“Not every person alleged to have committed an offence need be prosecuted. Alternative measures […] enable[s] […] organizations to take responsibility for offences in certain circumstances without going through judicial proceedings.”
– Public Prosecution Service Deskbook, Section 3.8(1)
On August 28, 2019, the Government of Canada amended the Fisheries Act, to allow the use of Alternative Measures Agreements (AMA) to give accused persons and the prosecution the ability to address Fisheries Act offences outside the traditional court prosecution process.
An accused may enter into an AMA with the Attorney General as an alternative to court prosecution for certain charges under the Fisheries Act, subject to the conditions listed under section 86.2. An AMA diverts an accused person away from the court process as the Attorney General must either “stay” (i.e., suspend) the Fisheries Act charge or seek an adjournment of the proceedings for up to one year after the expiry of the AMA. Although a useful tool, AMAs are not available in every instance, as the Attorney General must first consult with the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans (and their officials) to seek policy advice before negotiating an AMA. Chapter 7 of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act: compliance and enforcement policy regarding “Environmental protection alternative measures” provides some insight as to some of the policy considerations the Minister could take into account in the case of an AMA.
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This piece was originally published on dentons.com