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TLA responds to "Improving Access to Justice for Families" Report
UPDATE: Read the March 20th press release from TLA President Melanie Manchee.
Justice Bonkalo has released her Family Services Review, Improving Access to Justice for Families: Making the Family Court System Easier to Navigate, that addresses the provision of legal services by persons other than lawyers. It makes many recommendations for improvements to the system to provide better access to justice for litigants.
LSUC Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group
As part of its ongoing efforts to promote equity, diversity and inclusiveness in Ontario's legal profession, The Law Society of Upper Canada created the Challenges Faced by Racialized Licensees Working Group (the “Working Group”) in 2012 to identify the challenges faced by racialized lawyers and paralegals and consider strategies for enhanced inclusion at all career stages.
Letter to Minister Wilson-Raybould on Judicial Shortage
The Toronto Lawyers Association (TLA) says a crisis in the justice system is looming because of an "unprecedented" number of judicial shortages and is urging Federal Minister of Justice Jody Wilson-Raybould to take “immediate action."
Pathways Pilot Project Evaluation and Enhancements to Licensing Report
As part of the Law Society’s priority to strengthen the licensing process, the Pathways Pilot Project has been evaluated in a report that outlines a number of recommendations. The Pathways Pilot Project Evaluation and Enhancements to Licensing Report was presented to Convocation on September 22, 2016 and comment from the professions was sought. TLA provided comment in a letter to the Treasurer of October 19, 2016. Read the submission here.
The Professional Development and Competence Committee is now reviewing submissions. The Committee’s final report will be provided to and deliberated at Convocation on November 9, 2016. This Convocation will be webcast.
LSUC Consultation re Advertising and Fees
In response to concerns that have been expressed to the Law Society, the LSUC's Professional Regulation Committee struck a Working Group on Advertising and Fee Arrangements. The Working Group held preliminary consultations with a broad cross-section of the profession through a series of focus group sessions. The TLA participated in this process. The Working Group sought input from the profession with respect to a number of issues which were identified as potentially requiring a regulatory response. The issues include advertising and fees in real estate law and personal injury law, contingency fees and referral fees. Click here for a list of the specific issues. Click here for a link to the Professional Regulation Committee Report.
The TLA gathered input from its membership and submitted feedback to the Working Group on licensee advertising and fee arrangements via a letter from the President, Stephen Mullings. Read the submission here.
A message from the President of the TLA: Legal Aid threshold is woefully inadequate
Justice Ian Nordheimer’s recent ruling in the case of Tyrell Moodie broadcast to the outside world what litigants, lawyers, judges and governments have known for quite some time –the legal aid system, in particular the ‘poverty’ threshold to obtain legal aid, is woefully inadequate and out of line with the economic challenges facing accused persons in the province, specifically Toronto.
Stephen A. Mullings
Call for Input on Compliance-Based Entity Regulation
The Law Society of Upper Canada has put forth a proposal to institute compliance-based entity regulation of lawyers and paralegals premised upon the LSUC identifying practice management principles and goals and setting expectations in broad parameters. The LSUC will also take responsibility for providing the necessary tools to assist lawyers and paralegals in understanding, implementing and maintaining these principles and in meeting expectations. TLA submitted comment on the proposal to the Policy Secretariat of LSUC. Read the submission here.
Proposed Revisions to Licensing Process for New Lawyers
TLA learned of the Law Society of Upper Canada's proposal to change the licensing process for new lawyers. The proposal outlines a reduction in time for the traditional articling duration as well as a reduction in the licensing examination hours. TLA responded to the proposal by requesting time to review the full details and consult with its membership. Read the letter to the LSUC Treasurer here.
Remuneration of Case Management Masters
TLA responded to the final report of the Case Management Remuneration Commission, expressing support for the conclusions that Case Management Masters should receive equal salary, pension and benefits to those paid to Provincial Court judges. Read the submission here.
TLA Responds to the Joint AG/LSUC Launch of Family Legal Services Review
The Toronto Lawyers Association looks forward to working with Justice Bonkalo on this important initiative. We will be responding to the AG’s request for input from the public, as well as meeting with, and making submissions to Justice Bonkalo. In its submissions, the TLA will emphasize the importance to the public of accessing competent and qualified legal services while at the same time ensuring individuals receive genuinely enhanced access to justice to resolve their family law disputes.
The Ministry of the Attorney General’s Consultation document Expanding Legal Services Options for Ontario Families is available for your review.
The Ministry’s News News Release, Province Seeking Feedback To Make Family Legal Services More Accessible: Honourable Justice Bonkalo to Lead Family Law Review, is also available.
Consultation on the Representation of Children under the Family Law Rules
The Toronto Lawyers Association was invited to give input with respect to the serious issue of representation of children under the Family Law Rules. A copy of the TLA submission is available here.
Ontario Proposed Legislation for Street Checks Consultation
The Toronto Lawyers Association responded to the opportunity to comment on the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services consultation regarding Ontario’s Proposed Regulation for Street Checks. A copy of the letter of comment is available here.
Safety in Cells at 361 University Courthouse
The Toronto Lawyers Association was apprised of some facts concerning the safety of prisoners and correctional officers at the 361 University Court House. In response, the TLA sent a letter to the Attorney General, the Hon. Madeleine Meilleur. A copy of the letter is available here.
Courts of Justice Act (CJA)
The Civil Rules Committee is interested in hearing from stakeholders on the issue of whether to recommend an expansion to the definition of "health practitioner" under section 1OS of the Courts of Justice Act (CJA). This section of the CJA indicates that a court may order a party to an action to undergo a physical or mental examination by a "health practitioner" where the physical or mental condition of a party to a proceeding is in question. The current definition of "health practitioner" includes those licensed to practice medicine, dentistry or psychology. There is some concern that this definition may be too narrow and may limit the Court's ability to order examinations by other health professionals or qualified experts. The Consultation Document is available here.
The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO)
TORONTO, June 26, 2014 — The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) today released its Discussion Paper in its Legal Capacity, Decision-making and Guardianship project. The LCO encourages feedback from members of the public, including older adults and persons with disabilities, service providers, policy-makers, lawyers and advocates until Friday, October 17, 2014, as part of its public consultation process and expects to release a draft report and recommendations next year.
The TLA wrote to the Minister of Finance expressing the Association’s concerns over the draft legislation to overhaul the current automobile insurance system. In particular, the TLA expressed concern over the Bill’s proposed terms which would prevent an injured person from pursuing a SABS claim in court, even if the person was pursuing a court action for other losses arising from a motor vehicle accident. This would increase litigation costs and result in a multiplicity of proceedings. The TLA’s letter to the Ministry of Finance can be viewed here.
Proposed Amendments Re The Law of Negligence
The TLA has prepared a letter to the Director of Justice Policy Development at the Ministry of the Attorney General in response to the proposal by the Association of Municipalities of Ontario to amend the law of negligence. In the letter, the Association outlines its concerns with regards to the negative effect on access to justice for Ontarians. The full letter is available here.
Trinity Western University Proposed Law School
The TLA has prepared a letter to the Treasurer of the Law Society of Upper Canada regarding the Federation of Law Societies' preliminary approval of a law school at Trinity Western University (TWU). In the letter, the Association urges the Law Society to consider all aspects of this issue with the utmost care, taking into consideration its overarching duties to protect the public and to uphold the Rule of Law; and in doing so, to ensure that all licensees meet the requisite standards of professional competence, professional conduct, and education standards expected of all lawyers admitted to the practice in Ontario. The full letter is available here.
Automobile Insurance Dispute Resolution System Review Submission
The Toronto Lawyers Association ("TLA”) has been asked to comment on the current system for resolving automobile insurance disputes between claimants and insurers at the Financial Services Commission of Ontario ("FSCO”). The TLA believes that the review being performed by the Honorable Justice J. Douglas Cunningham is an important process to address the issues surrounding the mediation backlog and procedure followed by the FSCO. The full submission is available here.
TLA CPD Submission=
The TLA has long supported mandatory CPD, while encouraging LSUC to retain a flexible approach for lawyers, coupled with a fair, clear, and straightforward accreditation process for CPD providers. The TLA has made a submission to the LSUC on the Two-Year Review of the CPD Requirement based on feedback from the membership. The full submission is available here.
Paralegal Motion to LSUC re expanded scope of practice for May 8 AGM
A Paralegal Motion to the LSUC re expanded scope of practice will be discussed at the May 8, 2013 AGM. The motion refers to the Morris Report which was commissioned by the Attorney General of Ontario. The Morris Report is available on the Ministry of the Attorney General website which also contains further details about paralegal regulation in Ontario.
The Law Society has a Working Group which has been working on the implementation of the 11 recommendations set out in the Morris Report . Their report: