Quebec has introduced legislation in the National Assembly that will determine how much the province’s Crown prosecutors should be paid.
Introduced on Nov. 9, Bill 40 will create a new, independent process to determine the wages for Crown prosecutors. The bill also removes their ability to strike in the future.
The bill is a result of a February 2011 strike by Quebec’s 450 Crown prosecutors and nearly 1,000 government civil lawyers. The members of the Association of Prosecutors in Criminal and Penal Prosecutions (APPCP) were protesting poor working conditions and low wages. They were also demanding an increase in the number of government prosecutors.
After the prosecutors spent two weeks off the job, the government held an all-night session to pass special back-to-work legislation. The government said the strike was having a negative impact of the province’s judicial system.
The lawyers say that, at the time, they were earning 40 per cent less than their Ontario counterparts and that there was only one Crown prosecutor for every 15,600 people, which is the lowest rate in the country.
The salary determination process will include factors such as attraction and retention, comparable salaries in other Crown prosecutor services, workload, the state of the Quebec economy, and salary increases for public-sector and private-sector employees.
APPCP president Christian Leblanc says his union welcomes the introduction of the bill. He says he hopes it can be adopted as soon as possible to avoid any further disruptions in the criminal justice system and so Quebec’s Crown prosecutors can be adequately compensated for their work.
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