Welcome To
Acadia Broadcasting NewsThe Latest and Greatest ContentYour Trusted Local Source


The Saint John Law Courts building. Image: Brad Perry

N.B. Crown prosecutors vote for strike action

By Brad Perry May 27, 2024 | 1:46 PM

New Brunswick Crown prosecutors and family Crown counsel have voted in favour of strike action.

A strike vote last week delivered a 99 per cent strike mandate, according to the New Brunswick Crown Prosecutors Association.

The vote came amid what the association executive described Monday as a recruitment and retention crisis.

“The current crisis that we’re experiencing on retention and recruitment, especially retention of senior lawyers, has a direct impact on public safety,” Vice-President Yves Duguay said in an interview.

Last year, the province announced plans to hire 30 more prosecutors for criminal cases, bringing the total to around 90.

However, according to Duguay, more than 20 positions are currently vacant throughout the province, many in the Moncton region.

Duguay, who is a Crown prosecutor in northern New Brunswick, said they simply do not have enough prosecutors or supports to do their jobs.

“If we are in a situation that we can’t meet our obligations because of the crushing workload that we’re experiencing, that’s an urgent need that needs to be addressed,” he said.

The association is worried that without a proper plan in place, more experienced prosecutors will leave and the crisis will worsen.

Negotiations have been ongoing for more than a year, according to the association. Their last agreement expired in September.

Duguay said despite the strike vote, they are still committed to reaching an agreement with the province.

“It’s just that the message needs to be heard that there needs to be some work to be done to try and fix this recruitment and retention problem. Half measures won’t cut it,” he said.

Conciliation meetings between the employer and the union are scheduled to take place in mid-June.

In a statement, the Department of Justice said it remains in active bargaining with the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), which represents Crown prosecutors.

“The parties have not yet exhausted the collective bargaining process under the Public Service Labour Relations Act and the parties are not at a point where a legal strike vote can be taken,” said the spokesperson.

“We value the work of all employees and will respect the bargaining process and confidentiality.”