Select Submissions

Recent Submissions



Impact of Ontario Line Construction on Access to Justice in Ontario

In August 2022, The Advocates’ Society called on the Ontario Minister of Transportation and Metrolinx to ensure that the construction of the new Osgoode Station, part of the Ontario Line, on the grounds of Osgoode Hall does not compromise access to justice at the nearby Court of Appeal for Ontario, Divisional Court, or Superior Court of Justice. Read The Advocates’ Society’s letter, dated August 2, 2022, here.



Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Judges Act

Bill C-9, An Act to amend the Judges Act, was introduced in the House of Commons on December 16, 2021. Read Bill C-9 here. The bill proposes to replace the process through which the conduct of federally appointed judges is reviewed by the Canadian Judicial Council. The Advocates’ Society has written to the Minister of Justice and the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights to provide input on Bill C-9. Read The Advocates' Society's letter, dated July 18, 2022, here. The Advocates’ Society supports the government's initiative to reform the Canadian Judicial Council's process for reviewing allegations of judicial misconduct, as the current process is susceptible to delay and inflated costs. However, The Advocates’ Society is of the view that Bill C-9 does not provide sufficient external judicial oversight of the Canadian Judicial Council; The Advocates' Society has made recommendations to the government for how to provide for adequate oversight within the legislative scheme.



Bill 34, An Act to improve access to justice by broadening the range of legal services provided free of charge or at a moderate cost

On April 12, 2022, Quebec Minister of Justice Simon Jolin-Barrette introduced Bill 34, An Act to improve access to justice by broadening the range of legal services provided free of charge or at a moderate cost, in the National Assembly of Quebec. Read Bill 34 here. If passed, Bill 34 would allow the Barreau du Québec to determine the conditions under which an advocate may practise their profession (i.e. provide legal advice and representation to clients before the courts) within a non-profit legal organization.

TAS wrote to the Minister of Justice and the National Assembly of Quebec’s Committee on Institutions to support Bill 34, because allowing lawyers who work in non-profit organizations to provide legal advice to clients, as well as to represent clients before the courts, will increase access to justice for low- and middle-income individuals in the province of Quebec. TAS encouraged the government to pass Bill 34 as soon as possible. Read TAS’s letter, dated June 2, 2022, here (in French only). The National Assembly of Quebec passed Bill 34 on June 9, 2022.



Bill 14, Provincial Court (Sexual Awareness Training) Amendment Act, 2022

On March 30, 2022, the Associate Minister of Status of Women of Alberta Whitney Issik introduced Bill 14, the Provincial Court (Sexual Awareness Training) Amendment Act, 2022, in the Legislative Assembly of Alberta. Read Bill 14 here. If passed, Bill 14 would amend the Provincial Court Act, R.S.A. 2000, c. P-31, to require candidates for appointment as a judge of the Provincial Court of Alberta to have completed education in sexual assault law and social context issues, in order to be considered eligible for appointment. While the goals of Bill 14 are laudable, The Advocates’ Society has written to Associate Minister Issik and Minister of Justice Tyler Shandro to highlight the bill’s impact on judicial independence, the quality of judicial training, the cost of applying to become a judge, and the confidentiality of the application process. Read The Advocates’ Society’s letter, dated May 3, 2022, here. The Legislative Assembly of Alberta passed Bill 14 on May 5, 2022. Read the Minister of Justice’s response to TAS, dated June 8, 2022, here.



Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (COVID-19 response and other measures)

On February 8, 2022, Bill S-4, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Identification of Criminals Act and to make related amendments to other Acts (COVID-19 response and other measures), was introduced in the Senate of Canada. Read Bill S-4 here. If passed, Bill S-4 would (among other things) expand the ability of an accused (or offender) to attend various stages of their criminal proceedings via videoconference or audioconference. On March 31, 2022, Bill S-4 was referred to the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for study. The Advocates’ Society has made a submission to the Senate Committee regarding Bill S-4, largely supporting the expansion of remote appearances and making recommendations for further improvement of the bill. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission on Bill S-4, dated April 29, 2022, here. The Advocates’ Society was pleased to see that the proposed amendments in Bill S-4 accord with the recommendations in the Final Report of The Advocates' Society’s Modern Advocacy Task Force, The Right to be Heard: The Future of Advocacy in Canada, published in June 2021. The Senate Committee concluded its study of Bill S-4 and provided its report to the Senate on June 14, 2022. Read the Senate Committee’s report on Bill S-4 here.

Past Submissions


Legal Aid


Legal Aid Ontario Consultation on Minimum Experience Standards for Roster Members

On December 13, 2021, Legal Aid Ontario commenced a consultation with stakeholders regarding proposed minimum experience standards that prospective roster members must meet to join Legal Aid Ontario’s roster and be eligible to provide legal aid certificate services and duty counsel services in specific areas of law. The Advocates’ Society made a submission to Legal Aid Ontario regarding the importance of retaining flexibility and discretion in the application of the roster enrolment standards, to ensure an adequate supply of high-quality legal aid service providers to represent clients in need. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission to Legal Aid Ontario, dated January 27, 2022, here.



Legal Aid Ontario Consultation on the Draft Rules for the Provision of Legal Aid Services

The Legal Aid Services Act, 2020, which received Royal Assent on July 8, 2020, gives Legal Aid Ontario’s Board of Directors the authority to make rules for the provision of legal aid services. On April 21, 2021, Legal Aid Ontario published its new draft rules for consultation. See the consultation website here. The Advocates’ Society made a submission to Legal Aid Ontario, highlighting its overarching concerns with the draft rules and stressing the importance of further consultation with stakeholders, including the private bar, on the matters included in the draft rules. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission to Legal Aid Ontario, dated May 20, 2021, here.

The Advocates’ Society is also a longstanding member of the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid (ASLA), along with other legal organizations. ASLA made a joint submission to Legal Aid Ontario regarding the draft rules. Read ASLA’s submission, dated May 19, 2021, here.



Legal Aid: TAS advocates for urgent legal aid funding in Ontario

As a member of the Alliance for Sustainable Legal Aid (“ASLA”), The Advocates’ Society has advocated for the urgent need for increased legal aid funding in Ontario.

In April 2019, upon the release of the Ontario Budget, the Government of Ontario announced that it would terminate legal aid funding for refugee and immigration law services, thus restricting the provision of those services to those which can be funded by the Government of Canada.  Given the limited federal funding currently available for these services, this action significantly reduced legal aid funds for refugee and immigration claims and, potentially, claims in a number of other areas touching on family, criminal and poverty law.

In response, ASLA wrote to the Federal Minister of Justice, Attorney General of Ontario and Chair of Legal Aid Ontario to emphasize the seriousness of the situation, urge the provision of immediate funding, and underline the important connection between legal aid and the administration of justice.

Read the letter to The Honourable David Lametti, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada, here .

Read the letters to The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General of Ontario, here and here .

Read the letter to Charles Harnick, Q.C., Chair of Legal Aid Ontario here .



Criminal Law


Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act

On December 7, 2021, Minister of Justice David Lametti introduced Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, in the federal House of Commons. Read Bill C-5 here. If passed, Bill C-5 will:

  • repeal all mandatory minimum penalties for offences in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act,
  • repeal certain mandatory minimum penalties in the Criminal Code for firearms and tobacco offences,
  • allow for greater use of conditional sentences, and
  • establish diversion measures for simple drug possession offences for police and Crown Attorneys to consider instead of prosecution.
The purpose of Bill C-5 is to reduce systemic racism and the over-representation of Indigenous peoples, Black Canadians, and members of other marginalized communities in the criminal justice system; as well as to treat addiction as a public health issue, rather than a criminal justice issue. The Advocates' Society strongly supports the government's objectives, and believes Bill C-5 contains a number of amendments that will help achieve these objectives.

On March 31, 2022, Bill C-5 passed Second Reading in the House of Commons and was referred to the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights for study. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission on Bill C-5 here. The Advocates' Society's submission supports the passage of Bill C-5 and makes suggestions for how Bill C-5 could go farther to achieve the government's laudable goals.



Consultations on the Establishment of an Independent Criminal Cases Review Commission for Canada

On March 31, 2021, the Department of Justice announced the appointment of the Hon. Harry LaForme and the Hon. Juanita Westmoreland-Traoré to lead public stakeholder consultations on the creation of an independent Criminal Cases Review Commission to review criminal convictions for miscarriage of justice or wrongful conviction, pursuant to ss. 696.1 to 696.6 of the Criminal Code. Read the DOJ's news release here. See the Criminal Cases Review Consultations website here. The Advocates' Society has provided a submission in response to the published Consultation Paper. Read The Advocates' Society’s submission, dated July 30, 2021, here.



Bill C-75, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the Youth Criminal Justice Act and other Acts and to make consequential amendments to other Acts

In September 2018, The Advocates' Society made submissions to the Federal Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights with respect to Bill C-75.  Read the version of Bill C-75 at First Reading here. Read the submissions of The Advocates' Society dated September 6, 2018 here.

On September 19, 2018, TAS President Brian Gover made submissions to the Federal Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. View a live stream of the submissions here.



Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution System


Marshall Report

In April 2017, David Marshall released the Report entitled "Fair Benefits Fairly Delivered: A Review of the Auto Insurance System in Ontario" (the "Marshall Report"). Read the Marshall Report here.

The Advocates’ Society struck a Task Force to review the Marshall Report. The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Ministry of Finance to provide its views on the recommendations in the Marshall Report. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 15, 2017 here.



Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Licence Appeal Tribunal

In December 2015, proposed revised Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Licence Appeal Tribunal were released. Read the proposed Rules here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated February 4, 2016 here. Read the current Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Licence Appeal Tribunal here.



Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule – Proposed Changes

In May 2015, the Ministry of Finance proposed changes to the Statutory Accident Benefits Schedule. Read the proposed changes here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated June 29, 2015 here.



Bill 15, Fighting Fraud and Reducing Automobile Insurance Rates Act, 2014

This Bill was introduced on July 15, 2014 and proposed, among other things, to make amendments to the Ontario Insurance Act based on certain recommendations of the Ontario Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution Review Final Report. Read the Bill here. On November 5, 2014, Eric Grossman made oral representations to the Standing Committee on behalf of The Advocates’ Society.  Read the transcript of the Standing Committee meeting here. The Society also made written submissions to the Standing Committee.  Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated November 5, 2014 here. This Bill was granted Royal Assent on November 20, 2014. View the amended Insurance Act here.



Cunningham Report

In August 2013, The Honourable Douglas J. Cunningham was appointed by the Ontario Minister of Finance to review Ontario’s dispute resolution system for auto insurance claims.  The Advocates’ Society was invited to make submissions in advance of the release of an interim report on the review.  Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 20, 2013 here. Representatives of The Advocates’ Society met with Justice Cunningham to discuss this letter in October 2013.  The Interim Report was released in November 2013. Read the Interim Report here.

Following the release of the Interim Report and prior to the release of the Final Report on the review of the Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution System, The Advocates’ Society wrote another letter and attended a stakeholder consultation session in December 2013.  Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated December 2, 2013 here. The Final Report was released in February 2014. Read the Ontario Auto Insurance Dispute Resolution Review Final Report here.



Case Management Masters Remuneration


In October 2013, The Advocates’ Society was invited to make submissions to the Case Management Masters Remuneration Commission. Read the Notice of Hearing to the Legal Profession here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated January 29, 2014 here.

The Case Management Masters Remuneration Commission released its report in November 2015. Read the report here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society to the Ontario Minister of Finance dated January 29, 2016 here.



Family Law


Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario Consultation on the Definition of "Child" in the Children’s Law Reform Act

On December 9, 2020, the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario invited The Advocates' Society to provide input on a proposal to expand the definition of "child" in the Children’s Law Reform Act to align with the federal definition of "child" in the Divorce Act. Read the invitation here. Read The Advocates' Society’s response, dated January 7, 2021, here. The Advocates' Society supported the proposed amendment to the definition of "child" in the Children's Law Reform Act to ensure the equal treatment of children of married and unmarried spouses under federal and provincial legislation.



Family Legal Services Review

In February 2016, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Law Society of Upper Canada announced that The Honourable Annemarie E. Bonkalo would lead a review on the provision of family legal services in Ontario, and in particular the question of whether non-lawyers, including paralegals, should be permitted to provide family law services to the public.  Stakeholders were invited to make submissions on the review. Read the consultation document here. The Advocates’ Society submitted that paralegals should only be permitted to provide services in the family law area if supervised by a lawyer, in light of the extensive additional training that would be required and the nature of the issues in family law proceedings. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated April 29, 2016 here.

The Family Legal Services Review Report was released in March 2017. Read the Report here. Read the media release of The Advocates’ Society dated March 6, 2017 here. The Law Society of Upper Canada launched a consultation on the Report. Learn more about the Law Society’s consultation here. Read the written submissions of The Advocates’ Society dated May 15, 2017 here.

In June 2020, the Law Society published the Family Legal Services Provider Licence Consultation Paper. Read the Consultation Paper here. On November 30, 2020, The Advocates' Society responded to the Consultation Paper, urging the Law Society to channel its resources to promote and expand access to a number of programs that have been developed to help Ontario families access the legal assistance they need. The Advocates' Society also raised concerns with the proposal to have non-lawyers provide family law services, stating that this proposal would not address the access to justice issues that exist in Ontario’s family justice system. Read the submission of The Advocates' Society here.

On January 21, 2022, the Law Society's Access to Justice Committee released its Report on a Family Legal Services Provider Licence. On February 14, 2022, TAS wrote to the Treasurer and Benchers of the Law Society of Ontario, raising concerns about the proposed Family Legal Services Provider Licence. TAS urged that the motion set out in the Report of the LSO's Access to Justice Committee should be rejected. The motion is scheduled for debate at Convocation on February 24. TAS's view is that the proposed Family Legal Services Provider Licence, with its current scope, will not improve access to justice, is not in the public interest and will not benefit Ontarians. TAS urged the LSO to focus its attention and resources on existing lawyer-led access to justice initiatives, lead a broad education campaign about options and resources for family law litigants, and continue to advocate for the expansion of the Unified Family Court and the reform of family law court processes. Read TAS's letter here.




Bill 207, Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020

On September 24, 2020, Bill 207, the Moving Ontario Family Law Forward Act, 2020, was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Read the version of Bill 207 at first reading here. This bill harmonizes Ontario family legislation with changes made to the federal Divorce Act by Bill C-78, and also proposes to alter family law appeal routes in Ontario. The Advocates’ Society made submissions about Bill 207 to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, in particular highlighting concerns with the proposed amendments to family law appeal routes. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society, dated October 15, 2020, here. Read Bill 207, as amended by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, here. The Standing Committee accepted The Advocates' Society's recommendation with respect to the proposed amendment to s. 47 of the Family Law Act. Bill 207 received Royal Assent on November 20, 2020.



Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario Consultation on Harmonization with Amendments to Federal Divorce Act

On June 21, 2019, federal Bill C-78 received Royal Assent and amended the federal Divorce Act in several important ways. On December 12, 2019, the Attorney General of Ontario reached out to The Advocates’ Society for input on how to align Ontario’s family legislation with the changes to federal legislation. Read the invitation here. Read The Advocates’ Society’s response, dated January 22, 2020, here.



Ontario Family Law Act, Section 31

The Advocates’ Society was invited by the Ministry of the Attorney General to comment on a proposed amendment to Section 31 of the Ontario Family Law Act. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated February 22, 2017 here.



Costs under the Ontario Family Law Rules

In June 2016, the Family Law Rules Committee released a consultation on potential changes to the Family Law Rules on costs. Read the consultation document here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated October 27, 2016 here.



Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review

In March 2015, Lead Counsel to the Motherisk Hair Analysis Independent Review invited The Advocates’ Society to make submissions on the Independent Review. Read the letter and consultation documents here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 11, 2015 here.



Grassroots Project: Family Law Reform Initiative

A Task Force formed by The Advocates’ Society held consultation meetings and published recommendations on changes which would improve the family law system. Read the report of The Advocates’ Society released September 10, 2014 here.



Guidelines for Judicial Interviews and Meetings with Children in Custody and Access Cases in Ontario

The Advocates’ Society organized and participated in a Task Force which organized and attended Town Hall meetings, drafted guidelines for judges, and made a presentation to the annual meeting of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts in Chicago, June 2012. Read the Guidelines released in September 2013 here.



Federal and Provincial Government Relations


Ontario 2022 Budget Consultations

On January 14, 2022, the Ontario Ministry of Finance launched its 2022 budget consultations. The Advocates' Society made a submission to the Minister of Finance encouraging the government to prioritize funding for the justice system. In particular, The Advocates’ Society highlighted the need to make forward-looking investments in court staff, technology, court infrastructure for Unified Family Court, and legal aid to ensure access to justice for all Ontarians. Read The Advocates' Society's letter, dated February 11, 2022, here.



Capital Markets Modernization in Ontario

In February 2020, Ontario's Ministry of Finance established a Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce to conduct a review of the regulation of capital markets in Ontario. On July 9, 2020, the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce published a Consultation Report and sought feedback on its policy proposals. Read the Consultation Report here. Read The Advocates’ Society's submission to the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce, dated September 7, 2020, here. Read the Capital Markets Modernization Taskforce's Final Report, dated January 2021, here.

In October 2021, the Ministry of Finance published a draft Capital Markets Act for stakeholder consultation. If introduced in the Legislature and passed, the Capital Markets Act would replace the Securities Act and the Commodity Futures Act in Ontario. Read the draft Capital Markets Act here. Read the consultation commentary here. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission regarding the draft Capital Markets Act, dated January 12, 2022, here. The Advocates’ Society made suggestions regarding measures to promote diversity and inclusion among capital markets participants, the inclusion of a dispute resolution process for disagreements about the scope of production requests during the course of a review or investigation, and greater statutory protection for privileged information and records.



Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario Justice Sector Consultation on Estates Law

On August 5, 2020, the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario invited The Advocates' Society to participate in a justice sector consultation on estates law. Read the Ministry's invitation here. Read The Advocates' Society's response, dated August 31, 2020, here. The Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021 received Royal Assent on April 19, 2021 and made several changes to estates law that were contemplated in the consultation. Read the Attorney General’s May 4, 2021 letter updating stakeholders on the status of the changes to estates law here.



Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario Consultation on Defamation Law

On April 27, 2020, the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario invited The Advocates' Society to provide input on the Law Commission of Ontario’s report Defamation Law in the Internet Age. Read The Advocates' Society’s submission, dated July 30, 2020, here.



Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario Consultation on Civil Juries

On June 5, 2020, the Attorney General of Ontario invited The Advocates' Society to provide input on whether the Courts of Justice Act should be amended to eliminate some or all civil jury trials. Read the Attorney General's letter here. Read The Advocates' Society's response, dated June 15, 2020, here.



Ontario Pre-Budget Consultation 2020

On December 18, 2019, the Ontario government launched its 2020 budget consultations, calling for input from stakeholders across the province. The Advocates' Society made a submission to the Minister of Finance, focusing on the need for legal aid funding and the need for infrastructure spending for the Unified Family Court. Read The Advocates' Society's letter, dated February 11, 2020, here.



Ontario Pre-Budget Consultation 2019

The Advocates' Society made a submission to the Ontario Standing Committee on Finance and Economic Affairs as part of the pre-budget consultation process. In this letter, TAS President Brian Gover asks the Ontario Government to focus on investments in improved courthouse infrastructure, including for Unified Family Court in Toronto and across Ontario. Read the letter here.



Pro Bono Ontario Law Help Centres

On November 13, 2018, The Advocates' Society wrote to The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General of Ontario, and Mr. Malcolm Mercer, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, urging them to consider providing financial support to maintain the operation of Pro Bono Ontario’s Law Help Centres. The Law Help Centres, two of which are based in Toronto and one of which is based in Ottawa, were scheduled to close on December 14, 2018 due to the absence of sustained funding. The Law Help Centres serve more than 18,000 self-represented litigants each year. Read The Advocates' Society's letter to the Attorney General of Ontario here. Read The Advocates' Society's letter to the Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario here.

Following the news that the Law Help Centres would remain open through 2019, TAS again wrote to the Attorney General of Ontario on December 3, 2018. Read The Advocates’ Society’s letter to the Attorney General of Ontario here. Read the Attorney General’s response here.



Courthouse Facilities – Brampton

On November 21, 2018, The Advocates' Society wrote to The Honourable Doug Ford, Premier of Ontario, and The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General of Ontario, to urge them to direct funding towards the improvement of courthouse facilities in Brampton. Earlier that week, The Honourable Peter A. Daley, Regional Senior Justice, Central West Region of theOntario Superior Court of Justice, spoke publicly about Brampton’s courthouse facilities and raised his concerns that the facilities are severely inadequate for the timely, accessible and safe hearing and adjudication of cases in one of the largest urban centres in Canada. Read The Advocates' Society's letter to the Premier and Attorney General of Ontario here. Read the response of the Attorney General of Ontario here.



Attorney General of Ontario

On September 17, 2018, The Advocates' Society wrote to the Attorney General of Ontario with regard to a number of justice issues, including Unified Family Court, sustainable legal aid, community justice centres, judicial complement, use of judicial resources, the new Toronto courthouse, courthouse security, and the Guide for Lawyers Working with Indigenous Peoples. Read the letter from The Advocates’ Society dated September 17, 2018 here.



Federal Budget 2017: Proposed elimination of the election by designated professionals to use billed-based accounting

The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Federal Minister of Justice and the Federal Minister of Finance to raise concerns with regard to the proposed elimination of the election by designated professionals to use billed-based accounting for taxation purposes. Read the letters of The Advocates’ Society dated April 26, 2017 here and July 19, 2017 here.



Solicitor-Client Privilege and Intellectual Property Agents

On June 2, 2015, The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Federal Minister of Finance and outlined concerns with regard to the brief consultation period to comment on proposed amendments to the Patent Act and Trade-marks Act that purported to extend a form of solicitor-client privilege to intellectual property agents. Read the letter here.

On June 13, 2016, The Advocates’ Society wrote to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to provide comments on a draft code of conduct for patent and trade-mark agents. Read the letter here.

On September 9, 2016, The Advocates’ Society wrote again to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada with regard to the governance framework for intellectual property agents proposed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada. Read the letter here. Read the Federation’s governance framework here.



Civil Enforcement Services – New Delivery Models

In January 2016, the Ministry of the Attorney General released a consultation document entitled “A New Approach to Providing Civil Enforcement Services in Ontario”. Read the consultation document here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated March 31, 2016 here.



Construction Lien Masters – Ontario

On March 27, 2015, The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Attorney General of Ontario regarding a concern with the shortage of Construction Lien Masters in Toronto. Read the letter here. Read the response of the Attorney General here.



Negligence and Joint and Several Liability

In January 2014, the Ministry of the Attorney General requested feedback on proposed changes to the law of negligence and joint and several liability. Read the letter from The Advocates’ Society dated April 15, 2014 here.



Federal Courts Rules


Proposed Amendments to Federal Courts Rules regarding Enforcement, Limited Scope Representation, Proportionality, and Federal Court of Appeal Motions

On April 10, 2021, proposed amendments to the Federal Courts Rules regarding enforcement, limited scope representation, and proportionality, abuse of process, and Federal Court of Appeal motions, were pre-published in the Canada Gazette. Read The Advocates' Society's submissions to the Federal Courts Rules Committee about the amendments, dated June 9, 2021 and June 14, 2021.



Costs

In October 2015, the Federal Court of Appeal and Federal Court Rules Committee released a discussion paper on costs. Read the discussion paper here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated December 9, 2015 here.



Limited Scope Representation

In November 2014, the Federal Courts Rules Committee released a discussion paper on limited scope representation. Read the discussion paper here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated January 30, 2015 here.



Modernization

Proposed changes to modernize the Federal Courts Rules were published in the Canada Gazette in January 2014. Read the excerpt here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated March 24, 2014 here.



Enforcement

In July 2013, the Federal Courts Rules Committee released a discussion paper recommending changes to the Federal Courts Rules on enforcement. Read the discussion paper here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 30, 2013 here.



Federation of Law Societies of Canada



Federation of Law Societies of Canada 2020 Consultation on Proposed Amendments to Model Code of Professional Conduct

On January 29, 2020, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada released a Consultation Report on proposed amendments to the Model Code of Professional Conduct regarding (1) lawyers’ duties not to discriminate against or harass others, and (2) ex parte communications with courts and tribunals. Read the Consultation Report in English or French. Read The Advocates’ Society’s response, dated September 21, 2020, here.



Federation of Law Societies of Canada 2017 Consultation on Proposed Amendments to Model Code of Professional Conduct

In January 2017, the Federation of Law Societies of Canada released a consultation report on the Model Code of Professional Conduct asking for stakeholder input on issues related to technological competence, the return to the practice of law by former judges, and an amendment to the rule on encouraging respect for the administration of justice. Read the Consultation Report here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated May 29, 2017 here.



Judicial Appointments


The Advocates’ Society Highlights Concern about Impact of Changes to Nova Scotia Judicial Appointment Process on Public Confidence in the Justice System

On February 2, 2022, The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Honourable Brad Johns, Nova Scotia’s Minister of Justice, to raise concerns about the impact of recent changes to the Provincial Judicial Appointments Guidelines on judicial independence and public confidence in the justice system. The Advocates’ Society called upon the government to suspend and reconsider the changes pending consultation and further study.

The Advocates’ Society raised concerns about:
  • the potential impact of the changes on the independence of the standing Advisory Committee on Provincial Judicial Appointments and the confidentiality of its process for evaluating and recommending judges for appointment to the Nova Scotia Provincial Court;
  • the government’s failure to consult with stakeholders in the justice system regarding the changes, including associations that represent equity-seeking groups in the legal community; and
  • the lack of notice of the changes, which came into effect immediately.
Read The Advocates’ Society’s letter to the Minister, dated February 2, 2022, here.



TAS defends judicial independence in the context of Alberta's Provincial Court Nominating Committee

On June 26, 2020, The Advocates' Society wrote to The Hon. Doug Schweitzer, Alberta’s Minister of Justice, regarding recent changes to the membership of the Provincial Court Nominating Committee. TAS raised concerns that recent actions taken by the Minister with respect to the membership of the Nominating Committee risk undermining public confidence in the judicial system and the independence of the judiciary. Read TAS's letter here.



Ontario Judicial Appointment Process: TAS defends judicial independence in the process for appointing judges in Ontario

On November 14, 2019, the Attorney General had advised that the provincial government is considering reforming the process for appointing judges to the Ontario Court of Justice. In response, The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Attorney General to emphasize how the current process fosters judicial independence, excellence, and diversity, as well as public confidence in Ontario’s judiciary. The Advocates’ Society also urged the government to engage in meaningful consultation with justice system stakeholders before any changes are made to the current system. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society, dated November 20, 2019, here.

On February 27, 2020, the Attorney General of Ontario Doug Downey announced the government's proposed reform of the process for appointing judges to the Ontario Court of Justice. In response, The Advocates' Society wrote to the Attorney General to thank him for consulting with The Advocates' Society and other justice system stakeholders prior to the announcement and to outline The Advocates' Society's concerns with the proposal. The Advocates' Society highlighted the risk that the changes would allow political patronage to play a role in the appointment process. Read the letter of The Advocates' Society, dated March 9, 2020, here.



Judicial Appointments Process for the Supreme Court of Canada

In response to reports in the media that the Federal Government may abandon the Parliamentary Committee process for selecting judges to be appointed to the Supreme Court of Canada, The Advocates’ Society struck a Task Force to examine the issue. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society to the Federal Minister of Justice dated January 30, 2015 here.

Following the Federal Election in the Fall of 2015, The Advocates’ Society made submissions to the Minister of Justice with regard to federal judicial appointments, including recommendations for a process to be followed for the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court of Canada as well as the provincial superior courts and courts of appeal. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated July 22, 2016 here. Following the publication of the appointments process for Justices of the Supreme Court of Canada, The Advocates’ Society wrote to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Justice. Read these letters dated August 18, 2016 here. Learn about the judicial appointments process for Federal Judicial appointments, including appointments to the Supreme Court of Canada, here.



Law Society of Ontario


Law Society of Ontario Competence Task Force: Renewing the Law Society's Continuing Competence Framework

On June 23, 2021, the Law Society of Ontario's Competence Task Force released a consultation paper entitled Renewing the Law Society’s Continuing Competence Framework. The Law Society sought input from stakeholders on various elements of lawyer competence in Ontario, including the continuing professional development requirement and whether it should be adjusted; the need for peer support and assessment, and in particular enhanced support for sole practitioners and lawyers at small firms; technological and cultural competence; and practice assessments.

On December 3, 2021, The Advocates' Society submitted its response to the Law Society’s consultation paper. Among other things, The Advocates' Society’s submission:
  • emphasizes the importance of continuing professional development for lawyers, including training on Indigenous issues in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s Call to Action #27 and training to enhance lawyers’ technological and cultural competence;
  • posits that lawyers should engage in self-reflection on at least an annual basis to determine their strengths and areas of improvement, including their CPD needs;
  • advocates for certain enhanced supports for practitioners who practise solo or in small firms;
  • urges the Law Society to make any significant decisions about the practice assessment program based on a more focused and robust look at relevant data; and
  • urges the Law Society to consider adopting proactive, constructive and preventive measures that target issues that lead to or are tied to risk.
Read the Law Society of Ontario's Competence Task Force consultation paper here.

Read The Advocates' Society’s response here.



Law Society of Ontario Funding of Legal Information and Resource Network

In response to the Law Society of Ontario's 2021 reduction in funding for the Legal Information and Resource Network, which supports Ontario’s 48 county and district law libraries, The Advocates' Society wrote a letter emphasizing the importance of these libraries to ensuring access to justice, the proper functioning of the legal system, and an equal footing between large and medium-sized or smaller firms. Read The Advocates' Society’s letter to the Law Society, dated February 17, 2021, here. Responding to calls from the bar, the Law Society of Ontario reinstated the Legal Information and Resource Network’s funding in 2022, and further increased it. Read the Law Society of Ontario’s news release regarding approval of the budget, dated October 28, 2021, here.



Pro Bono Ontario Law Help Centres

On November 13, 2018, The Advocates' Society wrote to The Honourable Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General of Ontario, and Mr. Malcolm Mercer, Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, urging them to consider providing financial support to maintain the operation of Pro Bono Ontario’s Law Help Centres. The Law Help Centres, two of which are based in Toronto and one of which is based in Ottawa, were scheduled to close on December 14, 2018 due to the absence of sustained funding. The Law Help Centres serve more than 18,000 self-represented litigants each year.  Read The Advocates' Society's letter to the Attorney General of Ontario here. Read The Advocates' Society's letter to the Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario here.



Lawyer Licensing Process

In September 2016, the Professional Development & Competence Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada released a report regarding proposed changes to the licensing process and the evaluation of the Pathways Pilot Project. Read the report here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated October 22, 2016 here.

In March 2017, the Law Society communicated plans for a “Dialogue on Licensing”. Learn more about the “Dialogue on Licensing” here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 29, 2017 here.

In May 2018, the Law Society released a consultation paper inviting feedback on proposed options for lawyer licensing in Ontario. Read the consultation paper here. Read the letter of The Advocates' Society dated October 25, 2018 here.



Advertising, Contingency Fees and Referral Fees

In June 2016, the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada released a report inviting feedback on specific issues related to lawyers advertising their services, charging contingency fees to clients and charging referral fees. Read the report here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 30, 2016 here.

In February 2017, the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group delivered another report to Convocation. Convocation voted to implement a cap on referral fees and several changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct on advertising. Read the report here.

In June 2017, the Advertising and Fee Arrangements Issues Working Group delivered another report to Convocation focusing on contingency fee arrangements. Read the report here and the consultation document here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 29, 2017 here.



Racialized Licensees

In September 2016, the Equity and Aboriginal Issues Committee of the Law Society of Upper Canada released a report on potential initiatives for racialized licensees in the legal profession and invited submissions from stakeholders. Read the report here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated November 14, 2016 here.



Compliance-Based Entity Regulation

In January 2016, the Compliance-Based Entity Regulation Task Force of the Law Society of Upper Canada released a consultation document entitled “Promoting better legal practices”. Read the consultation document here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated March 31, 2016 here.



Rules of Professional Conduct

In June 2015, the Law Society of Upper Canada proposed amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct in the areas of: conflicts of interest, doing business with a client, short-term legal services, incriminating physical evidence, and advertising. Read the Call for Input of the Professional Regulation Committee of the Law Society here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated November 3, 2015 here.



Alternative Business Structures

In September 2014, the Alternative Business Structures Working Group of the Law Society of Upper Canada released a discussion paper entitled “Alternative Business Structures and the Legal Profession in Ontario”. Read the discussion paper here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated December 19, 2014 here.



Legislation


Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec

On May 13, 2021, Simon Jolin-Barrette, Minister Responsible for the French Language, introduced Bill 96, An Act respecting French, the official and common language of Québec, in the Quebec National Assembly. Read Bill 96 on the National Assembly's website. Amongst other things, Bill 96 proposes to require certified French translations of any pleadings filed in English by a legal person; to require the immediate attachment of French translations to final judgments or judgments of public interest that are written in English; and to state that judges of the Court of Québec shall not be required to have knowledge of another language besides French in order to be appointed unless required and all reasonable means have been taken to avoid imposing such a requirement.

The National Assembly of Quebec's Committee on Culture and Education is conducting special consultations and public hearings on Bill 96. See the Committee on Culture and Education’s website regarding its special consultations and public hearings on Bill 96 here. On September 20, 2021, The Advocates' Society made a submission to the Committee on Culture and Education to state its support for measures to strengthen and promote bilingualism in courts across Canada, and to highlight some implications of Bill 96 for access to justice in Quebec. Read The Advocates’ Society's submission, dated September 20, 2021, here (in French only).




Bill 245, Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021

On February 16, 2021, Bill 245, the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021, was introduced in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. Read the version of Bill 245 at first reading here. Bill 245 proposed a number of changes to Ontario's justice system, including to the process for appointing provincial judges to the Ontario Court of Justice. The Advocates' Society made submissions on Bill 245 to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, in particular highlighting the impact of the proposed changes to the judicial appointment process on judicial independence and public confidence in the administration of justice. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission to the Standing Committee, dated March 12, 2021, here. On March 12, 2021, Anthony Moustacalis, Director on The Advocates' Society's Board of Directors, made oral submissions on this issue to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly. Read Bill 245, as amended by the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly, here. Read Bill 245, as passed by the Legislative Assembly of Ontario, here.



Bill C-3, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code (formerly Bill C-5)

On February 4, 2020, the Minister of Justice introduced Bill C-5, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code, in the House of Commons. The bill concerns judicial education in sexual assault law and social context. The Advocates’ Society made submissions on Bill C-5 to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights. Read The Advocates’ Society’s letter, dated April 14, 2020, here. On September 25, 2020, Bill C-5 was re-introduced in the House of Commons as Bill C-3. Read the version of Bill C-3 at first reading here. Read Bill C-3, as amended by the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, here. Read Bill C-3, as passed by the House of Commons, here.



Regulations for Virtual Commissioning and Notarization in Ontario

On May 12, 2020, Bill 190, the COVID-19 Response and Reforms to Modernize Ontario Act, 2020, received Royal Assent. It included amendments to the Commissioners for Taking Affidavits Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.17, and the Notaries Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. N.6, to permit virtual commissioning and notarization of documents. On June 2, 2020, The Advocates' Society participated in a consultation with the Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario to inform regulation development with respect to virtual commissioning and virtual notarization.

On July 14, 2020, the Ministry of the Attorney General posted their proposal to establish a regulatory framework to enable virtual acts of commissioning, and called for comment. Read the proposal here. Read The Advocates' Society's submission, dated July 22, 2020, here. The Ontario Regulation 431/20: Administering Oath or Declaration Remotely came into force on August 1, 2020.



Bill 161, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019

On December 9, 2019, the Attorney General of Ontario introduced Bill 161, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2019, in the Legislative Assembly of Ontario. This justice reform bill proposed to amend over 20 acts. Read the version of Bill 161 at first reading here. The Advocates' Society made extensive submissions on Bill 161 to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy, focusing on the amendments proposed for the Administration of Justice Act; the Civil Remedies Act, 2001; the Class Proceedings Act, 1992; the Crown Liability and Proceedings Act, 2019; the Juries Act; the Law Society Act; and the Legal Aid Services Act, 1998. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission dated April 14, 2020, here. The bill received Royal Assent on July 8, 2020. Read the final version of Bill 161 here.



Construction Lien Act – Expert Review, Proposed Amendments and Bill 142, Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017

In February 2015, an Expert Review Team appointed by the Ontario Government was mandated to propose amendments to the Ontario Construction Lien Act. Read the news release here. The Expert Review Team released an information package to stakeholders, which is available here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated December 2, 2015 here and the follow-up letter of The Advocates’ Society dated February 10, 2016 here, focusing on those proposed amendments which affect advocacy and practice before the courts. Executive members of the Construction Law Practice Group of The Advocates’ Society discussed these submissions with lead counsel on the Expert Review Team in December 2016.

The Expert Review Team submitted its report to the Attorney General on April 30, 2016. Read the report here. In October 2016, members of the Construction Law Practice Group of The Advocates’ Society met with the Attorney General to discuss the report and provided further submissions in writing.  Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society to the Attorney General dated November 29, 2016 here.

Bill 142, the Construction Lien Amendment Act, 2017, was given First Reading at the Legislature on May 31, 2017. Read the version of the Bill at First Reading here. On August 24, 2017, The Advocates’ Society’s Construction Law Practice Group held a town hall meeting to discuss potential concerns with the Bill.

The Advocates’ Society made written submissions to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly on November 15, 2017. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society to the Standing Committee on the Legislative Assembly dated November 15, 2017 here. Christopher Stanek, Executive Member of The Advocates’ Society’s Construction Law Practice Group, made oral submissions to the Standing Committee on November 15, 2017. Read the version of the Bill as amended by the Standing Committee here.

The Bill was carried on division through Third Reading on December 5, 2017 and received Royal Assent on December 12, 2017.



Bill C-337, An Act to amend the Judges Act and the Criminal Code (sexual assault)

Bill C-337 passed through Third Reading at the House of Commons on May 15, 2017 and was given First Reading at the Senate on May 16, 2017. Read the current version of the bill here. Read The Advocates’ Society’s letter to the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs dated October 19, 2017 here.



Bill 52, Protection of Public Participation Act, 2015

This Bill was introduced on December 1, 2014 and dealt with Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPP). Read the Bill here. On September 24, 2015, Brian Gover made oral representations to the Standing Committee on behalf of The Advocates’ Society. Read the transcript of the Standing Committee meeting here. The Society also made written submissions to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.  Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated October 1, 2015 here and the handout summarizing the oral submissions of The Advocates’ Society here. This Bill was granted Royal Assent on November 3, 2015. View the relevant amendments at Sections 137.1 to 137.5 of the Ontario Courts of Justice Act here.



Provincial Offences Act – Online Administrative Monetary Penalty Review System

In March 2015, the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General released a consultation paper entitled “Exploring an online Administrative Monetary Penalty System for infractions of provincial statutes and municipal by-laws in Ontario”. Read the consultation paper here. Read letter of The Advocates’ Society to the Ministry dated April 28, 2015 here.



Court Procedure


Supreme Court of Canada Counsel Appearances and Acknowledgment during COVID-19

The Supreme Court of Canada has been holding appeal hearings via Zoom during the COVID-19 pandemic. The number of counsel who can appear in the Zoom hearing is limited to two counsel per party, and one counsel per intervener. Additional counsel watch the proceeding via the public webcast, and are not acknowledged in the Court's published reasons for judgment. The Advocates' Society has written to the Court to advise that these policies may unintentionally impact diversity and inclusion in the Court's virtual hearings and in the legal profession, and impede effective consultation and support from co-counsel. The Advocates' Society has requested that the Court increase the number of counsel who may appear in Zoom hearings to the number that were allowed to appear in the courtroom at in-person hearings held pre-pandemic, and list the names of all counsel who so appear in the Court’s judgment; and add the names of counsel who have been excluded from past Zoom hearings to judgments already rendered and judgments that are under reserve. Read The Advocates' Society’s letter to the Supreme Court of Canada, dated May 10, 2021, here.



Proposed Rules on the Late Delivery of Expert Reports in the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure

In May to August 2021, the Expert Evidence Subcommittee of Ontario’s Civil Rules Committee conducted a consultation on the late delivery of expert reports, and the impact on the adjournment of pre-trials and trials. Read the initial consultation letter from the Expert Evidence Subcommittee, dated May 19, 2021, here. Read The Advocates’ Society’s response, dated June 14, 2021, here.

After the initial round of consultations, the Expert Evidence Subcommittee published its Interim Report of the Subcommittee on Expert Evidence to the Civil Rules Committee on the Late Service of Expert Evidence Reports, dated June 25, 2021; a Summary of Responses to Initial Consultation; and proposed amendments to the Rules of Civil Procedure regarding the late service of experts’ reports. The Advocates’ Society made a submission regarding the proposed rule amendments, highlighting the need for more statistical information as to the causes of adjournments; the need for discretion to address regional variability in trial scheduling practices; and the complexity and associated costs the proposed rules would introduce. The Advocates’ Society submitted that stricter enforcement of the current Rules would be sufficient to deal with the problems that exist with the late delivery of expert reports in certain regions. Read The Advocates’ Society’s submission to the Expert Evidence Subcommittee, dated August 27, 2021, here.



Ministry of the Attorney General of Ontario Consultation on the Mandatory Mediation Program and the Single-Judge Model

On August 24, 2020, the Attorney General of Ontario invited The Advocates’ Society to provide input on potential expansions of the mandatory mediation program and the single-judge model. Read the invitation here. Read The Advocates' Society’s response, dated September 16, 2020, here. The Advocates' Society supported the expansion of mandatory mediation across Ontario, with certain important caveats, and recommended an expanded pilot of the one-judge model.



Discount Rate under the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure

In May 2020, the Ontario Civil Rules Committee published the Discount Rate Subcommittee's report on rules 53.09 and 53.10, with a call for submissions. Read the Discount Rate Subcommittee's report here. Read the letter of The Advocates' Society, dated July 30, 2020, here.



Summary Trials under the Alberta Rules of Court

In January 2020, the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench Rules of Court Committee released a consultation paper regarding summary trials under Alberta's Rules of Court. Read the consultation paper here. Read the letter of The Advocates' Society, dated May 27, 2020, here.



Jury Trials in Ontario under Simplified Procedure Rule

In October 2016, the Ontario Civil Rules Committee released a consultation document regarding the use of juries under the Simplified Procedure in the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure. Read the consultation document here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated December 8, 2016 here.



“Health practitioner” – Definition

In July 2014, the Ontario Civil Rules Committee released a consultation document addressing the issue of whether the definition of “health practitioner” under the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure should be modified. Read the consultation document here. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated September 15, 2014 here.



Service by Email and Fax

Led by members of the Young Advocates’ Standing Committee, The Advocates’ Society made submissions of its own initiative to the Ontario Civil Rules Committee with regard to changes to the rules of service by email and fax. Read the letter of The Advocates’ Society dated April 1, 2014 here.