Alberta prosecutors look to resolve issues in latest talks

A panel representing the Alberta Attorney’s Office is due to meet with the government on Wednesday to try to resolve the issues that Crown lawyers are considering hiring.

Last month, the Alberta Attorneys Association sent a letter to Prime Minister Jason Kenney, Attorney General Tyler Shandro and Labor Secretary Casey Mud to address the “chronic underfunding of the Alberta Attorney’s Office.”

The group represents 380 prosecutors.

Shortage of Alberta Crown prosecutors means 1,200 major cases could be put on hold

Shortage of Alberta Crown Attorneys means 1,200 major cases could be put on hold – November 24, 2021

The requirements include meetings with senior government officials and a pay scale that puts Alberta prosecutors on par with their counterparts in Ontario and British Columbia. They also want to be able to bargain collectively with the government.

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“We are waiting for their proposals on how to get out of the crisis. We are cautiously optimistic that the government now understands the root causes of the problem,” said association president Dallas Sopko.

“We hope they will come to the negotiating table with something more than a short-term salary adjustment proposal, which alone will not be enough to address the long-term problems plaguing our prosecutors.”

Sopko said prosecutors plan to meet Wednesday night after talks to discuss the latest developments and intend to hold a press conference in Olx Praca on Monday.

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‘It’s a crisis’: Shortage of Alberta Crown prosecutors means 1,200 major cases could be put on hold

Sopko said that 95 percent of prosecutors in Canada are eligible for collective bargaining. The exceptions are Alberta, Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island.

He said prosecutors face an overwhelming number of cases, lack proper mental health support, and receive uncompetitive compensation. He added that those who leave Alberta are being replaced by others who are less qualified.

Sopko also said that other provinces pay Crown lawyers 40% more, which is why Alberta has become “a farm team for prosecutors.”

Shandro did not say whether there would be any proposal on the table.

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“We continue to work to solve their problems in a meaningful and collaborative way,” Shandro said in a statement.

“I look forward to further updates as discussions progress.”

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