Ontario Investing in Innovative Ways to Modernize the Justice System
COVID-19 outbreak underscores the urgent need to expand access across the province
TORONTO — Today, Attorney General Doug Downey released the following statement on building a justice system for the 21st century that is more accessible, responsive and resilient for Ontarians:
“In an effort to keep people safe and uphold the administration of justice during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Ontario government and our justice partners established new and innovative ways of delivering justice remotely and online.
Experience gained during COVID-19 underscores the urgent need to invest in technology, modernize processes and expand access to justice across the province, including in rural and remote regions. Our justice partners have joined us in acknowledging we must continue to press forward boldly toward a more accessible, responsive and resilient system that will continue to evolve long after the pandemic is over. The needs of the justice sector have changed and there is broad consensus we cannot go back to the way things were done before the public health emergency.
That is why our government has made the decision not to proceed with the Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse construction project, which was in the procurement phase before the COVID-19 outbreak. This investment will be repurposed to transform and update Ontario’s severely antiquated justice system, and address immediate infrastructure needs at the courthouses in Milton and Burlington. Shifting traditional investments toward innovation and new technology will move more services online and position Ontario at the forefront of building the modern justice system of the future.
These responsible investments will leave a legacy of transformational benefits to all Ontarians in every region of our province, making it easier, faster and more affordable to access justice no matter where people live.
This innovative new approach will allow Ontario to take concrete action for the first time in recent memory to support a truly reimagined justice system. It will move Ontario’s justice system forward by decades and allow it to emerge from this public health crisis more resilient and better positioned to face future challenges.
Our government will engage with justice sector partners, leaders and innovators to develop investment priorities that support new ways of delivering and increasing access to justice that spans the entire sector and province, including rural and remote communities and criminal, civil and family law fields. I look forward to sharing the outcomes of these consultations and our government’s transformational vision of a reimagined, 21st century justice system later this summer.
Ontario’s justice system will become a leader and emerge from this crisis more resilient and better prepared to respond to future challenges in a post COVID-19 environment.”