The Department of Justice (French: Ministère de la Justice) is the department of the Government of Canada that represents the Canadian government in legal matters. The purpose of the department is to ensure that the Canadian justice system is fair, accessible and efficient. Almost all lawyers in the federal government are employed by the Department of Justice, and they are dispatched to manage the legal affairs of the other departments and agencies.
While the role of the Minister of Justice has existed since 1867, the department was not created until 1868. The headquarters of the Department of Justice is located in Ottawa at St. Andrew's Tower (275 Sparks Street), a modern low rise office tower built in 1987.
At the time of Confederation in 1867, the Province of Canada had two Crown Law Departments, one for Canada West (now Ontario) and one for Canada East (now Quebec). At Confederation, the Crown Law Department, Canada West began to act as the new Department of Justice, reporting to Sir John A. Macdonald, who was Minister of Justice, Attorney General, and the new Prime Minister. The Crown Law Department, Canada East became the new Department of the Militia, following its former Attorney General, George-Étienne Cartier.
The Department of Justice came into being in May 1868, when the Department of Justice Act was passed by Parliament. The Act formally recognized the informal structure that was already in place. The Act also laid out the distinct roles of the Minister of Justice and the Attorney General: the Minister was a partisan political adviser to the Crown, while the Attorney General provided legal services.