4. Corporate Priorities
Using Resources Effectively
The PPSC is committed to maximizing its effectiveness as a prosecution service. Sustainable service delivery is contingent on the availability of reliable performance information to allow the PPSC to credibly report on its activities and results, as well as to support planning, decision-making, operational goals, and funding strategies.
The PPSC optimized the approaches it uses to align resources to case demands through the refinement of its assessment of file complexity, regular reviews of file assignment based on counsel level, and a benchmarking pilot project.
As of April 1st, 2013, the PPSC implemented a revised complexity assessment grid for litigation files. It retains the low, medium, and high complexity levels, but the mega file level has been collapsed into the high-complexity level to simplify file categorization. Complexity levels help to ensure that appropriate resources are assigned to the files and also assist the PPSC in measuring overall workload and level of effort for litigation files. A complexity level can be assigned to each file when it is opened, and can be modified as the file progresses, if required. Files can only be assigned a high level of complexity in consultation with the litigation team leader or manager.
The PPSC continues to improve the capabilities of internal systems to supply the required data to support performance measurement relating to internal and legal services, including the development of benchmarks for high-volume prosecution types. This year, the PPSC successfully completed a pilot project which confirmed the validity of using benchmarks for this type of file. Chief Federal Prosecutors have been provided with details on their low complexity drug files which do not meet the norm and have been tasked with reporting on the underlying causes and resulting lessons learned on a regular basis. During 2014–2015, the PPSC plans to expand the use of benchmarks to additional file profiles.
Employee Training and Development
The PPSC recognizes the need to invest in its employees so that it is able to effectively tackle the complex challenges of today’s prosecutions.
In 2013–2014, the PPSC conducted an audit of learning, training and professional development in the organization, and developed a management action plan to clarify roles and improve processes and coordination to ensure a better return on investment. Steps were taken to increase the use of technologies such as videoconferencing and WebEx to provide access to learning opportunities throughout the organization, including in regional offices and smaller local offices.
The PPSC also launched the Federal Prosecutor Development Program, a comprehensive program of training, mentoring, and on-the-job activities for new prosecutors. Forty-four prosecutors were placed in the program’s initial intake. In addition, the PPSC created a major case checklist for paralegals, to enable paralegals to follow consistent best practices when dealing with certain types of files.
Working Collaboratively with Investigative Agencies
To be effective and efficient as a national prosecution service, the PPSC must work closely with police and federal investigative agencies while respecting the independence of these agencies and maintaining its own independence. The PPSC continues to provide police and investigative agencies with prosecution-related advice to promote the use of investigative techniques and procedures that conform to the evolving rules of evidence and to the protections found in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The PPSC pursued its efforts to broaden the use of the Report to Crown Counsel by the police and investigative agencies, and to standardize the information provided to the Crown for court proceedings. This helps to ensure the consistency and completeness of the investigation files sent to the PPSC.
This collaborative effort also allowed the PPSC and investigative agencies to develop training programs for investigators in keeping with the demands arising from current legal trends and the ongoing evolution of investigative tools and techniques.
The PPSC also put greater emphasis on ensuring ongoing communication and liaison with police and investigative agencies, both at the national and local levels and at the management and front-line levels, to discuss overall enforcement priorities and directions, upcoming investigations, project files, and any other matters of mutual interest.
Kelly Cove Salmon Limited
Kelly Cove Salmon Limited, a Canadian company, is the largest independent aquaculture company in North America. It operates more than 100 aquaculture farms in Atlantic Canada with more than 500 employees. The company produces approximately 27,000,000 kg of Atlantic salmon and 900,000 kg of trout annually, with annual sales in excess of $165 million.
For several years, the aquaculture industry in southwest New Brunswick was using a product known as
“Slice” to control sea lice, a parasitic crustacean which feed on the flesh of farmed salmon until the fish are dead. The efficacy of the product decreased over time. Despite preventive measures being taken by Kelly Cove, including husbandry, area management, and permitting some sites to lie unused, by the fall of 2009 there was a severe sea lice problem in the southwest Bay of Fundy salmon farms. To combat the problem, Kelly Cove began using a cypermethrin-based insecticide. In 1998, the Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Health Canada denied an application for approval of a product called EXCIS, a cypermethrin-based pesticide in the marine environment because it posed an unacceptable risk of harm to non-targeted marine organisms.
On April 26, 2013, Kelly Cove pleaded guilty in the Provincial Court of New Brunswick to two charges of depositing a deleterious substance in water frequented by fish, contrary to s. 36(3) of the Fisheries Act. The court imposed a total penalty of $500,000; $250,000 to be paid to the University of New Brunswick (UNB) for an environmental studies scholarship, $100,000 to the UNB to fund research projects and studies about the fishery and aquaculture industry in the Bay of Fundy region, $50,000 to the Environmental Damages Fund for the enhancement of fish habitat in the Bay of Fundy region, and $100,000 by way of fine.
Personal Security of Employees
The PPSC has in place a security program that protects employees, information, and assets.
In 2013–2014, the PPSC completed the implementation of its Strategic Security Plan, establishing a framework to ensure employee safety and security throughout the organization.
Over the course of the year, the PPSC fulfilled an important objective to strengthen its capacity to manage business continuity and employee protection through the appointment of an officer assigned to these functions on a full-time basis.
Security continued to be an important element of internal audits. During the course of the year, security practices in the Atlantic Region were evaluated as part of the 2013 internal audit conducted in that office and measures were identified to respond to the recommendations of the audit.
During the year, the PPSC conducted a preliminary internal survey of security to assess the adequacy and effectiveness of the management framework in place for security of information, personnel, and physical security. The internal survey concluded that the PPSC had made significant progress towards the implementation of a security program since the creation of the Security Section in April 2009. The PPSC will continue to implement strategies and instruments to comply with Treasury Board policies, directives, and guidelines and improve the effectiveness of the security program.
The PPSC Security Committee, comprised of senior officials, met on a regular basis to review policies and procedures and to monitor the progress of the security program, thus providing strong leadership and governance in the management of security in the PPSC.
Now that the strategic objectives associated with this priority have been achieved and the requisite tools put in place, it will no longer be necessary to identify employee safety and security as an organizational priority. However, personal security of employees remains of utmost importance to the PPSC and the organization will continue to ensure that appropriate security measures, information, and training remain available.
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