I am pleased to present the Courts Administration Service (CAS) Annual Report for 2016–17 highlighting performance for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2017.
CAS plays an important role in assuring the effective functioning of Canada’s legal system and enhancing judicial independence of the courts—two fundamental pillars of our Constitution. Through our work, we provide administrative support and services to the Federal Court of Appeal, the Federal Court, the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada and the Tax Court of Canada (the Courts). These services permit Canadians, commercial entities, other organizations and the Government of Canada to submit disputes and other matters to the Courts, and enable the Courts to hear and resolve the cases before them fairly, without delay and as efficiently as possible.
In fulfilling this vital role in 2016–17, CAS was guided by priorities focused on Information Technology (IT); federal judicial facilities; human resources; and security. These areas are all essential to excellence in service delivery to the Courts and their clients.
As you will read in the Annual Report, CAS implemented several initiatives focusing on these areas. Key among the results achieved in 2016–17 were physical security enhancements at CAS offices to protect all who work in, attend or visit the Courts. As well, work was undertaken to update critical information technology infrastructure, and refine elements of the corporate project management framework. In addition, a new national accommodation strategic plan was finalized to clearly define the immediate and long-term special purpose accommodations requirements of the Courts.
Our ability to successfully deliver on our priorities is grounded in the work performed by our employees. Recognizing the ongoing need to build a skilled and effective workforce to maintain the strength of our core business, we also moved forward on developing a new three-year integrated HR plan as well as progressing with succession planning and the establishment of an organizational learning and development plan.
With an increasing workload and complexity of case files, it is important that CAS has the resources necessary to support the Courts and Canadians in the administration of justice. While efforts have been made to realize efficiencies and to best utilize resources, it is recognized that additional resources are require to ensure the ongoing integrity of CAS' programs and services. Therefore, CAS will continue to work with the government to seek additional funding to ensure ongoing operational sustainability as well as to invest in required technological systems.
We can be proud of the accomplishments of the past year, and I am grateful for the invaluable contribution of our employees, as well as for the continued support of the Chief Justices and members of the courts.
Daniel Gosselin, FCPA, FCA