2019 Judicial Compensation Commission

There is a constitutional obligation on governments to set compensation for provincial court judges and judicial justices through an independent, objective and effective commission process.

In accordance with this obligation, the provincial Judicial Compensation Act, S.B.C. 2003, c. 59 (“Act”) requires the appointment of an independent commission every three years to consider and report on all matters respecting the remuneration, allowances and benefits of provincial court judges and judicial justices. In 2015, the Act was amended to merge the provincial court judges and the judicial justices compensation commissions into a single Judicial Compensation Commission. The 2016 Judicial Compensation Commission was the first commission after this legislative change.

The 2019 Judicial Compensation Commission reviewed and made recommendations concerning the compensation (salaries and benefits) for provincial court judges and judicial justices for the period of April 1, 2020 to March 31, 2023 and delivered its final report to the Attorney General on October 24, 2019.  On November 20, 2019, the Attorney General tabled the report in the Legislative Assembly.

Commission Members

The following Commissioners were appointed to the 2019 Judicial Compensation Commission:

  • The Honourable Thomas Cromwell, C.C. (Chair)
  • Vern Blair
  • Michael Marchbank
  • Robin N. McFee, Q.C.
  • Lisa Southern

The Commission Secretary was Maia Tsurumi.

Commission Hearings and Recommendations

The Judicial Compensation Act (s. 5) stipulates that the Commission must be guided by the need to provide reasonable compensation for judges and judicial justices, taking into account all of the following:

  • The need to maintain a strong court by attracting highly qualified applicants
  • Changes, if any, to the jurisdiction of Judges or Judicial Justices
  • Compensation provided in respect of similar judicial positions in Canada, having regard to the differences between those jurisdictions and B.C.
  • Changes in the compensation of others paid by provincial public funds in B.C.
  • The generally accepted current and expected economic conditions in B.C., and
  • The current and expected financial position of the government over the three fiscal years covered by the report

The Act (in sub-section 5(5.2) also states that the Commission may consider factors it considers relevant that are not set out in subsection 5(5), but if it relies on another factor, the report of the commission must explain the relevance of the factor.

Submissions