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To address issues raised by the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association, Alberta’s government met with the association throughout April to determine a path forward. As prosecutor pay was an issue, a comprehensive analysis of market rates across the country was completed. It showed that prosecutor compensation was noticeably lower in Alberta.
As a result, Alberta’s Crown prosecutors will receive market adjustments to make their pay competitive with other provinces and the federal prosecution service. Now, Alberta will be able to attract new prosecutors and keep experienced prosecutors, which is critical to an effective criminal justice system.
Over the next few months, the government will engage with the Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association on a framework to build a strong working relationship. Additional supports for Crown prosecutors will be explored, including looking at the possibility of dedicated on-call mental health professionals who specialize in trauma and post-traumatic stress.
“I want to extend my thanks to Alberta Crown Attorneys’ Association for their advocacy on behalf of Alberta’s Crown prosecutors. Paying Alberta’s Crown prosecutors a market rate is critical to ensuring that we have the best and brightest on the job conducting criminal prosecutions on behalf of Albertans.”
“We are focused on bringing our per capita spending in line with other provinces. That also means ensuring salaries in the Alberta Crown Prosecution Service are competitive so we can retain and attract the most experienced and capable prosecutors to keep criminal matters moving through the courts and ensure our justice system serves Albertans.”
- The new salary grid is in addition to other recent steps to make Alberta’s Crown prosecutor salaries competitive:
- First put in place in 2015, the multi-year salary freeze was lifted at the end of 2021, which raised the pay of more than 100 Crown prosecutors.
- A reclassification of 35 Crown prosecutors increased their pay to a more appropriate salary scale this spring.
- To help prosecutors with their workload, Alberta’s government committed to hiring 50 new Crown prosecutors and created the 50 positions needed to meet our commitment:
- Progress is being made, with 35 more trial prosecutors in place now than in 2019.
- There are ongoing job competitions to backfill vacancies as staff come and go, just as they do in other organizations.
- Alberta’s government also more than doubled the number of articling positions (from fewer than 10 to 20) as part of growing the ranks of Alberta prosecutors and filling vacancies.
- While courts across the country face more cases than time and resources to quickly hear them, Alberta is taking action to address the backlog in general and the workload of prosecutors:
- Pre-charge Assessment – police consult with the prosecutor prior to laying charges. Early estimates show an average reduction of 20 per cent of cases entering the system where pre-charge has been implemented.
- Justice Transformation Initiative Phase 1 – diverts first time impaired driving charges out of the courts that do not involve injury or death. Analysis shows a workload reduction equivalency of 10 prosecutors.
- Alternative Measures Program – holds people to account in a way that diverts accused from the traditional criminal justice system, thereby freeing up prosecutors and other court and justice system resources.
- Super Screening – increased focus on resolution of suitable files before trial.
- Triage Protocol – prioritizing more serious offences.
- Creative hiring and advertising strategies to fill vacancies – targeted advertising and retention bonuses for northern locations.