Chapter 5: The Way Ahead - 2014-15

As the superintendent of the administration of military justice in the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the JAG will ensure that Canada’s military justice system continues to reflect Canadian values and the rule of law. To that end, the Office of the JAG will continue its commitment towards proactive oversight, responsible development and positive change during the reporting periods to come. These efforts, in turn, will help enable the CAF to maintain their history of excellence in operations.

In the year ahead, the Office of the JAG will seek to finalize the implementation of the statutory and regulatory amendments stemming from Bill C-15, the Strengthening Military Justice in the Defence of Canada Act. The purposes of Canada’s military justice system and its inextricable link to discipline in the CAF have been reinforced by Parliament following Royal Assent of this Act. Specifically, when that legislation comes into force, it will require military tribunals to consider, when determining the appropriate sentence to impose upon an offender, the promotion of operational effectiveness of the CAF, in particular the maintenance of discipline, efficiency and morale, as well as respect for the law and the maintenance of a just, peaceful and safe society.

As noted in the Communiqué, on 27 March 2015, the CDS received the External Review Authority’s (ERA) report into sexual misconduct and sexual harassment in the CAF. While the ERA’s mandate excluded issues related to the military justice system, as superintendent of the administration of military justice in the CAF, the JAG is committed to ensuring that those findings and recommendations that touch upon the military justice system are carefully reviewed. The Office of the JAG will work closely with stakeholders, including the Canadian Forces Provost Marshall and the CAF Strategic Response Team on Sexual Misconduct, to ensure that any changes to military justice legislation, policies and practices are consistent with the approaches being developed by stakeholders.

The Summary Trial Database, which provides essential data relevant to the JAG’s superintendence of the administration of military justice, will continue to undergo conversion to enable enhanced data collection, and better accuracy, as well as to allow for greater and more nuanced reviews of information.

Conclusion

Canada’s military justice system is a sui generis system of justice designed to be a fair, efficient and effective mechanism to instill discipline and support the operational effectiveness of the CAF. To ensure that the confidence of Canadians in this system is further strengthened, the Office of the JAG will continue to monitor and learn from relevant legislative and jurisprudential developments, both in Canada and respecting other similarly-situated military justice systems from around the world. The Office of the JAG will also continue to ensure that the Canadian military justice system evolves in a manner that reflects responsible development and that it remains aligned with Canadian values and the rule of law. As such, both the Office of the JAG and Canada’s military justice system are well positioned to support and remain responsive to the needs of the Government of Canada, the Department of National Defence and the CAF.

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