Claiming their work defending government has saved taxpayers untold millions in potential liabilities, federal lawyers rallied in Ottawa yesterday to demand that some of those savings be directed towards their paycheques.
Across from the Supreme Court of Canada, Association of Justice Counsel president Patrick Jette said the more than 100 protesting lawyers were not satisfied with an offer of a 1.5 per cent salary increase, considering they’ve not had a cost of living adjustment since 2005.
“Since 1999 our salaries have dropped ... and now we are making less than most for the provinces, when usually we are the second-best paid after Ontario,” he said.
Federal lawyers say frozen wages are endangering the Canadian justice system and they are demanding increased wages and an independent board when their collective bargaining process goes to arbitration.
“We are losing experienced lawyers,” said AJC executive Riry Shen. “It’s hard for us to compete to bring in the best and the brightest and that’s what Canadians expect and deserve.”
Jette said federal lawyers prosecute street gang members, war criminals, handle immigration cases, and save the country millions in lawsuits.
“They may not see the benefit of the work we do, but we are doing a lot of work for the Canadian public and the government is not showing the respect that should be given to the lawyers that do that job every day.”