• 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.

  • Ontario nursing homes feed seniors on $8.33 a day

    The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care sets the per-day food amount, which currently sits at $8.33. It did move up from $7.80 in 2014 but there is still no guarantee of an increase. The ministry has marginally improved food funding over the past few years (without an annual commitment to do so), but the ongoing struggle to give residents healthy and culturally appealing meals is well documented.

  • Paralegals can save legal system from overpriced lawyers

    As long as lawyers charge extortionary rates — compounded by high overhead and outdated hourly billing practices — they will continue to price themselves out of the market, just as stock brokers did long ago. A system increasingly in disrepute needs the disruptive innovation of paralegals. They are trained, regulated, and ready to help self-represented people navigate the legal system at more affordable rates.

  • John Tory presses premier to address daycare crisis

    Tory urges… the following measures: Fund at least 4,918 new subsidies for low-income parents to help reduce the city’s subsidized child-care wait list of more than 18,000 children… make the services affordable for families, and… Embed child care as part of early learning and give kids in care the same opportunities and supports as kids in the elementary school system; also fund school boards directly for the cost of space used for early-years programs and care before and after school.

  • Why are police calling so many sexual-assault complaints ‘unfounded’?

    … police classify an average of 5,500 sexual-assault complaints as unfounded every year. That means these cases are not included in statistics about sexual assault… Experts blame inconsistent police training for the discrepancies… Unfairly dismissing their complaints as unfounded only adds to the sense that the system is weighted against sexual-assault victims from the start.

  • We are failing the community of sexual assault victims

    … the independence, detachment and consistency that are core virtues of the justice system are at the same time the root causes of one of the justice system’s most profound failures: its dramatic inability to deliver justice to survivors of sexual violence. We in the justice system value precedent, which means we tend to stick to the same old ways for far too long… we decline to listen deeply to constituent groups like sexual assault survivors because we convince ourselves they are ill-informed laypersons with suspicious agendas.