The Department of Justice and Public Safety is responsible for the dual offices of:
The Attorney General, who is responsible for:
The Minister of Justice and Public Safety, who is responsible for:
The mandate of the Department of Justice and Public Safety derives primarily from the Executive Council Act. This mandate reflects the dual responsibilities of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General for Newfoundland and Labrador. While several other Canadian jurisdictions have separate ministries for Justice and Attorney General, the structure is consolidated in Newfoundland and Labrador. The Department of Justice and Public Safety responsibilities involve administering the province’s legal system. The principal components include family justice services, fines administration, support enforcement, policing, sheriff’s office, adult secure custody, adult probation services, secure youth justice services, victim services, fish and wildlife enforcement, overall administration of the Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, 2015 and administration of the courts.
Reflecting the role and authority of the Attorney General, the Department of Justice and Public Safety provides legal services to the Crown including legal advice to departments, litigation, prosecution and legislative drafting services. While the Executive Council Act is the primary legislative authority for the Department of Justice and Public Safety mandate, the policies, services and programs are also governed by 105 pieces of legislation. The Department has sole responsibility for administering 94 of those, with shared responsibility for 11.
By March 31, 2017, the Department of Justice and Public Safety will have enhanced services and responses to improve public protection and access to justice in a manner that is sensitive to the diverse needs of its clients.
In 2013-14, the department employed more than 1,573 individuals, including the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC). The overall gender breakdown for staffing in the department is approximately 48 per cent female and 52 per cent male. Additionally, pursuant to the Provincial Policing Services Agreement and the Community Tripartite Agreements, in 2013-14 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) employed approximately 431 officers and approximately 110 civilian members and support staff to provide frontline policing services in approximately 49 detachments throughout the province. Department of Justice and Public Safety officials and employees are situated throughout the province.
The Department of Justice and Public Safety employs lawyers, police officers, social workers, psychologists, counsellors, correctional officers, youth care counsellors, deputy sheriffs, fish and wildlife enforcement officers, information management specialists, administrators, financial managers, nurses, educators and administrative support staff. Efforts continue towards employment equity within sectors of justice that have historically been composed of disproportionate numbers of males to females
At the broadest level, the general public is the largest client group for the Department of Justice and Public Safety. The general public relies on the effectiveness and efficiency of the justice system to protect people’s fundamental rights, liberties and freedoms. This occurs through the full range of services and interventions available through all lines of business. Sometimes this may involve direct interventions and services to particular individuals or groups of individuals, while at other times it may mean broad ranging legal protections that serve to support a free, stable and democratic society.
Government itself is a significant Department of Justice and Public Safety client. Civil law services are provided to government departments and agencies in the form of legal advice as well as representation in litigation. Legislative drafting services are provided by the Office of the Legislative Counsel.
At the individual level, those who are accused or convicted of criminal offenses are clearly identified recipients of Department of Justice and Public Safety services and interventions. Victims of criminal offenses are also receiving increased attention and expanded service within the justice system. Victims and/or offenders may require the intervention of police, court services, prosecutions, legal aid, victim services or corrections at various times throughout the justice process. Clients of Support Enforcement rely on this program to enforce court support orders and to ensure timely disbursement of amounts owing to them through these orders.