Yesterday, 95 federal lawyers represented by the Association of Justice Counsel were notified that their positions will be affected as a result of federal budget cuts. The affected lawyers work within the Aboriginal Affairs Portfolio, Legislative Services Branch, Management Sector and Business and Regulatory Law Portfolio.
These professionals play a key role in the administration of justice in Canada. They advise on government legal strategy and services. They take the lead on complex litigation, saving billions for the taxpayer. And they support government when bills and regulations are introduced.
The AJC is denouncing the cuts as being short-sighted and ill-advised. Not only will the cuts affect the lives and careers of AJC members, the cuts will weaken the Department of Justice and harm public interest, as there will be far fewer legal professionals to fight for the best interest of Canadians.
“The Department claims that the WFA notice letters went out because of a lack of work or discontinuance of a function,” said Marco Mendicino, President of the Association of Justice Counsel. “But that is a completely inaccurate way to describe the vital work our members do for Canadians, and for our country.”
Though the Department of Justice has suffered cuts for years, this is the first time in the Department’s long history that it has faced such an extensive and devastating workforce adjustment situation.
“Between 2009 and 2014, the Department of Justice will have chopped fully 15% from its operational budget. That’s roughly $80 million,” said Mendicino. “This staggering figure does not amount to simply “efficiency savings”. It represents core services and people.”