The Saint-Jean-Baptiste long weekend ended with frustration for
judges sitting on the Tribunal Administratif du
As this article outlines, TAQ judges recently walked out on
labour negotiations with the government. In early May, nine
out of the ten judges tasked with coordinating the negotiations
resigned from their administrative duties. Presently, the
matter is before the Quebec Court of Appeal, which has just
authorized the government to present a position paper by August
The TAQ dispute is the most recent in an increasingly long list
involving actors in the Quebec justice system and the Quebec
government. Just one week ago, the Quebec government and the
Association des jurists de l'Etat (a union which represents
government-employed lawyers and other legal professionals)
effectively ended their labour dispute by ratifying an agreement
reached in principle last year. These actors voted 85% in
favour of an agreement that sought to raise their compensation in
line with the Canadian average. Prior to that, a bitter
dispute between Crown Prosecutors and the government ended with the
government conceding to a 20% pay increase for the Crown
Prosecutors in exchange for these actors relinquishing their right
Amid these grievances, Quebec judges have also been quietly
lobbying for increased remuneration. In March of last year, a
judicial compensation committee comprised of legal and financial
experts recommended a modest pay increase for provincially
appointed judges. As
this article states, there have been four such compensation
committees since 1998 (excluding this latest one). The Quebec
government, for its part, has been largely unresponsive to such
recommendations and, in the process, has strained its relationship
with actors in the Province's legal system. The
government has founded its reluctance on a platform of fiscal
In light of the above, perhaps it is no surprise that pay lies
at the root of the TAQ judges' discontent. Citing the
growing discrepancy between their remuneration and that of
provincially appointed judges, the judges are demanding the
creation of an independent committee to review the judges'
this article, provincial and municipal court judges were paid
just over $220,000 and $191,000 on average respectively in
2010. By contrast, TAQ judges receive lower salaries on
average and, in some instances at least, salaries are actually
decreasing. One TAQ judge recently disclosed that he earned
$126,000 in 2009 but now only earns $118,000.
Some commentators feel that this most recent dispute has further
entrenched the acrimonious relationship between the Quebec
government and its principle legal actors.
As one critic has noted, "(t)he signals sent by the
government is that justice plays a rather relative role in the
Quebec state." For members of the TAQ, their next move
will likely have to wait until after the government files its
position paper on August 1st.
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