The large and growing gap between the aspirations of Canada’s justice system and its actual performance requires a regular report card on Canada’s justice system. Canadians should have a system that protects the safety, lives and property of Canadians by promptly and thoroughly investigating crimes while enforcing the rights of victims. For that reason, MLI undertakes a Justice Report Card that reviews the criminal justice system across Canada.
How well is Canada’s justice system serving Canadians? It is a question that isn’t asked often enough and has never been adequately answered. To that end, MLI’s Report Card on the Criminal Justice System project analyses the performance of the justice system in Canada in a way that will shake up the judicial establishment.
With MLI Senior Fellow and UBC law professor Benjamin Perrin as lead author and a team of statistical and legal experts including Memorial University economist Rick Audas, MLI looks at key measures, including access to speedy trials, recidivism rates, rates of mistrials and errors by police or prosecutors, costs of maintaining prisons, access to legal representation, and more to determine whether those who are accused of crimes are treated fairly, and whether other Canadians can depend on the courts to keep them safe.
The justice system in Canada, including both civil and criminal matters, is massive both in terms of the number of people actively involved in it, the cost associated with running it, and in terms of its importance in ensuring that Canada is a free and safe society where the rule of law is respected and disputes can be resolved efficiently and fairly. Yet, the system is opaque and largely unaccountable.
The justice report card project was first launched in 2016 - first with a paper making the case on the"justice deficit" and the need for a report card, then with the first report card itself. The second report card was released in March 2018, and has generated extensive media attention in numerous provinces and territories across Canada.
In addition to updating provincial grades, the second Justice Report Card examines nationwide statistics to explain how Canada is doing as a whole. The assessment of each province and territory's criminal justice system is based on five major objectives: public safety, support for victims, costs and resources, fairness and access to justice, and efficiency.
As part of the second report card, we have an interactive Canada-wide map detailing the latest criminal justice system grades for each province and territory.