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Province invests funds in eastern Ontario justice system

Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 12:28 PM | By Carolyn Gruske

The provincial government is spending over $7 million in an attempt to improve access to justice in eastern Ontario and the capital region.

Part of the funds will go to a pilot project to connect defence counsel via video link with their clients in custody at the Ottawa-Carleton Detention Centre to reduce unnecessary court appearances and delay. This was enabled by the investment in increased video capacity at the Ottawa courthouse.

Other improvements that fall under the scope of this funding include adding upgraded security features to the Ottawa courthouse and paying for renovations at the County of Carleton Law Association space at the Ottawa courthouse.

Additionally the province has taken steps to systemic changes to ensure francophone and Indigenous communities have equal access to justice services.

Throughout 2017 and thus far in 2018, the province has:

  • appointed a new and permanent French language advisory committee chaired by Justice Paul Rouleau, to identify and help reduce barriers in the justice system faced by French speakers
  • created a new French language continuing professional development centre in collaboration with the University of Ottawa, where legal professionals can obtain accredited training in French
  • supported the opening of Ontario Court of Justice’s Indigenous Peoples Court in Ottawa
  • funded two Gladue writers and two Gladue after care workers in Ottawa
  • developed and launched an Indigenous bail verification and supervision program in a number of locations, including the Odawa Native Friendship Centre, which is working with the John Howard Society to provide culturally appropriate programming.

“Our investments in eastern Ontario reflect our strong commitment to level the playing field and ensure that everyone in Ottawa and across Ontario have access to a justice system that is efficient, modern and responsive to their needs,” said Attorney General Yasir Naqvi