit of 200 tonnes of sulphuric acid into Miller Creek, which is a tributary to the Blanche River. The ONTC was found to have failed to properly maintain the track and to take mitigating measures, such as lowering the speed limit or increasing the frequency of inspections. The ONTC entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to a monetary penalty of $60,000 (a $10,000 fine and a $50,000 contribution to the Environmental Damages Fund for fish habitat in the region). The sentence also took into consideration that the ONTC had undertaken to conduct a full audit of its operations, touching upon track condition, management oversight, and capital resources devoted to long-term track integrity.
In December 2011, the town of Ponoka, Alberta, pleaded guilty to a charge under the Fisheries Act related to the release of municipal wastewater into the Battle River. The town was ordered to pay $70,000. Of the penalty, $66,250 was to be paid into the Environmental Damages Fund, to be used for the conservation and protection of fisheries and fish habitat in the Battle River, its tributaries and watershed. The remaining $3,750 was allocated as a fine under the Fisheries Act. The court also ordered a number of public education initiatives for the town.
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 and up-to-date developments in relevant areas of law on an ongoing basis, 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.
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.
The second trial in Norbourg, a high-profile prosecution led by Quebec’s Office of the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions with PPSC support, concluded in 2011-2012. Jean Cholette and Serge Beugré were both found guilty and were sentenced to eight years in jail for frauds committed after September 15, 2004, and six years in jail for frauds committed before September 15, 2004. Mr. Cholette is appealing the sentence and Mr. Beugré is appealing the verdict and the sentence.
The PPSC prosecutes offences under all statutes administered by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), notably the Income Tax Act. Specialized PPSC prosecutors provide advice during the investigative stage, conduct prosecutions throughout Canada, and provide training to investigators.
In 2011-2012, 518 prosecutions were concluded. A total of $3 million in fines was imposed by the courts during this period.
The following files are representative of the PPSC’s tax evasion prosecutions.
Russell Porisky was found guilty by the Supreme Court of British Columbia of tax evasion and counselling. Mr. Porisky conducted business under the name Paradigm Education Group, and gave seminars and sold materials advising others that by structuring their affairs as a “natural person”, they could be exempt from income tax. Mr. Porisky was sentenced to 4.5 years of imprisonment.
Jack Klundert was found guilty by the Ontario Supreme Court of income tax evasion after he did not disclose his income from 1993 to 1997, and did not pay any of the taxes owing on approximately $1.4 million earned in those years. Mr. Klundert argued that his actions were intended to protest what he perceived to be unlawful government action. The Ontario Court of Appeal set aside the sentence of one year imprisonment and substituted it with a one-year conditional sentence.
The Court of Quebec sentenced Jacques Gagné to 42 months imprisonment and a $600,000 fine after his conviction for tax evasion of an equivalent amount.
The PPSC retains the services of private-sector lawyers as agents to conduct prosecutions 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 2011-2012, 41,232 files of the total PPSC caseload were handled by agents. Of these, 22,735 were new files and 18,497 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 of the PPSC’s regional offices (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 federal statutes such as the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, the Fisheries Act, and the Income Tax Act.
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 2011-2012, 42 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, 2012, the PPSC had retained the services of 492 agents from 210 law firms.
Crown Witness Coordinators
Crown Witness Coodinators (CWC) provide court-based support to victims and witnesses in the three territories and are based in the PPSC regional offices in the Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut. Currently 11 CWCs work with about 45 prosecutors in resident and circuit courts. The circuit court schedule takes the CWCs to many small and remote communities, many of which are only accessible by air. The CWCs locate and meet with victims and witnesses, and help them prepare for court appearances. The support and assistance of a CWC often means the difference between getting the evidence appropriately before the court or not.
The CWC annual training took place in January 2012 in Ottawa. The focus of this year’s two-day training session was the development of a strategy for pertinent and useful data collection for the CWC program. As well, a workshop focusing on spousal assault and the cycle of violence and community trauma was presented.
Working as a Crown Witness Coordinator
By Kadla Tagak
My job as a Crown Witness Coordinator has included interpreting for Crown prosecutors, making appointments for victims and preparing them for court, helping to prepare other witnesses, photocopying statements, reading files, contacting the RCMP for additional information, writing memos, referring victims and witnesses to various service providers such as Social Services, helping people fill out victim impact statements, translating those statements for the Crown and the court, making phone calls, and building trust. I have even babysat young children so witnesses and victims could testify.
The largest part of my job, and sometimes the most difficult, is helping my fellow Inuit better understand the justice system. This means building trust between the victim and the prosecutor who will examine him or her on the witness stand. I have often also found myself educating the southern lawyers about our culture to help them do their jobs better.
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 interventions, 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 2011-2012, the Program recovered almost $7.3 million in outstanding fines.
In July 2008, the PPSC entered into an agreement with the CRA to allow the PPSC to recover offenders’ outstanding fines by way of set-off against the offenders’ income tax refunds and tax credits. In 2011-2012, this process permitted the recovery of $982,500, an increase of almost 10% compared to $896,000 collected the previous year.
More than 7,300 fines (out of a total of 20,874 outstanding fines) with almost $29 million owing are now registered with the CRA’s set-off program, an increase of 22% over last year.
In 2011-2012, 3,600 new fines were added to the system, bringing the total of outstanding fines to almost $131 million. Of these fines, 3,200 are less than $5,000. Since the Program was first established in late 2002, over $63 million in fines have been recovered.
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 role of the National Litigation Committee is to advise the DPP on questions of law in the context of litigation, especially in the Supreme Court of Canada.
This involves the making of recommendations to the DPP with respect to the approval of applications for leave to appeal and factums in the Supreme Court, the filing of interventions in the DPP’s name in any Canadian court and, on occasion, the provision of legal advice on other litigation issues.
During 2011-2012, the Committee considered 14 litigation files, 11 in the Supreme Court of Canada and three in lower courts.
During the year, PPSC prosecutors appeared in the Supreme Court of Canada in four cases: one appeal, two interventions and one oral hearing on a leave application.
National Prosecution Policy Committee
The National Prosecution Policy Committee serves as a senior advisory and decision-making body on matters that affect the PPSC nationally and which are not related to a specific ongoing prosecution, investigation, appeal, or intervention. The Committee’s purpose is to promote and ensure consistency and quality in PPSC legal advice, policy development, and prosecution practices, and to contribute to the dissemination of knowledge across the PPSC.
The Committee reviews proposed confidential advice directives to federal prosecutors and other legal issues, and makes recommendations to the Deputy DPPs and the DPP. It also considers revisions to the PPSC policy manual and monitors emerging trends in federal prosecution practice. Additionally, it provides a forum for resolution of divergent views on legal issues so as to ensure consistency in the arguments advanced by prosecutors on behalf of the DPP.
During 2011-2012, the Committee considered 26 guidelines and practice directives. In addition, the Committee considered two requests for specific advice relating to particular litigation issues.
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 all mega-complexity prosecutions as well as for high-complexity prosecutions referred to it by Chief Federal Prosecutors, and makes recommendations to the responsible Deputy DPP. The Committee examined eight such plans in 2011-2012.
PPSC National Awards
The recognition of excellence and exceptional performance on the part of PPSC employees is of great importance to the organization. The PPSC has, therefore, created awards to recognize merit at 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 2011 PPSC National Awards were as follows:
Julie Riendeau — Quebec Regional Office
Ms. Riendeau received the excellence award in recognition of her exceptional dedication and professionalism, as displayed during the Norbourg file proceedings, a lengthy fraud prosecution in Montreal.
Tom Andreopoulos — Ontario Regional Office
Mr. Andreopoulos received the leadership award in recognition of the innovative model he developed for the presentation of the electronic Crown brief for drug and criminal organization investigations. The model is based on the early and ongoing involvement of prosecution services in the investigation, ensuring the timely development of prosecution plans upon arrest and laying of charges.
Team Achievement Award
Team Colisée — Quebec Regional Office
Andréane Côté, Marisa D’Aliesio, Alexandre Dalmau, Serge Delisle, Sabrina Delli Fraine, Claudine Dib, Lisa Di Giacomo, Carmen Gasse, Joanne Granger, Norma Pavoni, Annie Piché, Alain Pilotte, Yvan Poulin, Ninette Singoye, and Mireille Villiard
The Project Colisée team received the team achievement award in recognition of their engagement and dedication throughout a lengthy prosecution against criminal organizations, including the mafia, involving 115 accused persons. The award underlines their exceptional performance and their contribution to increasing public confidence in the efficient administration of criminal justice.
School for Prosecutors
The PPSC School for Prosecutors offers annual in-house training aimed at promoting professional development relevant to the prosecution function.
In 2011, the School provided training to 134 lawyers at three separate training events.
In July, the School held a two-and-a-half-day Written Advocacy course. The course was developed to help counsel improve their writing skills. The course consisted of plenary presentations, small group workshops, and individual meetings. The small group workshops were led by a professional writing instructor assisted by an experienced lawyer.
In August, the School conducted two intensive one-week training events – one aimed at junior counsel, the other addressed to senior counsel.
The Level One (Prosecution Fundamentals) course provided an opportunity for junior counsel to enhance their professional development through practical and academic training and by developing mentoring relationships with colleagues from across Canada. Presentations focused on criminal law topics of particular interest to PPSC prosecutors, such as the role of the prosecutor, informer privilege, Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues, disclosure, preventing miscarriages of justice, regulatory prosecutions, expert evidence, and ethical issues in practice.
The Level Two (Advanced Issues for Prosecutors) course focused on wiretap and complex case issues. The goal of this training was to enhance the ability of experienced practitioners to analyse complex legal and operational issues that arise in federal prosecution practice.
The Official Languages Committee is responsible for promoting official languages in the PPSC. It monitored the implementation of the Official Languages Act within the PPSC and ensured that the PPSC met its obligations. It also ensured the fulfillment of any follow-up on measures outlined in the reports issued by the Commissioner of Official Languages, Treasury Board Secretariat, and the Minister of Canadian Heritage.
The Committee is composed of the champion and co-champion of official languages, three counsel from regional offices in bilingual regions, and two representatives from the Human Resources Directorate.
The Committee has produced guidelines on bilingual meetings as well as visual tools designed to remind employees of the major provisions of the Official Languages Act.
The PPSC continued to support and advance relations with key national and international stakeholders involved in the criminal justice field throughout the year.
In May 2011, the PPSC acted as host for three Latin American prosecutors participating in an internship program and seeking to learn more about Canada’s criminal justice system. The interns spent three weeks shadowing federal Crown counsel in the National Capital Regional Office and the Quebec Regional Office.
In August 2011, the PPSC participated at a conference in Ottawa on the subject of criminal justice responses to the globalization of crime, which was organized by the International Centre for Criminal Law Reform and Criminal Justice Policy and the International Society of the Reform of Criminal Law. The participants addressed various issues related to the globalization of crime, such as international criminal tribunals, extraterritorial jurisdiction, human trafficking, cybercrime, and prosecutions. The DPP made a presentation dealing with “Challenges to the Independence of the Prosecutor in the 21st Century”.
In September 2011, PPSC officials attended the Northern Border Law Enforcement Summit in Lake Placid, New York. The Summit was an opportunity to assemble prosecution and law enforcement leaders from both sides of the border to broaden the understanding of border issues, to identify any problems or impediments, and to discuss proposed solutions. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions George Dolhai addressed the Summit participants about the role of the prosecutor and prosecution challenges in an environment of integrated cross-border law enforcement.
In March 2012, PPSC officials attended a hemispheric meeting in Mexico City on the subject of combating transnational organized crime. The subject of Canada’s professional, non-partisan public service and its experience in the fight against transnational organized crime and corruption was discussed by Acting Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions André A. Morin, Ad. E.
Also in March 2012, the PPSC participated in the 11th Heads of Prosecution Agencies Conference in Singapore, where Mr. Morin spoke on the process of disclosure in Canadian criminal law.
Throughout the year, PPSC prosecutors provided training to the RCMP and other police forces on search and seizure issues, wiretap law, and disclosure obligations. Since 2004, a PPSC prosecutor has been seconded to the Canadian Police College to contribute the prosecution perspective to police training.
United Nations-Sponsored Activities
In October 2011, the PPSC participated in an international workshop dealing with cross-border cooperation in respect of terrorism and related offences. PPSC officials made a presentation on the subject of “Canadian National Experience on the Investigation and Prosecution of Acts of Terrorism”. The workshop, held in Jamaica, involved 20 Latin American countries, as well as the U.S., the U.K., and international criminal justice bodies such as Interpol.
The PPSC also participated in the Workshop on Transnational Cooperation in the Prevention and Fight Against Terrorism and its Financing, organized by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, and held in Cartagena, Colombia, March 20-23, 2012. The PPSC presentation focused on terrorism as a cross-border phenomenon.
In late March 2012, the PPSC participated in a training workshop for Algerian judges organized by the Canadian Embassy in Algiers. The primary outcome of the training was an enhanced understanding among Algerian judges of Canada’s criminal justice system and extradition process and, in turn, how Algeria can better cooperate with Canada and other common law countries in successfully prosecuting crime and terrorism cases.
Meetings with Foreign Delegations
In August 2011, a magistrate from the Juridiction interrégionale spécialisée de Nancy in France, a specialized court dealing with organized crime prosecutions, visited PPSC Headquarters, the National Capital Regional Office, and the Quebec Regional Office in Montreal to discuss issues related to organized crime investigations and prosecutions.
On October 19, 2011, PPSC officials met with a delegation of public prosecutors from Palestine (West Bank) and briefed them on prosecution-related issues in the Canadian context.
On December 2, 2011, PPSC officials met with members of the Judicial Committee of the Vietnam National Assembly. The Vietnamese delegation was in Canada on a 12-day study mission to examine Canada’s criminal justice system, including its public prosecution service.
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 2011. The first, in April 2011, was organized jointly with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario. The second, in September 2011, was organized with the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of Newfoundland and Labrador. The PPSC also organized several meetings and teleconferences of subcommittees and working groups of the Committee.
The Committee issued a report on wrongful convictions in September 2011, a follow-up to its 2005 report. The report concludes that “there now exists a higher level of awareness than ever before among Canadian police and prosecutors about the causes of wrongful convictions and what can be done to prevent them.” The Committee’s first report on the subject has been cited at all court levels, including the Supreme Court of Canada. It has been studied at conferences in several countries and is now part of several law school curriculums dedicated to the study of wrongful convictions. The Committee has established a permanent committee of prosecutors and police officers on the prevention of wrongful convictions.
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 participated in the Sixteenth Annual Conference and General Meeting of the IAP in Seoul, Korea, in June 2011, and the DPP was the chairperson of the open plenary session of the Fourth World Summit of Prosecutors General, Attorneys General and Chief Prosecutors that was held immediately after the IAP event.
A PPSC representative sits as vice-president on the board of the Association internationale des procureurs et poursuivants francophones, a sister organization of the IAP.
The PPSC also 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 is responsible for canadian content of the GPEN site, which is determined in consultation with the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Working Group on Cybercrime.
The Administration Services Division is responsible for the delivery of programs and services in the areas of Security, Facilities Management, Conflict Management, and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS). Key activities undertaken during the year included:
- the relocation of the Alberta Regional Office’s headquarters in Edmonton and the completion of fit-ups in St. John’s, Yellowknife, London and Calgary;
- continued work toward the establishment of a consolidated Headquarters facility in the National Capital Region;
- coordination of conflict management including the publication of the PPSC Policy on Informal Conflict Management developed in consultation with employees and bargaining agents;
- the implementation of the core elements of the PPSC’s Security Program in the areas of personnel security, security of information and security of assets; and
- coordination of the PPSC OHS program.
The Communications Division is responsible for the PPSC’s communications activities aimed at the public and the media, as outlined in the Director of Public Prosecutions Act.
The Division provides communications products, services, and advice to PPSC prosecutors and managers. It is also responsible for internal communications and for publishing the PPSC intranet and other internal communications vehicles.
In 2011-2012, the Division provided media training sessions in regional offices and at Headquarters to assist prosecutors in the performance of their public and media communications role.
In 2011-2012, over 200,000 visits to the PPSC’s Internet site were recorded.
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 2011-2012, the OCC provided advice on the new federal Values and Ethics Code for the Public Sector and on political activities, and also conducted extensive research and drafted a document that will ultimately lead to the implementation of a PPSC Code of Conduct. 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 in the development of a draft complexity grid for evaluating prosecution files and for a PPSC Corporate Risk Profile.
Finance and Acquisitions
The Finance and Acquisitions Directorate is responsible for resource management, accounting operations, and acquisitions management. In 2011–12, in addition to fulfilling its ongoing commitments, the Directorate:
- improved management practices and increased efficiencies for processes related to cost recovery and financial situation reporting;
- developed and implemented an internal control framework as required under the Treasury Board Policy on Internal Control;
- implemented the transition to the new government cellular services contracts; and
- took over responsibility for procurement in the Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan Regional Offices, where it had been handled previously by the Department of Justice Canada, as well as in the Northern regional offices.
The Human Resources Directorate (HRD) is responsible for human resources management.
The HRD worked on developing a disability management approach that meets the PPSC’s needs. As part of this process, it examined the prevalence of disability among PPSC employees, along with the impact of lost time arising from both occupational and non-occupational illness and injury. It also reviewed best practices in disability management.
The HRD worked on the implementation of the PPSC learning program. It conducted a learning needs analysis assessment, developed a long-term strategy and action plan, and defined its talent management program. An electronic approval and registration system (Training Self Service System), a national training calendar and a formal process to evaluate education leave, education assistance and full-time non-statutory language training were implemented, ensuring fair access to learning across the organization.
The Corporate Services Forum was first introduced in February 2011 to strengthen the operational support of internal services within the PPSC. A follow-up session was held from October 24-26, 2011 to address the need for more practical hands-on training.
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 all PPSC staff.
In addition to providing ongoing operational services during 2011-2012, the Directorate:
- partnered with the Law Practice Management Division to enhance and promote the organization’s recently-developed knowledge management system;
- negotiated with Library and Archives Canada the terms and conditions of a Records Disposition Authority;
- addressed significant file storage issues arising from the pending closure of a number of Library and Archives Canada’s Regional Service Centres; and
- in partnership with the Department of Justice, consolidated PPSC library materials into a single national library catalogue.
The Internal Audit Division (IAD) assesses the effectiveness of the PPSC’s processes and 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 2011-2012, the PPSC published two internal audit reports: the Audit of Vote-Netted Revenue and Cost Recovery, and the Audit of the Ontario Regional Office. The IAD also introduced a process to follow up on management action relative to prior internal audit recommendations. The DAC, which is chaired by the DPP, met four times during the year and reviewed a number of audit-related issues, as well as issues such as values and ethics, risk management, governance, and financial reporting.
Ministerial and External Relations
The Ministerial and External Relations Secretariat (MERS) is responsible for ministerial liaison, Cabinet and parliamentary affairs, correspondence, relations with external groups, and access to information and privacy.
MERS oversees the timely delivery of quality briefing material to the Office of the Attorney General. In addition, it responds to requests for information on PPSC activities and incoming correspondence from the general public. In 2011-2012, the PPSC responded to 56 questions placed on the Order Paper of the House of Commons.
The Access to Information and Privacy (ATIP) Office is responsible for the application of access to information and privacy legislation at the PPSC. The ATIP Office ensures that the PPSC complies with the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. It also carries out training and education activities to raise awareness among PPSC employees and agents about their roles and responsibilities under these acts. In 2011-2012, the ATIP office handled 29 requests under the Access to Information Act and 13 requests under the Privacy Act.
In September 2011, the ATIP Office began posting summaries of completed requests under the Access to Information Act on the PPSC’s Internet site.
Strategic Planning and Performance Management
The Strategic Planning and Performance Management Division is responsible for corporate-level strategic and business planning, performance measurement and reporting, central agency liaison, and research and evaluation.
The Division coordinates the preparation of the PPSC’s annual estimates reports to Parliament (Report on Plans and Priorities and Departmental Performance Report). The reports are available through the PPSC’s Internet site.
It 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 2011-2012, the PPSC participated in its third MAF assessment. The assessment’s observations show a steady improvement in the PPSC’s corporate management capacity.
Specifically, ratings increased for Values and Ethics as well as Procurement, while ratings for other areas of management have remained stable. Opportunities for improvement are again highlighted in Integrated Risk Management, Information Management, as well as Investment Planning and Management of Projects. The PPSC is developing an updated MAF action plan that will focus on increasing its overall capacity, but with particular emphasis on those areas still requiring improvement.
In 2011-2012, the Division directed the PPSC’s participation in the Treasury Board-mandated evaluation of the National Fine Recovery Program as a component of the Federal Tobacco Control Strategy. It also contributed to annual performance reports on the horizontal initiatives in which the PPSC is a partner, including the Anti-Money Laundering/Anti-Terrorist Financing Regime, the Integrated Proceeds of Crime initiative, and the National Anti-Drug Strategy. In addition, the Division supported the implementation of the management responses and action plans stemming from previously completed evaluations of these initiatives.
Finally, the Division played a key role in research on the jury recruitment process for trials to be conducted in French or both official languages. This survey was undertaken in collaboration with the Department of Justice Canada for the Federal Provincial Territorial Working Group on Access to Justice in Both Official Languages.
Large-Quantity Drug Files
In 2011-2012, the PPSC saw a significant number of cases involving very large quantities of illegal drugs (in excess of 50 kilograms of cocaine, for example) that were being trafficked into Canada.
Some traffickers attempt to move large quantities of drugs by sea: Project Outerlimits resulted in the seizure of 1,350 kilograms of cocaine off Costa Rica. James Frost, who was convicted of conspiracy to import the cocaine, was sentenced to 16.5 years of imprisonment. One individual was arrested in Montreal after 343 kilograms of cocaine were found in hollowed-out ceramic tiles being shipped by way of the Port of Halifax.
Many traffickers attempt to cross the Canada-United States border with substantial amounts of cocaine concealed in their vehicles. For example, at the Ambassador Bridge near Windsor, Ontario, 70 kilograms were found in a shipment of lettuce, and 117 kilograms were found in a shipment of aluminum coils. In British Columbia, as much as 100 kilograms of cocaine have been found hidden in false compartments in a car.
Other trafficking attempts have included a baggage handler at Vancouver International Airport who tried to collect several pieces of luggage containing 50 kilograms of cocaine and a border services officer who is alleged to have used his position to allow cocaine to be smuggled into Canada.
The PPSC also handles a wide variety of files dealing with other illegal drugs such as methamphetamines, heroin, and doda (an opiate derived from dried poppy pods).
- Date modified: