• It’s high time to track and reduce the use of solitary confinement

    Among his recommendations: That the province set a standardized definition of segregation so it can properly track it. That a new tracking system be created that actually works. That independent panels review all segregation placements — with an onus on the ministry of community and correctional services to show that each placement is justified…

  • Ontario program targets child sex trafficking

    The province is in the midst of a sweeping overhaul of its child protection system. Part of that rebuilding includes money for six new youth transition workers aimed at helping keep youth in provincial care from becoming trapped in “The Game.” … The six new jobs that Ontario is funding, each at $70,000 a year, are located in the Greater Toronto Area, the Golden Horseshoe, Ottawa, Windsor, London and Thunder Bay — all areas the province describes as “hubs” of human trafficking.

  • Liberal budget’s child-care funding commendable, but won’t help families any time soon

    The first four years amount to about half a billion dollars each to be added to an annual system which, even in its current woeful state, costs provinces $4.2-billion… Child-care experts estimate that it would actually cost closer to $12-billion a year – from all governments – to run a system which, to quote Ottawa’s current buzzwords, would be “accessible, affordable and flexible.” … “The resources will have the most impact if we start with those who are most vulnerable.

  • Parents won’t have social assistance slashed if kids placed in temporary care

    The policy change by the Ministry of Community and Social Services lets these parents keep their full benefits until a court decides whether their children will be kept permanently in care. The benefits will only get reduced if the children are made Crown wards. The ministry will also reinstate full benefits to parents whose children are currently in temporary care…

  • Ontario father paying twice his after-tax monthly income to his ex-wife

    … this 51-year-old man, who now earns about $65,000 a year (or about $5,400 a month before taxes)… continues to labour under the punitive family court decision from 2012 which ordered him to pay $6,866 a month in child and spousal support. His former wife, a teacher with the Toronto District School Board, has been back working full-time for two years; she earns an estimated $100,000 in pay and benefits. Yet every month, Rob is supposed to pay her $4,000 in spousal support and another $2,866 in child support — about $1,400 more a month than he earns.

  • Getting to the root of Ontario’s family law mess

    … Ontario’s family law system is utterly broken… How is it that these courts remain the expensive, convoluted, soul-crushing places they have become and how is that the players have allowed it to become normalized? … the lawyers involved, who have a duty to act in the best interests of the child and so often don’t. And judges ostensibly have control of their courtrooms; why won’t they exert it?

  • Preliminary inquiries: Let judges make the call

    The intelligent compromise is this: since they have limited residual utility, there should be no preliminary inquiries unless whoever wants one first convinces a judge it is necessary in the interests of justice, following which it cannot be taken away. Judges know best when their courtroom is used well or poorly. Given the chance, judges will manage courtroom time effectively.

  • A leader to improve our legal system

    In addition to expanding the role of paralegals, the government could transfer many basic legal issues such as employment and motor vehicle claims from the courts to speedier and more efficient administrative tribunals. It could review legislation to reduce reliance on lawyers altogether through proven innovations such as expanding no-fault compensation for accident victims and installing default safeguards in real estate and testamentary transactions.

  • Paralegals in family courts ‘not the solution,’ Toronto judge says

    As complexity and demand have gone up, resources, especially legal aid, have gone down… this environment has led people to be prepared to expect to come to court without a lawyer and represent themselves because there’s no reasonable cost alternative. “We need a properly funded legal aid plan and that’s always been the answer.”

  • Meet the grandma who lost 3 grandkids over a home that needed repairs

    When a child protection worker walked into Marlene’s home in Toronto, two things were immediately obvious: the love between Marlene and her grandchildren was profound, and her broken-down home was unsafe… The repairs cost her $3,000, a debt she is slowly trying to repay while falling further behind in her property tax payments. A contractor would have charged more, but nowhere near what it cost Ontario taxpayers to keep Marlene’s three grandchildren in foster care for a year — about $50,000.