Focus On

Access to Justice


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]

Friday, February 26, 2021 @ 2:13 PM

Perceptions of racism in Ontario’s court system rising, says new report

Perceptions of racial discrimination in Ontario’s courts have actually increased over the past 25 years, despite programs geared to stamping out systemic racism in the judicial system, says the co-author of a new report from the Canadian Association of Black Lawyers (CABL), Ryerson University and the University of Toronto. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 25, 2021 @ 4:18 PM

Feds introduce legislation to bring more technology to criminal justice system David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

In a bid for a more modernized criminal justice system through lessons learned from the COVID-19 crisis, Ottawa is proposing changes that would increase remote appearances by accused people and offenders, allow videoconferencing in jury selections and widen law enforcement’s use of the telewarrants process. ... [read more]

Thursday, February 25, 2021 @ 1:58 PM

Corrections Canada building goat farm for the prisoners it’s torturing | Jeffrey Hartman

It was 3 a.m. I was awake. Sometimes I get up in the night, sometimes I don’t. But this night, at 3 a.m., I read an article. I must have fallen back asleep because I woke up in the morning and went about my day of fighting with the Department of Justice. At some point I recalled a dream. Like many people I occasionally dream about my work. This dream, though, there was something different about it. Well it turns out it wasn’t a dream: The Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is building a goat farm at Joyceville. ... [read more]

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]