Pursuant to Standing Order 68, Keith Hutchings, MHA for Ferryland, replaces Felix Collins, MHA for Placentia & St. Mary's.

The Committee met at 9:00 a.m. in the House of Assembly.

CHAIR (Mr. Ridgley): Order, please!

Good morning, everybody, and welcome to Monday.

We will start with the introductions, just for the benefit of the people doing the recording. Can we start with the Committee, please?

MR. PARSONS: Kelvin Parsons, MHA for Burgeo & LaPoile.

MR. BUTLER: Roland Butler, MHA for Port de Grave.

MS MICHAEL: Lorraine Michael, MHA for Signal Hill-Quidi Vidi.

MR. FRENCH: Terry French, MHA for Conception Bay South.

MR. CORNECT: Tony Cornect, MHA for Port au Port.

MR. HUTCHINGS: Keith Hutchings, MHA for Ferryland.

CHAIR: Okay.

MR. ALCOCK: Ralph Alcock, Assistant Deputy Minister, Department of Justice.

MR. T. MARSHALL: Tom Osborne, Minister of Justice.

MR. BURRAGE: Donald Burrage, Associate Deputy Minister in General Counsel, Department of Justice.

MS DUNPHY: Debbie Dunphy, Director of Finance.

MR. McNUTT: Marvin McNutt, Director of Corrections and ADM on special assignment.

MS RYDER-LAHEY: Pamela Ryder-Lahey, Director of Provincial Court Services.

MR. PETTEN: Newman Petten, Provincial Director of the Legal Aid Commission.

MR. GALGAY: Jonathan Galgay, Minister Osborne's Executive Assistant.

MS GOULDING: Pamela Goulding, Acting Director of Public Prosecutions.

MS JACOBS: Heather Jacobs, ADM, Justice.

CHAIR: Thanks very much.

Just to remind everybody, if you are a new speaker at any time during the proceedings, just kind of mention your name for the benefit of the people doing the recording.

I would ask the Clerk, then, to call the first subhead, please.

CLERK: Subhead 1.1.01.

CHAIR: Shall 1.1.01 carry?

I will turn things over now to the minister. Any introductory comments?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

It is certainly a pleasure to be here this year. I am sure that some of the contingent from the Department of Justice would enjoy sitting here and some of them would just as soon not be sitting in the Legislature, but here we are.

In the interest of time, Mr. Chair, I am not going to go through every single position that has been created this year, or even go through every resource that we have going forward this year. Instead, I will touch on some of the highlights.

I will start with the Lamer commitments. This year alone we have had over $2 million committed to begin the implementation of the phased-in approach that will see all of Judge Lamer's forty-five recommendations addressed. These commitments include funding for many areas such as: criminal law, the RNC, the RCMP, the Provincial Court, legal aid services, and other areas. A total of fifty-nine new positions will be created through this implementation.

In addition to our Lamer investments, we have also put significant resources into legal aid services over and above the Lamer investments, which include investments to Child, Youth and Family Services. These initiatives have allowed us to create a family law team under the Poverty Reduction Strategy and increase hours for Aboriginal liaison workers under the Northern Strategic Plan.

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, in addition to Lamer, we have made investments there. They have a total of thirty-two new positions, they have had their block funding increased, and have their recruitment program extended for another three years.

Under Budget 2007, the RCMP have a total of twenty-two new positions and we have also increased the resources for our Inland Fisheries Enforcement Program and will be focusing more on apprehending those who poach our salmon stocks. We have five additional officers, and they will help ensure that our waters are better protected.

I am also pleased to say that the department has received approval for a total of 153 new positions, which we will obviously not list here today, but suffice it to say that the department is quite pleased with the increased resources and we will use them well.

These new positions range across a number of justice related services from fines to research analysts, court officers, privacy analysts, legal support services and more. We hope the addition of these resources will provide the services that are needed and asked for by our citizens.

We have also been involved in planning around poverty reduction and the Northern Strategic Plan. We have a family law team that will assist mostly women and children to have better access to services, while the adult alternative justice measures resources will also assist those who live in poverty.

The Northern Strategic Plan addresses many of the resources needed to improve services in Labrador, including: additions to family justice services and court services resources in coastal communities, more Crown attorneys, increased hours for liaison workers, and more.

On the capital side, we are quite pleased to announce that construction will begin soon on the new courthouse in Corner Brook and that we are beginning the preliminary planning for the new adult correctional facility and doing renovations to the RNC headquarters and annex. We hope to get our federal government to partner with us on the new correctional facility.

The Department of Justice is certainly looking forward to the implementation of the funding that we have been allotted in this fiscal year and moving forward with the many exciting projects that we have before us, some of which I have referenced and some that undoubtedly will be highlighted as we move through the questions and answers.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIR: Thank you, Mr. Minister.

We will go, then, to the Committee. The first person will be fifteen minutes and then we will do ten minute blocks after that.

Will you be leading, Mr. Butler?

MR. BUTLER: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I would like to welcome the minister and officials from his department.

I am going to begin with just a few questions line by line. The first one is under the heading 1.2.01., Executive Support, 01., Salaries. I notice that there was a reduction from what was budgeted to the revised last year and I was wondering, is this due to a position being eliminated? Then, this year I see it up to $834,000 again.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Mr. Chair, I am going to refer the questions on line by line to the departmental officials.


MR. ALCOCK: In terms of the variance between the Revised versus Budget, there was a savings attributed to the delayed recruitment of a senior analysis position, resulted in that occurrence.

In terms of budget to budget, there is a decrease in funding resulting from the reassignment of Policy and Strategic Planning Division to another area of the department. There has been no changes other than those reassignments.

MR. BUTLER: Under the same heading, 06. Purchased Services, I noticed last year the Budget was $103,000 Revised to $120,000, but under the Estimates for 2007-2008, it is just listed $2,600. I was wondering if you would elaborate on that for us?

MR. ALCOCK: That resulted from the removal of a one-time funding that was allocated for the Federal-Provincial-Territorial Ministers of Justice Conference which occurred last fall in Corner Brook.

MR. BUTLER: Under 1.2.02., Administrative and Policy Support, last year it was $566,000, Revised to $530,000, and this year it is $1.1 million in Salaries. I was wondering if you could give us an explanation on that one, sir?

MR. ALCOCK: There are a number of issues which relate to that one. It was mentioned a minute ago, it was the transfer of the Policy and Strategic Planning positions to Executive Support. We are comparing now budget to budget. The creation of a manager of Public Prosecutions and Support Services position, the Northern Strategic Plan implementation services, as well as salary increases. All of these issues make up the variance there between budget to budget.

MR. BUTLER: Thank you.

Under 1.2.03., Strategic Human Resource Management, Purchased Services, last year the Budget and Revised was in the $600,000 bracket, and this year the Estimate is for $210,000. I was just wondering why only $210,000 for the Estimate for this year?

MR. ALCOCK: The reduction there is a result of reorganization of the Human Resources divisions within government. As you are probably aware, Mr. Butler, there is a significant change in the organizational management structure of Human Resources, whereby the Human Resources functions largely have been taken from - the direct responsibility taken from departments and, as a result, you will see resulting changes to budgets.

MR. BUTLER: Under 1.2.04., Legal Information Management, under Salaries, there is an increase over last year, I think, of around $78,800. I am just wondering, is this a new position or a full-time or part-time positions?

MR. ALCOCK: Again, the budget to budget comparison results from the creation of a policy and planning analyst position in information services.

MR. BUTLER: Probably most of those could run into the same answer.

Under 1.3.01., Fines Administration, I have a question there on the Salaries as well. This year's Estimate is $784,000, whereas last year it was $541,000. I was just wondering, is that new positions as well?

MR. ALCOCK: Yes, it is, and you are quite correct. What you will see in many of the salary accounts are adjustments made, incremental funding as a result of the significant number of positions that have been provided to the Department of Justice this year. We have been quite successful over the last several years in terms of additional collections within Fines Administration. What has been approved this year is the expansion of our collection staff to try and improve upon what has already been a very successful program we started to implement about two years ago in that regard. So, yes, it is incremental positions.

MR. BUTLER: Under the same heading, 06., Purchased Services, I know last year the figure was $32,000, this year it is $190,000. I was just wondering if you had a breakdown of what that increase would be?

MR. ALCOCK: As a result of the expansion within that area we are required to do some renovations, which will be one-time renovations. As well, we have been quite cramped for space and with the addition of new positions, as well as space requirements, we will be renting additional space to facilitate our staff down at Atlantic Place.

MR. BUTLER: Subhead 2.1.01., Civil Law, under the heading Professional Services, the Budget was $2.7 million, Revised $1.1 million. I was just wondering why the reduction there? I know it is up to $2.5 million again this year.

MR. T. OSBORNE: That is under Salaries, Roland?

MR. BUTLER: No, I am sorry, under Professional Services, 05.

MR. BURRAGE: The savings were largely as a result of a decreased demand for external legal counsel on projects such as Hibernia, the Aboriginal file, Terra Nova and the health care cost recovery actions. There was a decreased need for external counsel, that was the reason for the savings. That varies from year to year and it is hard to predict.

I am sorry, the second question I -

MR. BUTLER: I am forgetting now if I asked a second question.

MR. BURRAGE: Okay, maybe I - have I answered your question?

MR. BUTLER: Yes. Maybe I did ask a second one.

Under 2.1.03., Support Enforcement, under Purchased Services again. I know last year it was budgeted $228,000 but it was Revised to only $28,000, and this year it is $437,000. That is 2.1.03.

MR. T. OSBORNE: That is under Purchased Services again?


MR. T. OSBORNE: I will answer that. Savings resulted as the funds from the Contingency Fund were not required during this fiscal year.


Subhead 2.2.01., going back to Salaries again. The increase there I think is approximately $1.2 million. I guess this is new positions being created there?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Six new Crown attorney positions, as well as a solicitor for policy development and several legal secretary positions, as well as some step progressions.

MR. BUTLER: Subhead 2.3.01., Legal Aid And Related Services, under Grants and Subsidies. I think there is an increase there of $1.5 million. I was wondering what this increase consists of?

MR. T. OSBORNE: The articling program, six students as well as three solicitors, which are commencing in January 2008. The jury trials and appeals; monitoring and progress of files; intake workers; three legal secretaries; translation of legal aid pamphlet to French, Innu and Inuit; retention of outside counsel for expert opinions; training two new solicitors, two paralegals and a social worker for Child Youth and Family Services; some additional funding to pay for increased liaison workers, worker hours; funding under the investment fund for existing projects, such as mental health, Aboriginal, French lawyer; funding for family justice services, central, which is partially offset by federal revenue, as well as enhancements to civil legal aid by establishing specialized family law teams, including one solicitor, a paralegal and administrative support.

MR. BUTLER: Thank you.

Subhead 2.3.02., Commissions of Inquiry. The Budget last year was $351,000, the Revised was $715,000 and the Estimates for this year is $151,000. I was just wondering, is there some inquiry work that has not been completed with regard to this $151,000?

MR. T. OSBORNE: That is partially attributed to the review of constituency allowances. I guess on the plus side, the review of the office of public prosecutions by retired Justice Marshall.

MR. BUTLER: Subhead 2.3.05., and that is the one under Electoral Districts Boundaries Commission. You budgeted $500,000, Revised to $180,000. I was wondering, could you explain the decrease of the $320,000 there in that particular one?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Those savings were primarily as a result of the delay of the startup of the Commission, as well as decreased travel requirements.

MR. BUTLER: Mr. Chair, those are the only ones I have there right now line on line. If you wish to move to -

CHAIR: Thank you, Mr. Butler.

For the benefit of the people downstairs, we just had another gentleman join us in the blank space that is on your chart in the front row.

Mr. Curran, if you would just introduce yourself for the benefit of the -

MR. CURRAN: My name is Chris Curran and I am the Deputy Minister of Justice.

CHAIR: Thank you, sir.

Ms Michael, would you be going now?

MS MICHAEL: Yes, thank you, Mr. Chair.

I am trying to decide if I will continue it from there or go back. I will go back to some gaps that I did not see my colleague cover, gaps from my perspective. I will not repeat anything that he asked, obviously.

Page 222, 1.2.02. I wonder, could you just explain the Purchased Services, 06., under that section? It is up considerably from last year's Budget and certainly from the Revised.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Okay, that funding relates to the Northern Strategic Plan and provides for Aboriginal justice - the justice symposium, interpretation services improvements as well.

MS MICHAEL: Okay, thank you.

Under Property, Furnishings and Equipment, is something big going on the in Justice department? Maybe what is going on now, the renovations or something else causing that to go up to $11,900? That is section 07., right under the Purchased Services.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Yes, I am not sure what that is.

MR. ALCOCK: Again, we are into a situation whereby the number of staff that we will be hiring this year has increased. We are talking about an account that is used significantly throughout the fourth floor of the Confederation Building. So, it is a modest amount of money, and I suppose the $2,300 or $2,600 would be considered very low for our requirements.

MS MICHAEL: Right. Thank you.

None of these questions are critical. It is just to find out what the money is going to, so thank you.


MS MICHAEL: Under, here it is curious, it has gone down considerably - oh, no, you have explained that one. You do not have to answer that one, I have that.

Go back up to, Grants and Subsidies, if you could explain. It started out with a Budget in 2006 at $156,500, then up to the $262,000, which has been maintained. What was that jump in 2006 that is being maintained?

MR. ALCOCK: The variance between the Revised and the 2006 Budget is attributable to increased grants related to community tripartite agreements. Community tripartite agreements are with the federal government, Aboriginal communities and the government.

In terms of the budget to budget, there is an increased base funding for the Newfoundland and Labrador Search and Rescue Association as well as a three year federal commitment, too, under a funding program by the federal government where they fund initiatives of our search and rescue group, which basically are offsets between our expenditures and the federal government contributions.

MS MICHAEL: Okay, thank you very much.

Page 225, section 2.1.01., again, I know you have a lot of increases in positions and that is why the salaries have gone up, but it would be nice to hear what the new positions in that section are, please, under 01.

MR. T. OSBORNE: The increase there is for six additional solicitors, four relative to the Child, Youth and Family Services, two for client-department responsibilities, as well as salary increases; also, some incremental increases which are temporary, and funding provided for the salary of the Director of Public Prosecutions, who is on secondment with the division while the review of the Public Prosecutions Division is being conducted. Funding was transferred from Professional Services to convert temporary positions to permanent under this category.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Minister.

Then, under 09. in the same section, what was the jump in 2006-2007 about, the $2 million extra?

MR. T. OSBORNE: That was related to a compensation issue for a wrongfully convicted individual. Funding was provided here through a special warrant.

MS MICHAEL: Okay, thank you.

Section 2.1.03., Support Enforcement, it is interesting that here there has been a drop in the Salaries in 01. under that. Maybe it is not a whole salary, actually. It is not that much money, is it? It is only about $30,000. Why has it dropped down?

MR. T. OSBORNE: It has been offset by the reallocation of previous salary funding to Purchased Services to properly reflect the relative expenditure.

MS MICHAEL: Okay, thank you.

Then, under subhead 2.1.04. on the same page, again, could I have just a quick explanation of the new positions under 01. there, please? Because I assume there are new positions.

MR. T. OSBORNE: That is for six privacy analysts.

MS MICHAEL: What is the anticipated increase in Purchased Services under 06?

MR. T. OSBORNE: That is for the funding for the printing of an annual report, privacy manuals, and the directory of information services.

MS MICHAEL: Does that not happen every year? That is not an annual report, is it? If it is, why is it gone up by $30,000?

WITNESS: This is the first year that this has occurred. This is a directory of information services associated with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Office, and this is the first time. It will happen on an annual basis, an update of the directory henceforth on a go-forward basis.

MS MICHAEL: Okay, so it is related to the new office.

WITNESS: That is correct.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you very much.

I think I have all of my questions answered on page 227.

In the budget document it points out that $250,000 more has been added for access to legal services for low-income people. How do you determine the amount of money that you would earmark as directly being more money for legal services? The $250,000 is added to how much, I guess, is what I am asking. How do you determine what is directly the cost of the access to legal services?

MR. T. OSBORNE: I will ask Newman, I think, to respond to that.

MR. PETTEN: Newman Petten, Provincial Director of the Legal Aid Commission.

One lawyer and paralegal and administrative support person this year for the Poverty Reduction Strategy is meant to do an analysis of the way we are delivering legal aid services to family law recipients, to determine if there is an unmet need and to look at some reallocation of services if we find that there is a need for new services.

MS MICHAEL: I see. So, the $250,000 is not going to be directly for new services in this budget; it is to analyze the need.

MR. PETTEN: And perhaps redirect the services to where we feel they may be needed.

MS MICHAEL: I see. So, next year, maybe, we can be looking for a result of that evaluation and maybe more monies in that area.

Thank you very much.

I have a question on page 228. It is not exactly a line question but I will ask it anyway because it is directly related to budget.

There has been basically no change in the budget for Human Rights, section 2.3.04. I am curious about this, because I have had calls in my office in the short period of time that I have been MHA. I have had at least three different groups or individuals come to me about concerns that they have with regard to Human Rights claims that they have made to the Commission, the length of time it is taking to get answers to them, all that kind of thing. Yet, there is absolutely no change under the Human Rights section.

I guess my question is: Has there been any kind of an evaluation done to determine the work that is going on inside of the Human Rights Commission and perhaps the need to increase the human resources under the Human Rights Commission?

MR. OSBORNE: I don't know if there has been an evaluation. I will ask Chris to -

MR. CURRAN: That is actually a very good question.

We have just gone through the process of hiring, as you probably know, a new Director of the Human Rights Commission, Jane Fitzpatrick, the previous executive director having gone to a new office.

One of Jane Fitzpatrick's first duties will be to evaluate the efficiencies that can be effected in the office in terms of the way the files are handled, whether or not there are enough investigators and so on. I can also say that she will have, as one of her first tasks, an across-Province tour to look at probable changes in processes that will make that office work more effectively and efficiently.

You are right; there have been some backlogs, and we have had those issues identified, and the new executive director has that as her first task.

MS MICHAEL: I am really delighted to hear that. That is really good news to me.

MR. CURRAN: You should also know that one of the proposed actions around the Human Rights Act for this year will be likely taking a second look at the act to determine whether or not - and this has been communicated by the minister to the members of the Commission - to take a look at the act to see whether or not changes and reforms are necessary to bring it in line with developments across the country.

Our current act is, in terms of its policies and procedures and processes, about twenty years old. Although there have been changes, substantive changes, procedurally it is probably time that there was a look at the act. This is one of Jane Fitzpatrick's number one tasks as she takes her new office.

MS MICHAEL: That is great. I concur with what you are saying, and I am really glad to know the minister has given the direction.

I won't do more conversation here except to say that, Minister, I really would be interested in having a chat with you and maybe your officials just to look at some of the concerns that have been brought to me, and some of the areas that maybe Ms Fitzpatrick, when she does her investigation, cross-country tour - just to be sure that some of the concerns that I have because of constituents coming to me are going to be covered; because I think some of the things that have come to me are reflections of the change in our population -

MR. CURRAN: Absolutely.

MS MICHAEL: - here in Newfoundland and Labrador over the last twenty years. The people who are coming to me, in some case, are people who are from groups in our Province who maybe were not that prominent twenty years ago, so that is very good news to me.

CHAIR: Ms Michael, if you are finished on that point we will move to another member.

MS MICHAEL: Sure. I can come back to other things after.

Thank you very much.

CHAIR: Mr. Parsons, did you want to...?

MR. PARSONS: Good morning, folks.

Just a couple of questions. I am probably all over the place here.

First of all, on fine collection, I am just wondering, Mr. Alcock, where we started with the amount of outstanding fines, when, and where we are now. You mentioned it was successful. I am just trying to get an idea of how successful.

MR. ALCOCK: On collections, if you look at the last three year period and look at total collections for the fiscal year ending in 2005, our total collections were approximately $6.4 million. That increased over the next two years to approximately $7.6 million, which is a very substantial increase. The majority of that increase relates to provincial receipts. Those provincial receipts over that period increased from approximately $4.9 million to approximately $6.2 million.

Our collection efforts that we put into this initiative that started a couple of years ago, I believe, have been quite successful and, as I mentioned earlier, Mr. Parsons, resulted in positive reaction by Treasury Board or by the government to add additional resources to that particular area to focus on collections.

MR. PARSONS: Roughly how much right now would be outstanding and owning to the Province in terms of outstanding fines?

MR. ALCOCK: I understand from the Director of Finance that it is approximately $32 million total fines, which includes third party fines as well as government-owed fines.

MR. PARSONS: That is, say, from - two years ago where was it, approximately?

MR. ALCOCK: We do not have that information right now, but certainly we will commit to providing the information, the outstanding fines of each of the last three years, both, as I say, for third party fines as well as provincial fines.

MR. PARSONS: Do any of these collection methods tie in, in any way, to Minister Sullivan's announcements about tying it in with the federal tax return system?

MR. ALCOCK: Right now, the efforts have been directed at our own internal collection by transferring any fine that is $500 or greater to the Sheriff's Office through the Supreme Court for collection activity. The collections to date have resulted through our own efforts. The federal offset program has just been triggered, so what you have seen in the past does not reflect the results of the federal offset. I think what you will find next year is that some measure of additional success could be attributed to that and we will be able to monitor that as to exactly how much we get directly through federal offset.

MR. PARSONS: Mr. Burrage, on the health care cost recovery piece, what is the status of that right now? I understand the Supreme Court of Canada has upheld the B.C. legislation.

MR. BURRAGE: Yes, they have. That is correct. We have been meeting with our counterparts across the country - in fact, there is a meeting coming up at the end of June - to formulate what I refer to as a national strategy.

Other provinces, as you may know, have also passed legislation. Some of them have actually passed it all the way through; others have it at various stages in their jurisdiction. New Brunswick has put out a call for proposals to retain an outside law firm to work for that government in advancing their claim.

Right now, we are at a discussion stage. I cannot really get into the details of those discussions, other than to say we are at a discussion stage with other provinces as to how we might collectively advance that file.

MR. PARSONS: Do we still have the arrangement with the Missouri law firm on a contingency basis?

MR. BURRAGE: Yes, we do.

MR. PARSONS: In the event of litigation they will still be -

MR. ALCOCK: Yes, we do. We still have that arrangement with the American firm, Humphrey, Farrington & McClain.


MR. ALCOCK: I know they have been in discussion with local counsel. I do not know if they have concluded an arrangement for local counsel or not.

MR. PARSONS: Mr. McNutt, on the HMP situation, I remember a few years ago there were certainly lots of incidences of overcrowding. Do we have many of those now?

MR McNUTT: The overcrowding has been quite minimal, Mr. Parsons. The overcrowding that we have is really confined to the Labrador Correctional Centre now. It is a thirty-eight bed facility, but we are accommodating approximately forty-eight to fifty inmates on any given day. That has been historically an issue for us. At HM Penitentiary the overcrowding is not nearly what it had been a few years ago even with the closure of the Salmonier institution.

MR. PARSONS: How many federal prisoners do we generally have now on any given day?

MR. McNUTT: On a given day we would have sixty to sixty-five in our custody. Most of those would be serving their full term with us.

MR. PARSONS: The Stephenville place, for example, that is pretty well all federal?

MR McNUTT: Approximately thirty-five of the fifty inmates in Stephenville would be serving federal terms.

MR. PARSONS: On the new HMP, I notice there is some money in the Budget this year for preliminary planning and so on. Has there been a commitment from the federal government to actually construct a new facility?

MR. T. OSBORNE: I will answer that.

We have had discussions with the federal minister regarding that. We have received a commitment from the federal minister that they will work with us. That is part of the reason we have the $500,000 in this year's budget, to determine the cost and scope of the project so that we can go back to the federal government and determine the level of cost sharing. At this particular stage, it is impossible to get a commitment from them on a dollar amount when we do not even know the dollar amount we are going to spend on the new facility. They have given us very positive feedback on partnering with us, but to the extent, at this particular point we are not sure until we know the extent of the funding ourselves, the makeup of the facility and whether or not we are going to allow for an increase in the number of federal inmates we will be able to house and so on. Those discussions will continue once we get further into the scope of the work and the cost of work.

MR. PARSONS: Does your preliminary work include location, scouting a location or anything? Or is that too premature at this point?

MR. OSBORNE: Yes, it is too premature at this particular point. We have had some very brief discussions internally on whether we would look at going outside of the Northeast Avalon or staying within the Northeast Avalon. I think as part of that we need to do a cost analysis on the cost of transferring inmates, court appearances and so on. I think we are looking at that piece of it internally as well to determine the cost of locating it outside. Much of our focus has been - as was with, I think, the previous Administration, not everything needs to be in St. John's and not everything needs to be in Corner Brook. Also with that, you have to balance the cost benefit of locating it outside of the Northeast Avalon and that is part of what we are doing as well.

MR. PARSONS: I guess there is the reality too in the case of the Penitentiary of the counseling services, besides the prisoner transfer and so on. That seems to be a big factor, psychological and psychiatric counseling.

MR OSBORNE: Absolutely. That is part of it. Not only inmate transfer, but all of the associated legal and professional services that would be associated with an incarceration facility as well.

MR. PARSONS: Do you have any idea when you would be in the position to have a decision that there will be a new penitentiary?

MR. OSBORNE: We can almost assure you that there will be. Obviously, we are not in a position to make that announcement yet, but with the expenditure of the funds, I think that demonstrates the commitment to a new facility. At this stage of the game now, we need to determine the cost; what it is going to look like; what types of services are going to be provided there; and the level of federal funding that will be associated with that as well. Parts of the existing facility are over 100 years old. The condition of the existing facility - it is getting harder and harder to maintain that facility simply because of the age and the services that can be provided there. It is an outdated facility.

MR. PARSONS: On the issue of compensation - Ms Michael asked a question there and you said it was for compensation - I am just wondering: Is there is anything in this year's Budget as possible compensation to Mr. Dalton as a result of the Lamer Inquiry?

MR. OSBORNE: That is something that is currently before Cabinet. If there is a compensation claim to be paid, it will probably come from a special warrant again, I would say. Don.

MR. BURRAGE: The fund for this year, the typical contingency fund, is the same as it was in previous years so there is no special allotment in that fund for Mr. Dalton or anybody else. If there was compensation, obviously it would have to come from that fund first. There is no special allotment this year for a particular claim.


CHAIR: Mr. Parsons, are you done with that point? We need to move on to another member if you are done with that point?

MR. PARSONS: Yes, sure, I will come back. Go ahead.

CHAIR: Yes, we will come back to you.

Mr. Butler.

MR. BUTLER: Thank you.

Under the heading 4.3.01., Public Protection, Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods, this is apparently a new program, the way I understand it. I am just wondering if someone could elaborate on that, how it is being set up and so on out in the various areas throughout the Province or where would this be done and what locations, that type of thing?

MR. T. OSBORNE: I think we will ask Marvin to expand on that.

MR. McNUTT: The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods program is really one that has been adopted only recently in other jurisdiction in Canada. Manitoba was the first. The objective, really, is to target properties as opposed to individuals where, in fact, activities that are deemed to be unsafe in a given neighbourhood, or in fact are illegal, are targeted, as the result of complaints we receive from the public. We would then conduct an investigation, make a determination about whether or not these activities were, in fact, taking place on that property. The director then would have a number of options available to actually preclude that type of activity. The letter, for example, which would be the first stage of the process would go to the landlord or the owner of the building advising that these activities were being conducted on his or her property and there would be an order then from the director to cease and assist.

That would be simply the first stage, but there would be other more intrusive responses that the director could undertake, including making application to the court for an order for the residents of that property to vacate.

MR. BUTLER: I know it says residential or commercial. Would that include properties like - I guess you would classify them as commercial, I do not know how they are looked at - like school properties and things like that? Would that be included in the same -

MR. McNUTT: It is more targeting the residential properties rather than a school property. It would actually be an activity such as drug trafficking or, in fact, manufacturing of drugs or illegal trafficking in other contraband such as liquor or gambling. When you are targeting a school property like that you are really looking at the person on that property who is engaged in the trafficking process. With this type of program it is the building or the area in which the activity is taking place where you are focusing your efforts.

MR. BUTLER: Just a couple of general questions, Mr. Chair.

With regard to the Department of Education - and I know we hear more about it and I hope it does not expand to where it is at - we hear talk about bullying on school property, teen violence or what have you. I am wondering: Has the Department of Education ever approached your department for guidance on how this should be approached? I know for a fact that we have seen it in many cases. I know I asked the Minister of Education last year, and it is like she said, the last ones this see this are the teachers. I am just wondering: Has your department ever been approached on some means that that could be looked at, over and above the way it is happening today. God forbid, we do not want to see what is happening away but we hear more about it. There was an incident again this week. I know there was one in a high school in my area last year. I am just wondering: Has anything taken place along those lines?

MR. T. OSBORNE: I have not been approached. I have been in the department now five or six months, whatever it is to date. I have not personally been approached but I know that both police forces are involved in some awareness at the community level and so on. Whether there has been any collaboration between Education and Justice I am not sure. Chris.

MR. CURRAN: The normal collaboration that would occur is collaboration between both police forces, the RNC and the RCMP, and the schools. Of course, that is facilitated through the department.

I think, at the present time, that is the primary mechanism that we use to deliver this message, the anti-bullying message, but there is ongoing collaboration between the forces and the Department of Education.

MR. BUTLER: My other question goes back - I think the first time I asked it was during the Estimates in 2005 and then I touched on it again last year. I did receive the answer, but I just want to come up with another question on it, and that was with regards to the dismantling of the Salmonier Correctional Institute. I know I was told in 2005 that was all turned over to Transportation and Works and so on and then last year when I asked the question, I was told that, yes, it is still with that department and they have their own lawyer.

Having worked there at one time as an executive assistant, I know that the lawyers in each department many time confer with your department, I guess, on legal advice back and forth and take a precedence of what has happened in the past.

Just one more question on that. I am wondering, has the lawyer at that Department of Transportation and Works ever consulted your department on any issue pertaining to the dismantling or anything with the Salmonier Line issue?

MR. BURRAGE: The lawyer actually at Transportation and Works is an employee of the Department of Justice.


MR. BURRAGE: So he is considered to be a lawyer of the department.

I will have to check and let you know if there has been a dialogue. There often is between counsel of course. On this particular matter, I do not recall this coming to my attention, ever actually, so I will make a commitment to check and let you know that.


My last question is, I guess, with regards to - we hear in the media, not all that often but we have, I do not know if it was this year or late last year, from time to time we hear of incidents where there is a lockdown at the Penitentiary. I guess when you are out on the street people say: Why was it locked down and so on? We hear different rumors going around that there are items getting into the Penitentiary, whether it is some form of small weapon - I do not mean guns or anything like that, and maybe so, I do not know what they are - or if it is drugs being shifted in some way or other.

I was just wondering - and this is no reflection on the people that work there. People from my district work there and they are all honourable men and women. I am just wondering if someone can elaborate. How can something like this happen and get into the Penitentiary in such a facility as that?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Well, it is an older facility. I mean there is obviously a security perimeter around the facility but often times things are thrown over the wall. There are times when inmates at the facility are allowed out on temporary absences and so on. One of the things that we are not permitted to do is, for example, body cavity searches and so on. Often times drugs and other items are brought in through those means. There are a number of ways that items can be brought into the facility.

Our record at the Penitentiary is better than many of the facilities across the country in regards to detecting these items prior to them actually getting into the inmate population, but it is very, very difficult to stop that from happening. We have a very good record at the Penitentiary of reducing the instances, but it is almost impossible because of the human rights aspect of doing cavity searches and so on, and not being permitted to do that.

MR. BUTLER: Why I asked that question, I had a gentleman from my district who was in the facility, and rightly so. It was nothing major. He was caught a couple of times, I guess, for driving infractions with not having his licence and so on. When he came out - it happened one day he was telling me, and rightly so. What I am going to say now, he was scared as hell when he was in there. He was relating some of the stories and that is why I asked that question.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Yes. It has raised other concerns as well, such as Hepatitis C, a transfer from one inmate to another. Again, our records of disease transfer at our facility are much, much better than they are at many of the facilities across the country, but, obviously, we consistently try and identify ways and means in which we can reduce those instances from happening.

MR. BUTLER: Thank you.

CHAIR: Thank you, Mr. Butler.

Ms Michael.

MS MICHAEL: Thank you, Mr. Chairperson.

Just one or two questions left. I would like to come back to the discussion on the Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods, subhead 4.3.01. First of all, just a general question to make sure I understand it correctly. Because this is focusing on property and not on individuals, I assume that the investigation would be into the owner of the properties. Is that the idea?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Yes, that is correct.

MS MICHAEL: Okay. For example, if a grow operation was happening in a building and people suspected a grow operation then you are going to the owner of the building to find out what is growing inside?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Yes. We would go to the owner of the building and it would be the responsibility of the owner then to address the concerns.

MS MICHAEL: Okay, so it is not necessarily somebody just from outside that property coming in and doing something on the property, it is actually - the activity is going on inside the building by somebody who is occupying it?

WITNESS: (Inaudible).

MS MICHAEL: Okay, I just wanted to be clear on that.

With regard to the Salaries, there was mention, I think, of the director. Does the $120,000 - that does not seem to be a lot for his staff. Is this a director with an assistant? If so, it still does not seem to be very much money for salaries, that is why I am asking.

MR. T. OSBORNE: We are allotting for six months, but by the time we get this process started we will be six months into this particular fiscal year, so I think next year you will see an increase in that particular line item.

MS MICHAEL: If I had time to read the new proposed legislation I might have more questions but I have not had time to do that yet. Just one more line item question and I think that is probably all that I have at the moment.

Section 3.1.01., Supreme Court. The Salaries have gone up by $1 million. Now I know we have done increases. I think there have been increases to the judges salaries but I am sure that has not been by $1 million. So if we could just have an explanation. Maybe it has, maybe I am wrong.

MR. T. OSBORNE: I am sorry, could you -

MS MICHAEL: Section 3.1.01, under Salaries, 01. The Salaries have gone up by $1 million over last year's Budget.

MR. T. OSBORNE: That is family justice services. The funding provides for the transfer of funding from Professional Services for family justice services positions and for the creation of, again, under family justice services, administrative positions, a legal information officer, law clerk and positions to enhance family justice services in Labrador as well.

MS MICHAEL: Good. So we are getting permanent positions rather than - in one of the pieces (inaudible) permanent positions. That is good. Thank you very much.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

CHAIR: Thank you, Ms Michael.

Mr. Parsons.

MR. PARSONS: (Inaudible) for Mr. Petten on the legal aid side. How many lawyers do we currently have with legal aid right now, and how many of those would be in Stephenville and Corner Brook?

MR. PETTEN: At present we have forty-one staff at legal aid.

MR. PARSONS: Excuse me, I did not get that.

MR. PETTEN: I am sorry, forty-one. There are four in Stephenville and four in Corner Brook.

MR. PARSONS: What is the federal government contribution at the present time to our legal aid cost?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Actually, that is a bone of contention. It probably was when you were there as well, it probably was for your predecessor and I am sure for Minister Marshall.

I think we are currently around 30 per cent, Chris?

MR. CURRAN: If you -

MR. T. OSBORNE: Not including civil law. If you include civil law you are less than 20 per cent.

MR. CURRAN: It is 19 per cent, but after this year's Budget it will probably be even a smaller amount for the federal cost share. The Province funds, currently - if you include everything, criminal and civil - over 81 per cent.

MR. T. OSBORNE: Including civil, we are less than 20 per cent, but the feds claim that they are providing us with money for civil under the Health and Social Transfer, but it does not show up as an identified line item there, per se. So, they have not been able to identify civil funding but they claim they are providing civil funding to provinces. I think we are at about 30 per cent when you do not include civil.

Historically, twenty-five years ago we were closer to 50 per cent. Prior to that, we were at 80 per cent funding. So, it has consistently been decreasing. At the Federal-Provincial Territorial Ministers' meeting last year in Corner Brook that had taken up considerable discussion. I think all parties had agreed to continue discussions along those lines.

MR. PARSONS: I ask this question every year, I am wondering if someone could undertake to provide me with a breakdown of the amount of money paid out to outside counsel and law firms during the last year, and names and amounts?

MR. BURRAGE: I have that list. I can give you the top ten. There were fifty-one firms that were retained last year for various reasons. I can read into the record, if you wish, the amounts paid to each firm.

MR. PARSONS: No, that is fine. Provide me with a copy would be fine, or table it for the record for inclusion, I guess, in the Estimates Committee would be fine.


MR. PARSONS: Thank you.

I noticed on page 226 there was reference made to the privacy analyst and six new ones - under the Access To Information And Protection Of Privacy piece, Salaries, six privacy analyst persons. Is that just for the Department of Justice analyst piece, or is that for everybody throughout government?

MR. CURRAN: These analysts are associated with the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Office, but they provide services throughout government to individual government departments. Each analyst will be assigned, I think it is likely two to three government departments, and they will assist those government departments in implementing their access piece and their readiness for proclamation into force of the privacy provisions.

MR. PARSONS: Okay. Thank you.

MR. CURRAN: We have been, I might say, extremely fortunate in the calibre and the competency of the people that we have been able to maintain and retain in this office to raise government's readiness in these areas, which, of course, are crucial to transparency and accountability.

MR. PARSONS: What would be the basic skill sets that such an analyst would need?

MR. CURRAN: They obviously would need good analytical skills. They would need good statutory interpretation skills. We have been very fortune. I think three of these individuals come with a legal background. Two come from - well, actually three, the other three. The remaining three come from other governments, the Nunavut, from Ontario, from the federal government, with previous backgrounds in Access to Information and Privacy Interpretation in government service in the public sector.

MR. PARSONS: One of my West Coast colleagues asked me to ask about paralegal positions. Are there supposed to be somewhere in the department - in amongst either the fifty-nine from the Lemar Inquiry or the other 153. Are there a certain number of paralegal positions being created, particularly in Western Newfoundland?

MR. CURRAN: Some of those paralegal positions have been created with legal aid and I could ask Newman Petten, probably, to speak to the particulars there.


MR. PETTEN: In the Budget this year there are three paralegal positions; two are associated with the Child, Youth and Family Services Project and one is associated with the Poverty Reduction Strategy. At present, we are looking at two of those being located in St. John's and one in Labrador.

MR. PARSONS: Are there any particular positions that are designated? The person is obviously confused, they had positions Corner Brook and paralegal. Are there any positions that you have created in this year's Budget that have been specifically designated to be posted in Corner Brook?

MR. BURRAGE: I do not know if this helps, of the four Child, Youth and Family Services lawyers, it is envisaged that each of those lawyers will operate from the Office of the Regional Director of Child, Youth and Family Services. One of those positions is for the Western region. Wherever the director's office is will be where that lawyer is situated.


MR. BURRAGE: It is not a paralegal position, it is a legal position.

MR. PARSONS: No, I had not heard, but this person said they heard it somewhere that there was -

MR. BURRAGE: That is the only thing I can think of on the civil side that would have a regional focus.

MR. ALCOCK: For clarity, the total number of new positions in the department is a little in excess of 150, including Lamer.


MR. ALCOCK: I could run down through a list I have here which indicates positions that would be located in Corner Brook, if you wish.

MR. PARSONS: Maybe we can table that. It would be new positions and where they might be located.

MR. ALCOCK: Absolutely.

MR. PARSONS: That would be great.


MR. PARSONS: Thank you.

With the thirty-two new hires for the RNC, what will that bring the total complement now of the RNC once these thirty-two are in the fold?

MR. ALCOCK: It is somewhat of a difficult question because of the number. What we are trying to anticipate with the RNC is the rate of attrition that will be experienced. We currently have a class at Memorial University - actually, they are in the third semester of their training program which deliver primarily at the RNC. Once those thirty are actually with the force, which will be late August or early September of this year, the approximate number of positions will be about 370. With that, we are adding an additional sixteen positions which are experienced police officers. If you add those together, depending on where we are with attrition, we are somewhere in the range of 385 positions that will be on the ground, but that is a moving target, as I am sure you are aware.

As well, we have announced that the program will be extended for an additional three years. So, we see, again, ramping up the size of the force over that particular period, but currently there is no doubt that there is work to be done in putting the appropriate number of resources into the RNC to deliver on their jurisdictional mandate.

MR. PARSONS: Do you see the training program as a continuing thing? How many cadets are you training at any given time, and how does that compare with the attrition? Will there come a time, for example, you will not need a training program at MUN?

MR. ALCOCK: Well, right now with the RNC, if you look at the demographics of the individual's length of service and age and so forth over the next five to seven years, there is a very significant ability for current officers to either retire or at least be at pensionable service - have contributed to the level of pensionable service. The question then arises as to how many of those people will actually stay on with the force and work another five to ten years, or how many of those will actually retire and move on to something else.

We see the program as continuing for somewhat an extended period. I would also add that when Memorial University partnered with us in putting the program in place in the first instance, their objective was to try and develop a program that might be more universally acceptable and therefore a training program that might be availed of by other provinces or other policing jurisdictions. That is still out there as a potential for continuing the program in addition to providing the services to the RNC.

As I think everybody is aware, there is a very considerable demand currently for police officers throughout the country.

MR. PARSONS: I am just curious. A few years ago there were significant problems with the communications equipment, particularly in the Northeast Avalon, with the RNC and the RCMP. Did we ever get things worked out to everybody's satisfaction?

MR. ALCOCK: As I am sure you are aware, the financial contribution to putting in place a new communications radio system for both police forces is very, very great. The RNC communications component of that system is working, I think, very well currently. We have expanded the RCMP component of the system to east of Gander and we have committed to the Central and Western regions of the Province over the next several years to implement the updated radio system in these areas.

As again I am sure you are aware, monies for that are actually paid for up front by the federal government under a ten year amortization schedule. It is not a direct contribution up front for the Province, but we do pay it off over a period of ten years which, as again I think you are aware, is provided for in our Policing Services Agreement with the federal government.

CHAIR: Is that okay on that point, Mr. Parsons?

MR. PARSONS: I have no further questions.

CHAIR: Okay.

Mr. Butler?


CHAIR: Ms Michael?

MS MICHAEL: No further questions.

CHAIR: Members in the back, any further questions?


In that case - we have lost the Clerk.

Ms Michael.

MS MICHAEL: I would just like to ask you a question with regard to what we have been through over the last two weeks, which has been very good. There were a number of commitments made with regard to tabling of documents in response to questions that we have asked. I am wondering if that will be tracked, because we have not - I haven't, anyway - received any of that yet.

CHAIR: I know there were in terms of tabling of documents and so on like that, and questions to be answered, and I would assume that each department would get back to the Chair and then the Chair would pass it on, but I don't have a list myself of what commitments were made.

If a member is concerned about a particular one, certainly contact me as Chair and I would go to the department.

MS MICHAEL: I wonder, would the Clerk have kept a list? Because I think it would be the Clerk's job to do that (inaudible).

CHAIR: She is writing down all the time, so I expect she probably would.

MS MICHAEL: Well, maybe the Clerk would be able to do that. I think it is difficult for us to go back -

CHAIR: I can probably speak to the Clerk in terms of that, and the commitments that were made.

MS MICHAEL: Yes, please.

CHAIR: There were a couple this morning.

MS MICHAEL: That is right.

MR. PARSONS: The only difference, Mr. Chairman, is, unlike questions to which answers are being given in the House of Assembly, which they are usually not, the undertakings given here are honoured.

CHAIR: Usually.

MR. PARSONS: No, they always are here. Any undertakings given in a Committee hearing must be honoured.

CHAIR: Yes, indeed.

I guess we will proceed without - we have a matter, before we get into calling the articles and subheads right here, the minutes of the last meeting of the Committee, which was the Department of Human Resources, Labour and Employment, and the Newfoundland and Labrador Housing Corporation.

The minutes were distributed. There will be one slight change there which would clarify that Mr. Oram sat in the Chair for about a half-hour and then I came back into the meeting as Chair. It has me listed there -

CLERK: (Inaudible).

CHAIR: Okay, we have it changed now.

I would ask for a motion to adopt those minutes, please.

MR. FRENCH: So moved.

CHAIR: Moved by Mr. French.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


CHAIR: Carried.

On motion, minutes adopted as circulated.

CHAIR: I would ask the Clerk, then, to call the subheads for the Department of Justice.

CLERK: Subheads 1.1.01. to 5.1.01. inclusive.

CHAIR: Shall subheads 1.1.01. to 5.1.01. inclusive carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


On motion, subheads 1.1.01. through 5.1.01. carried.

CHAIR: Shall the total for those subheads carry?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


CHAIR: Shall I report the Estimates of the Department of Justice carried without amendment?

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


On motion, Department of Justice, total heads, carried.

CHAIR: Thank you very much.

That concludes our Estimates, God bless us all.

Thank you again for your co-operation, members who did the questioning, and I thank the minister and his staff.

Minister, did you have any concluding remarks?

MR. T. OSBORNE: Thank you, Mr. Chair.

I just wanted to thank all members of the Committee and all officials with the Department of Justice, and the House officials as well, for making the Committee today flow very smoothly. You were not too critical or too hard on me, so I thank the members of the Opposition as well.

CHAIR: Thank you.

Motion to adjourn?

MR. FRENCH: So moved.

CHAIR: Moved by Mr. French.

All those in favour, ‘aye'.


CHAIR: We are adjourned.

On motion, the Committee adjourned.