The Judicial Compensation and Benefits Commission was established under s.26 of the Judges Act to inquire, at least every four years, into the adequacy of the salaries and other amounts payable to federally-appointed judges under the Act, and into the adequacy of judges' benefits generally. In 2014, the Act was amended to provide that for the purposes of the inquiry the prothonotaries of the Federal Court be considered as judges.
The first Quadrennial Commission was established in September 1999, with subsequent Commissions in 2003, 2007 and 2011. This is the fifth Commission.
The Commission consists of three members appointed by the Governor in Council. One member is nominated by the judiciary, and in the case of this Commission that member is Mr. Peter Griffin. The second member is nominated by the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. In this instance, that member is Ms. Margaret Bloodworth. These two members together nominated Mr. Gil Rémillard to act as the Chair of the Commission.
Pursuant to the Judges Act, the Commission must submit a report containing its recommendations to the Minister of Justice of Canada, who shall respond to the report within four months after receiving it.
In conducting its inquiry, the Commission examines the various submissions it receives keeping in mind the following factors:
- the prevailing economic conditions in Canada, including the cost of living, and the overall economic and current financial position of the federal government;
- the role of financial security of the judiciary in ensuring judicial independence;
- the need to attract outstanding candidates to the judiciary; and
- any other objective criteria that the Commission considers relevant.