Area of Law: Government and The Justice System
Answer # 720
Department of Justice CanadaRegion: Ontario Answer # 720
The role of the Department of Justice is to ensure that Canada’s justice system is as fair, accessible and efficient as possible. The Department works with the federal government to develop policy and to make and reform laws. It also acts as the government’s lawyer, providing legal advice, prosecuting cases under federal law, and representing the government in court. These responsibilities reflect the double role of the Minister of Justice, who is also the Attorney General of Canada. While the Minister is concerned with questions of policy and their relation to the justice system, the Attorney General is the chief law officer of the Crown.
The mission of the Department of Justice is to:
- support the Minister of Justice in working to ensure that Canada is a just and law-abiding society with an accessible, efficient and fair system of justice;
- provide high-quality legal services and counsel to the government and to client departments and agencies; and
- promote respect for rights and freedoms, the law and the Constitution.
Justice employees are also responsible for drafting bills for Parliament. Approximately half of the Justice Department’s staff are lawyers, while the other half includes experts in such fields as research, social sciences, communications, as well as paralegals and support staff.
Many Justice employees work in the Department’s numerous regional offices across Canada. Regional staff provide legal advice to federal government departments and agencies outside Ottawa, and they are responsible for most of the government’s litigation work in the provinces. The Department’s offices in the territories also deal with some responsibilities normally carried out by provincial governments, such as Criminal Code prosecutions and property law transactions.
Programs and services
The programs and services offered by the Justice Department cover a wide range of initiatives, such as:
- Youth Justice
- Crime prevention
- Family Violence Initiative
- Gun control & firearms policies
- Dispute Prevention and Resolution
- Access to Information and Privacy
- Child Support, Custody and Access,
- Policy Centre for Victim Issues
- Indigenous Justice Program
Grants and contributions
The Department of Justice is dedicated to developing and maintaining a more accessible, equitable and efficient justice system for Canadians. To help the Department achieve its broad policy objectives, its Programs Branch uses a variety of programs (including grants and contributions) to contribute to policy development.
Specifically, the Programs Branch develops and implements programs that:
- Provide project support in the form of grants and contributions to governments, non-governmental organizations and community members to undertake projects and activities that are aimed at working to improve the justice system; and,
- Provide contribution funding through funding arrangements with the provinces and territories to support delivery of certain justice-related services, such as Legal Aid, the Youth Justice Services Funding Program, the Aboriginal Courtwork Program and Access to Justice Services Agreements.
For more information, visit the Department of Justice Canada website.
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