Focus On

Access to Justice


Monday, March 08, 2021 @ 11:45 AM

Time to decriminalize all drugs | Adriana Ortiz

The pandemic has been hard for many people without a doubt. However, it has had a disproportionate impact on certain communities. As many reports have shown, those from racialized communities, through job losses and pay cuts, have faced financial instability and are more likely to contract COVID-19. As the pandemic tore through our country, many of our most vulnerable communities have been affected by mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety and substance use. ... [read more]

Friday, March 05, 2021 @ 12:27 PM

Does a judge’s physical location matter? Two stick figures conferring online

In the past weeks, there have been suggestions that judges of both the Ontario Superior Court and the Ontario Court of Justice have been hearing matters while outside the country. This is causing great debate about whether this should be allowed and whether it even can be allowed. ... [read more]

Friday, March 05, 2021 @ 11:35 AM - Last Updated: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 @ 3:40 PM

Moving away from animals as commodities, one pet at a time | Victoria Shroff

It would not occur to most people that their furry family member, their companion animal, their pet, could be seen as a consumer product, a good. However, another area of law where it has been starkly held that animals are property, involves animal breeders and purchasers of companion animals. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 04, 2021 @ 12:54 PM

Problems with indeterminate sentencing Colourful handcuffs

Judges face tough choices in their careers. Determining the guilt or innocence of a party is one of the hardest things to consider. The power of the state being wielded against an accused party is significant. The stakes are always high. This is one of the reasons that the onus on the state is so significant. Proof of guilt on beyond any reasonable doubt protects innocent parties from being punished. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 04, 2021 @ 10:16 AM

Texas deep freeze shows us why climate change is justice issue Man sleeping on snowy bench

Every day, greenhouse gas emissions from human activities trap more heat energy in the global climate system, disrupting the climate and increasing the frequency and severity of extreme weather events. The Texas deep freeze illustrates the implications of these trends for justice actors. In short, Texas helps to show us why climate change is a justice issue. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 04, 2021 @ 9:15 AM

Agenda offers ‘roadmap to action’ on revamping justice system in British Columbia: bar association CBABC president Jennifer Brun

Despite the watershed (and much-needed) change foisted on the justice sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Bar Association, B.C. Branch (CBABC) says much more needs to be done to improve access to the system. It has now set out a plan of action for the province to achieve that goal. The CBABC’s Agenda for Justice 2021 offers more than 40 recommendations in 22 key areas and essentially runs the gamut of the entire justice system, from legal aid to court modernization to contracts. ... [read more]

Wednesday, March 03, 2021 @ 3:25 PM

Lawyer competence, diversity issues focus for new Alberta law society president Law Society of Alberta president Darlene Scott

The new president of the Law Society of Alberta says she is looking forward to tackling issues of competency and diversity in the profession during a year in which the COVID-19 pandemic will still produce challenges. ... [read more]

Wednesday, March 03, 2021 @ 1:57 PM

View from trenches: Ramifications of restrictive bail conditions during COVID-19 Person sitting alone in dark hallway

As lawyers, we are constantly bombarded by multiple sources of information, whether it be through jurisprudence, legal commentators, researchers, experts or professors. Everyone has a narrative and a perspective through which the story is told. As a practitioner, I wanted to share an experience I had, direct from the trenches of criminal defence bail work during COVID-19. ... [read more]

Wednesday, March 03, 2021 @ 9:44 AM

Ontario lawyers’ groups monitoring judge selection process as new law looms, leaders say Charlene Theodore, president, Ontario Bar Association

Ontario’s two largest lawyers’ associations will be watching carefully to assess what impact new legislation from Queen’s Park will have on the impartiality of the province’s judicial appointments process, their leaders say. Bill 245, the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021, is currently before the legislature and is expected to pass later this month. ... [read more]

Tuesday, March 02, 2021 @ 1:23 PM

Humble but unforgettable client | Ken Hill

A short elderly man (one of the few I have met who could aptly be described as roly-poly) entered my office, accompanied by a faint odour of mothballs. I couldn’t have known at the time that I was about to meet one of my all-time favourite clients. ... [read more]