Focus On

Access to Justice


Wednesday, February 24, 2021 @ 3:08 PM

Federal inmates facing harsher conditions compared to pre-COVID circumstances: report

Canada’s correctional investigator is calling on the federal government to focus on the early release of elderly and medically compromised inmates who pose no undue risk to society as it continues the fight against the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. ... [read more]

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 @ 2:33 PM

Lawyers and the OBA: Come blow your horn | Gary Joseph

In the midst of this pandemic, public confidence in government and various institutions has been strained (to put it mildly). At every turn it seems that our political leaders are failing us. The federal government’s vaccine response reminds me of the Keystone Cops skits of old. The operation of “Cottage Parliament” by our prime minister strikes many as an affront to democracy. Our provincial government’s shutdown policies are inconsistent and hard to understand. In all of this, certain segments of our society have bucked the trend and performed wonderfully. High on my list is the Ontario Bar Association (OBA). Full disclosure: I am a member but have absolutely no involvement in management of the OBA. ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @ 1:22 PM

Animals treated as property under law in ‘pet custody’ cases A dog's paw stacked with people's hands

I am writing this on Family Day, 2021, and animals are still property under the law even if the vast majority of people consider their companion animals, pets, to be family. Save for a few outlying cases over the years that are usually not followed, judicial decisions revolve around companion animals as personal property, of ownership. We do have court cases in Canada going back 40 plus years where “joint custody/access” and “best interest” considerations have been considered by our courts. (For more information, please see: Creativity called for in dog, cat, custody battles.)  ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @ 1:15 PM

The opioid crisis: Assessing Canada’s hidden epidemic | Serena Eshaghurshan

In my previous article, I discussed various socioeconomic disadvantages that serve as systemic barriers to equitable access to justice outcomes. Marginalized and vulnerable segments of our population are disproportionately affected by adversity and hardship, both internal and external to the legal system. However, such disparity is not wholly limited to the justice system. In this article, I will discuss the effect of such disparities in the context of Canada’s opioid crisis. ... [read more]

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 @ 9:32 AM

New law society boss prepares for post-pandemic future Leah Kosokowsky, CEO of the Law Society of Manitoba

New Law Society of Manitoba chief executive officer Leah Kosokowsky has been handed the baton of leadership during unprecedented times for the regulator. In a recent interview with The Lawyer’s Daily, Kosokowsky talked of the road going forward as the Law Society of Manitoba (LSM) continues its efforts to navigate the social and economic impacts of COVID-19, as well the need for the society to keep an eye on a stalled legislative bid to expand the roles of paralegals and other non-lawyer practitioners in the province. ... [read more]

Monday, February 22, 2021 @ 2:34 PM

Saskatchewan court shelves upcoming jury trials Martel Popescul, Chief Justice of Saskatchewan's Court of Queen's Bench

Saskatchewan’s Court of Queen’s Bench is postponing all April jury trials as the prairie province continues to battle the spread of COVID-19. In a Feb. 18 directive, Chief Justice Martel Popescul states that, effective immediately, all jury trials scheduled to start between April 1 and April 30 “will be postponed.” ... [read more]

Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 1:23 PM

Has the litigation culture shift happened? Dial pointing to "New Way"

In 2014, the Supreme Court of Canada issued a judicial clarion call in Hryniak v. Mauldin 2014 SCC 7. The court required a litigation “culture shift” in Canada, requiring the judiciary and lawyers to apply more efficient modes of resolving parties’ disputes. ... [read more]

Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 1:08 PM

Defending Canada’s environmental assessment law | Devon Page and Joshua Ginsberg

The week of Feb. 22, Premier Jason Kenney’s constitutional challenge of Canada’s Impact Assessment Act (IAA) will be heard in the Alberta Court of Appeal. ... [read more]

Friday, February 19, 2021 @ 10:01 AM

No turning back from pandemic’s changes to justice system: CBA report CBA president Brad Regehr

When transmitting the first message to officially open the Baltimore to Washington telegraph line, Samuel Morse included a simple statement: “what hath God wrought?” The same question has likely passed through the minds of many people over the past year as the COVID-19 pandemic shuttered businesses and schools and forced many people into makeshift home offices. Canada’s justice system has not been immune from that change, with trials moving online and lawyers filing their documents electronically. And now the Canadian Bar Association (CBA) says it is time to make many of those changes permanent. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 18, 2021 @ 3:56 PM

Bill C-22 important step forward, allows judges to judge Men walking out of bird cage

On Feb. 18,  the federal government tabled Bill C-22, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. The proposed amendments made in this Act are significant. It eliminates mandatory minimum sentences for a variety of offences. It allows judges to judge. ... [read more]