NWT performs poorly in study of Canadian justice systems: report

The Yellowknife Courthouse. (August, 2016)
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The Northwest Territories has performed poorly in a report card-style study of justice across the country.

The report, which was compiled by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute, studied how justice is delivered in each province and territory.

FULL REPORT: Report card on the criminal justice system: Evaluating Canada’s justice deficit (pdf)

Overall, the NWT received a grade of C, which put the territory in 11th place above only Manitoba and Yukon.

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Nationwide, the report suggests Canada is suffering from what it calls a ‘justice deficit’, or a large and growing gap between the aspirations of the criminal justice system and its actual performance.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute says the purpose of the study was to enhance accountability and transparency within Canada’s justice system for the benefit of its citizens.

All told, the Atlantic provinces and Quebec generally scored better than the western provinces and territories.

Surprisingly, some larger and more prosperous provinces like Ontario and British Columbia fared poorly, receiving grades of C+.

‘Extraordinary’ per-capita violent crime rates

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According to the report, the Northwest Territories has the highest number of Criminal Code incidents per police officer of any jurisdiction in Canada.

The territory also has ‘extraordinary’ per-capita violent crime rates that are second only to Nunavut, and its per-capita property crime rates eclipse every other jurisdiction in Canada.

But the territory performed particularly poorly in the categories of costs and resources and support for victims.

It’s believed that the NWT’s vast size, sparse population and significant crime rates played a role in those failing grades.

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It’s not all bad news though, as the territory exceeded expectations in terms of efficiency and fairness.

In terms of access to justice, the Northwest Territories had the lowest legal aid expenditure on criminal matters per crime in the country.

Prince Edward Island outperformed all other jurisdictions, registering an overall grade of B+. Newfoundland and New Brunswick rounded out the top three.justice

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