Statement from the Judge Advocate General on the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada


May 29, 2018 – Ottawa – National Defence / Canadian Armed Forces

Commodore Geneviève Bernatchez, Judge Advocate General of the Canadian Armed Forces, today issued the following statement in response to the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada:

“I would like to thank the Auditor General and his office for undertaking this thorough review.

“As the Judge Advocate General for the Canadian Armed Forces, it is my duty to oversee the administration of military justice, and I deliberately act in order to ensure the military justice system remains fair, effective and efficient.

“I welcome the Auditor General’s findings and I agree with the recommendations. As with the civilian criminal justice system, the military justice system is in constant evolution and benefits significantly from internal and external reviews that offer meaningful evidence-based analysis and recommendations that serve to enhance it. The Auditor General’s report will help guide our efforts to ensure that the military justice system continues to evolve to meet the expectations of Canadians and the needs of the Canadian Armed Forces.

“I am pleased to share that efforts are well underway to address the audit’s observations and recommendations. In direct response to the Auditor General’s report, we are developing an action plan to ensure that all of the recommendations are addressed. We are already progressing in areas such as:

  • The development of an electronic case management system, called the Justice Administration and Information Management System, which will track cases from the time a complaint is received to the time a file is closed. It is expected to significantly reduce delays by providing military justice stakeholders with real-time access to data on cases as they progress and prompting them when they need to take action. The system’s trial phase is scheduled to begin in January 2019 and it will be launched in September 2019.
  • The new Justice Administration and Information Management System will also be integrated with a new military justice performance measurement system, expected to be launched concurrently. This system will establish time standards and measureable data on the performance of the military justice system, allowing us to identify any emerging challenges, including delays, while informing measures to address them. 
  • We are also immediately re-establishing the Military Justice Round Table, to increase communication across all actors in the military justice system, while enhancing our human resource practices to support the development of the litigation expertise necessary for military prosecutors and defence counsel.

“Canada’s military justice system is unique and necessary. Canadians have a clear expectation that their armed forces will be a disciplined one while reflecting Canadian values and ethics. All Canadians, including the proud women and men in uniform, also expect that their military justice system will continue to evolve in accordance with Canadian law while recognizing the unique role the military justice system plays in reinforcing discipline.

“The Auditor General’s findings offer valuable insight and tangible recommendations that will assist us greatly in further enhancing the efficiency of the military justice system, ensuring that it remains valuable and relevant in contributing to the operational readiness of the Canadian Armed Forces.”

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