What Was Heard - Transforming Canada's criminal justice system

  • March 23, 2018

Message from the Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

When I was appointed Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, my mandate letter from Prime Minister Trudeau instructed me to conduct a review of the changes to our criminal justice system and sentencing reforms over the past decade.

I have been asked to assess these changes to ensure that our communities are safer and that we are getting good value for our money. In addition, I have been asked to address gaps and ensure that the current provisions align with the objectives of the criminal justice system. 

While this is a daunting task, it is also an extraordinary opportunity.

The Criminal Justice System Review is an opportunity to create a criminal justice system that is just, compassionate, and timely — one that reflects the needs and expectations of all Canadians.

Careful and open dialogue is fundamental to this review. I see this as the start of a national conversation about the criminal justice system in Canada.  

This conversation began a year and a half ago with a series of roundtables with justice system partners and interested parties from across Canada. The goal of these roundtables was to gather people from different vantage points across the system to discuss their local practices and their suggestions for improving the system.

This report summarizes the views we heard during these roundtables. A few consistent themes and messages emerged. We heard that linking data and information across the justice sectors and various social systems is critical to driving action. These systems include health, housing, mental health, education and child welfare.

We heard that vulnerable people are most affected by the system so we must look at where and how they come into contact with the criminal justice system. We have also received suggestions for more immediate action and for both discrete and comprehensive legislative change as part of any solution.

There is no question that a review of the criminal justice system is necessary and long overdue. Systemic change cannot be completed in one mandate, but I am convinced this review can provide the foundation for addressing some of the most challenging issues facing the criminal justice system today.

I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time to share their views on the review of the criminal justice system and I look forward to continuing the conversation with Canadians into the fall. 

Download a PDF of the report: What We Heard - Transforming Canada's Criminal Justice System