Transition Book - 2023 - People

Who We Are / What We Do

As of July 1, 2023, the PPSC had 1242 employees, of which approximately 48% are prosecutors. The remainder of the PPSC staff is comprised of paralegals, support staff, functional specialists and management. In addition to its own prosecutors, the PPSC retains the services of 254 private-sector prosecutors known as Agents.

PPSC Headquarters is located in Ottawa, and the organization maintains a network of regional and local offices across Canada. The PPSC must provide prosecutors in each judicial district in Canada and has at least one permanent office in each of the three territories and each province, except Prince Edward Island.

Mandate

The mandate of the Public Prosecution Service of Canada is set out in the Director of Public Prosecutions Act. Pursuant to the Act, the PPSC provides prosecutorial advice to law enforcement agencies and acts as prosecutor in matters that fall within the authority of the Attorney General of Canada.

Areas of Prosecution

The PPSC's main areas of prosecution are the following.

Controlled Drugs and Substances Act and Cannabis Act

In most provinces and all territories, the PPSC is responsible for prosecuting all drug offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act (CDSA) and the Cannabis Act, regardless of whether a federal, provincial or municipal investigative agency lays the charges. The exceptions are the provinces of Quebec and New Brunswick, where the PPSC only prosecutes drug offences if they were investigated by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

On October 17, 2018, the Cannabis Act came in effect and therebyaltered Canada's approach to cannabis. As of this date, serious cannabis offences, such as sale, importation and exportation, previously prosecuted under the CDSA, fall under the jurisdiction of the new Cannabis Act. The PPSC is responsible for the prosecution of both criminal and regulatory offences under the Act.

In August 2020, a new guideline was issued by the DPP about the prosecution of simple possession offences under the CDSA. This new guideline provides guidance to prosecutors in determining the appropriate approach to the prosecution of such offences. The policy directs PPSC prosecutors to pursue prosecution only in the most serious cases raising public safety concerns and to otherwise pursue suitable alternative measures and diversion from the criminal justice system for simple possession.

Criminal Code

In the Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories, the PPSC has exclusive jurisdiction for prosecuting all Criminal Code offences including homicides, sexual offences, other violent offences, firearms and other weapons offences, driving offences, property crimes and offences against the administration of justice.

In the provinces the PPSC has concurrent jurisdiction with provincial prosecution services to prosecute certain Criminal Code offences such as terrorism, criminal organization offences, money laundering and proceeds of crime, and fraud. Upon request of a provincial Attorney General or under specific arrangements with the provinces, the PPSC may also prosecute Criminal Code offences that are otherwise within provincial jurisdiction when the accused also faces charges within federal jurisdiction.

Federal Statutes

In all provinces and territories, the PPSC prosecutes violations of all other federal statutes, such as the Fisheries Act; the Income Tax Act; the Excise Act; the Customs Act; the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, 1999; the Competition Act; and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act; as well as conspiracies and attempts to violate these statutes. In total, the PPSC may be called upon to prosecute offences under any of 250 statutes. In practice, however, the PPSC more routinely advises on and prosecutes offences under approximately 36 federal statutes.

Our PPSC Team

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada is a medium-sized organization that is spread throughout the country with 79% of employees working in regional offices and 21% located at Headquarters in Ottawa.

Regional Distribution

Regional Distribution
Regional Distribution
Regional Distribution - Text Version

Map of PPSC Locations

A black and white map of Canada with the locations of PPSC offices designated with color-coded circles. 

Ottawa, Ontario (Headquarters) – Red

Ottawa, Ontario (National Capital Region) – Navy blue

Kenora, Ontario – Green

Kitchener, Ontario – Light green

London, Ontario – Grey-blue

Thunder Bay, Ontario- Light grey

Toronto, Ontario – Yellow

Brampton, Ontario – Light purple

Halifax, Nova Scotia – Periwinkle

Moncton, New Brunswick – Mint Green

St-John's, Newfoundland and Labrador – Light pink

Montreal, Quebec – Blue

Quebec City, Quebec – Light orange

Winnipeg, Manitoba – Purple

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan – Aqua Blue

Regina, Saskatchewan – Orange

Edmonton, Alberta – Grey

Calgary, Alberta – Forest green

Vancouver, British Columbia – Dark pink

Surrey, British Columbia - Brown

Whitehorse, Yukon – Magenta

Yellowknife, North Western Territories - Beige

Iqaluit, Nunavut – Burgundy

Our Employees

The majority of PPSC employees are involved in delivering prosecution programs. Approximately 77% are in legal positions and 23% in non-legal positions.

Employees can be categorized into the following key segments:

Key Employee Data:

Workforce (As of July 1, 2023)

First Official Language

Employment Equity Distribution (Based on voluntary Self-Identification)


Organizational Structure
Organizational Structure
Text Version

Agents

The PPSC executes its mandate through in-house counsel and private sector lawyers known as agents. The agents represent the PPSC in areas of Canada where it is impractical or otherwise not cost-effective for staff counsel to do so.

Overview

Pursuant to subsections 7(2) and 9(1) of the Director of Public Prosecutions Act, theDirector of Public Prosecutions (DPP) may retain private-sector lawyers to perform any of the duties and functions of a crown prosecutor. The PPSC operates a regime of five year fixed-term agreements for agents. The DPP appoints agents following a competitive process. The PPSC may on occasion retain an ad hoc agent for a specific assignment.

As of July 1, 2023, the PPSC retained 102 agent firms representing 254 designated counsel.

OFFICES AGENT FIRMS AND AGENTS
Number of Agent Firms Number of Agents
ATLANTIC 20 46
QUÉBEC 4 7
NATIONAL CAPITAL REGION 26 46
ONTARIO 26 70
MANITOBA 1 4
SASKATCHEWAN 7 20
ALBERTA 8 11
BRITISH COLUMBIA 8 48
YUKON - -
NORTHWEST TERRITORIES 1 1
NUNAVUT 1 1
All regions 102 254

Agent Affairs Program

The Agent Affairs Program (AAP) ensures that agents provide high-quality legal services at a reasonable cost. To attain this goal, the AAP undertakes a variety of activities including direct regional supervision, operational policy development, coordination, and corporate/Headquarters (HQ) management.

The AAP is comprised of a division at HQ and agent supervision units in eight regional offices. The units have experienced counsel who assist agents and monitor their work.

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