Department of National Defence - Departmental Performance Report 2012-13

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Office of the Judge Advocate General

The Judge Advocate General (JAG) is appointed by the Governor in Council and carries out a statutorily-based mandate, as set out in the National Defence Act, to act as legal advisor to the Governor General, the Minister of National Defence (MND), the Department of National Defence (DND) and the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) in matters relating to military law and to superintend the administration of military justice. Military law encompasses all international and domestic law relating to the governance, administration and operations of the DND and CAF. The JAG carries out his statutory mandate through the Office of the JAG.

In Fiscal Year (FY) 2012-13 demands for JAG legal advice and services were at their highest point since the Office began tracking this data in 1998, a 5.5% increase over FY 2011-12 demands. Over the past 6 years the OJAG has experienced a continuing trend of increased service demands and it is anticipated that this trend will continue in upcoming FYs.  During FY 2012-13, as per the JAG’s Mission and Vision document, the Office of the JAG demonstrated the ability to be an agile military team of operationally-focused, globally deployable and networked professionals. This contributed to a disciplined force and to DND/CAF mission success.

During the reporting period, legal officers (including deployed legal officers) from the Office of the JAG provided legal services to CAF international operations – most notably mission transition and training operations in Afghanistan as well as strategic and operational level legal advice on maritime security and counter-terrorism operations in the Arabian Sea as part of Canada's contribution to Combined Task Force 150 through Operation ARTEMIS. Legal officers also provided legal services to CAF domestic and continental operations – including sovereignty operations across Canada’s North, assistance to Canadian law enforcement authorities such as the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO), and Canada Boarder Services Agency (CBSA), assistance to civil authorities in addressing humanitarian situations such as fires and floods, and maritime operations in the Caribbean Sea in support of US Coast Guard counter-narcotics law enforcement operations. Legal officers have provided legal advice in respect of the implementation of international agreements impacting upon CAF operations.  The Office of the JAG has also been an active participant in numerous international efforts to clarify and disseminate international law such as the recently released Tallinn Manual on international law related to cyber operations. Additionally, legal officers have been involved in the development of legislative initiatives including Bill S-10 which would implement Canada's obligations under the Convention on Cluster Munitions, Bill C-425 which seeks to amend the federal Citizenship Act and other Memoranda to Cabinet concerning potential future legislative initiatives.

The demand for legal advice and services during the planning and conduct of CAF international and domestic operations is but one expression of the emphasis that the DND and CAF places on the adherence to the Rule of Law. The Office of the JAG also provides legal advice in respect of a number of important administrative law issues. This included providing legal advice in the resolution of grievances by the final authority in the grievance process; providing legal advice in respect of creating compensation and benefits policies for CAF members and creating military HR policy and providing legal advice on the structure and organization of the CAF. The OJAG is also responsible for administering the service estates of deceased CAF service members.

Legal officers were also active in the provision of legal advice and support services within the military justice system, both at the summary trial level and as counsel before courts martial and the Court Martial Appeal Court of Canada. This high level of engagement both assisted in the further development of the military justice system as a means of fairly administering discipline and contributed to the evolution of Canadian law.

In keeping with the continuous improvement culture of the Office of the JAG, we have completed phase 1 of a comprehensive evaluative study aimed at reviewing the roles and functions served by the JAG Primary Reserve List (PRL) in advancing the JAG Mission and Vision, with a view to determining transformational measures meriting consideration for implementation in further phases.  During phase 1, a working group comprised of Regular Force and Reserve legal officers, chaired by the Assistant DJAG/Reserves, surveyed the JAG PRL organization, focusing on devolved substantive legal advisory and support roles undertaken by JAG PRL legal officers as well as organizational, governance and cultural matters of importance. Their report, delivered to the JAG in June 2012, sets a foundation for phase 2 of the study, which will involve critical analysis of the JAG PRL organization and mission in order to determine and assess potential improvements and efficiencies to achieve best utilization of these important personnel resources in furtherance of the Office of the JAG’s supporting legal advisory mandate to DND and the CAF.

Financial Resources
Financial resources
($ thousands)
Actual Spending 2010-11Actual Spending 2011-12Planned Spending 2012-13Total Authorities 2012-13Actual Spending 2012-13
Vote 1 - Salary and Personnel1 5,989 6,371 6,999 7,056 6,271
Vote 1 - Operating and Maintenance2 2,999 3,349 3,274 3,372 2,980
Sub-total Vote 18,9889,72010,27310,4289,251
Vote 5 – Capital 103 58 153 153 126
Grand total9,0919,77810,42610,5819,377
Corporate Account     
Vote 1 – Crown Liabilities 145 204 256 256 285
Grand total9,2369,98210,68210,8379,662

Source: Office of the Judge Advocate General / Assistant Deputy Minister (Finance and Corporate Services)

Due to rounding, figures may not add up to totals shown.

Notes: The difference between Planned Spending and Actual Spending for FY 2012-13 is due to the following:

  1. Salary and Personnel - The $960K variance is attributed to WFA and the inability to staff vacant positions.
  2. Operating and Maintenance - $474K variance is attributed to the cancellation, postponement or reduction in scope of several activities.
Human Resources
Regular Force 142 144 151 150
Civilian FTEs 80 87 77 82
TOTAL 222 231 228 232

Source: Office of the Judge Advocate General