Expert group recommends salary hike for provincially appointed judges

Barely two weeks after the Quebec Justice Minister and the Chief Justice of the Court of Quebec publicly clashed over competing visions on how to deal with conjugal and sexual violence, a judicial compensation committee released a report recommending sizeable salary increases for the provincial judiciary, laying the groundwork for even further friction between the executive and the judiciary.

A five-member blue-ribbon panel (pdf) of legal and financial experts recommended boosting the renumeration of Court of Quebec judges from the current $255,000 to $310,000 by July 2022, which would make them the third best paid provincially appointed judges, behind Ontario and Saskatchewan. The independent committee would have recommended a more significant increase “had it not been for the uncertainty created by the pandemic” on Quebec’ economy and public finances.

But given past history it is unlikely the Quebec government will give the green light to the salary increases. There have been seven judicial compensation committees since 1998, and the government has contested its recommendations in all but two. In almost every case, judges have had to launch legal proceedings to compel the provincial government to adhere to recommendations made by the independent committee.

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This story was originally published in The Lawyer’s Daily.

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