Canada's Crown counsel was historically excluded from collective bargaining under statute.
Throughout the 1990s, Canada's Crown counsel, like other public servants, were subject to a series of wage freezes, diminished promotional opportunities, and increasing staff departures. In this context, support grew for an independent body that would advocate for the interests of non-managerial Crown counsel. The AJC was formed in July 2001, following a national referendum of counsel, in which nearly 90% of the ballots cast were in favour of its creation.
On April 1, 2005, the Public Service Labour Relations Act (“PSLRA”) came into force. The PSLRA allowed Canada's Crown counsel to unionize for the first time, and the AJC applied to become the certified bargaining agent for all eligible Crown counsel on the day that the PSLRA came into effect.
The AJC was certified on April 28, 2006, as the bargaining agent for the approximately 2,600 lawyers and prosecutors who work for the federal government. Except for a small number of lawyers who had previously been represented by another union, this marked the first time that Canada's Crown counsel were able to bargain collectively.
The AJC concluded its first collective agreement in July 2010 following its first arbitral award in October 2009. For more information on terms and conditions of employment and negotiating history, please consult our Collective Agreement page or Collective Bargaining page.