Summary

40887

Association des procureurs aux poursuites criminelles et pénales v. Procureur général du Québec, Ministre de la Justice du Québec

(Quebec) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

Administrative law — Judicial review — Standard of review — Legislative scheme concerning conditions of employment of criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys — Remuneration committee — Judicial review of government response and National Assembly resolution resulting from committee’s recommendations — Where legislative assembly or Parliament approves purely administrative decision submitted by executive, what is true nature of this deliberative act? — Whether principle of parliamentary sovereignty can be applied to thereby insulate government decision from degree of judicial review to which party affected would otherwise have been entitled under principles of administrative law — Whether it is appropriate to supplant stricter standard of review established in Canada (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration) v. Vavilov, 2019 SCC 65, and to broaden scope of more flexible standard of review established in Provincial Court Judges’ Assn. of New Brunswick v. New Brunswick (Minister of Justice); Ontario Judges’ Assn. v. Ontario (Management Board); Bodner v. Alberta; Conférence des juges du Québec v. Quebec (Attorney General); Minc v. Quebec (Attorney General), 2005 SCC 44 (so far reserved exclusively for review of remuneration of Canadian judges) to apply it to judicial review of similar mechanism used to determine monetary conditions of employment of Quebec’s criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys — Whether determination of basic conditions of employment for group of employees is one of exceptional contexts in which reviewing court can impose discretionary remedial measures and thus resolve issues between parties in final manner, as permitted by administrative law, rather than referring matter back to decision maker for reconsideration — Act respecting the process for determining the remuneration of criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys and respecting their collective bargaining plan, CQLR, c. P-27.1, ss. 17, 19.1, 19.2 and 19.16.

Summary

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Further to an agreement entered into by the applicant, the Association des procureurs aux poursuites criminelles et pénales, and the Quebec government (represented by the respondents) concerning the determination of the remuneration of criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys (CPPAs), the National Assembly in 2011 passed the Act respecting the process for determining the remuneration of criminal and penal prosecuting attorneys and respecting their collective bargaining plan, CQLR, c. P-27.1. This statute sets out a scheme similar to the one for determining the remuneration of judges of the Court of Québec and certain municipal courts. It is a process whereby, every four years, an independent remuneration committee assesses the components of remuneration by considering factors listed in the statute. After receiving observations from various affected groups, the committee must prepare a report containing its recommendations and submit it to the government, which must table it in the National Assembly. The government can then make its own recommendations concerning those set out in the report. The National Assembly may then approve, amend or reject the recommendations by way of a resolution stating the reasons on which it is based. In exchange for this remuneration mechanism, the Act took away the right to strike from the Association and its members. A committee was established in 2018 for the second four year cycle from April 1, 2019, to March 31, 2023. The committee tabled a report in which its members disagreed on the recommendation concerning the CPPAs’ salary. Two of the three committee members recommended a total potential increase of up to 19.25% over four years, whereas the dissenting member instead recommended a total increase of 10% over four years, with no indexing. In its response, the government recommended that the National Assembly accept the five recommendations on which the committee had agreed but that it give effect to the dissenting member’s recommendation concerning the CPPAs’ salary. Following a debate, the National Assembly passed a resolution on a motion put forward by the then Minister of Justice. The resolution [TRANSLATION] “adopt[ed] the government’s position and justifications set out in its response”. The Association reacted to the National Assembly’s resolution by applying to the Superior Court for judicial review of the resolution and the government’s response.

Lower Court Rulings

February 23, 2022
Superior Court of Quebec

2022 QCCS 577, 500-17-112703-205
Application for judicial review dismissed
June 12, 2023
Court of Appeal of Quebec (Montréal)

2023 QCCA 775, 500-09-029968-229
Appeal dismissed