7 staff to lose jobs when Lloydminster provincial court converts to circuit point on Sept. 1

·2 min read
The Opposition NDP says the decision does not bode well for access to justice. (Saskatchewan Law Courts - image credit)
The Opposition NDP says the decision does not bode well for access to justice. (Saskatchewan Law Courts - image credit)

Big changes are coming to the provincial courthouse in Lloydminster.

On Sept. 1, it's being converted from a full-time court location to a circuit point. This means that court appearances will still happen there, but judges, some staff and files will be moved to North Battleford. Staff will then travel to Lloydminster on the sitting days, according to an email from the Ministry of Corrections, Policing and Public Safety.

The court will still hear Lloydminster matters on Mondays and Thursdays, and cases from Onion Lake and Maidstone on different days.

Seven jobs will be lost, the email confirmed. Three are being cut outright and four term positions will be ended early.

"It's incredibly disappointing to see this happen, it's definitely a step backwards," said Opposition NDP justice critic Nicole Sarauer.

Sarauer said she is dismayed by the staff losing their jobs, but also how the larger community will have less access to judicial services, even though the scheduled sittings remain the same.

"When the judge isn't sitting, it's not a court sitting date, that's not necessarily meaning that the court staff aren't still there, accessible to the public," she said.

"Accepting matters, answering questions that the public may come in and ask in between those court dates. So that physical presence will no longer be there and that's the real access-to-justice issue."

Dawn Blaus with Courts of Saskatchewan said the decision was made as part of a routine review of operations.

"This particular change strengthens the Court's capacity in the mid-west area of the province by centralizing judicial resources, which permits better sharing of workloads and streamlined scheduling, in turn improving the court's ability to respond to community needs and decide cases in a timely manner," she said in email.

There are 61 court circuit points around the province.

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