The Advocates' Society Applauds a Win for Unified Family Court in Ontario
On April 11, The Honourable David Lametti, Federal Minister of Justice, announced the appointment of 9 judges to the Unified Family Court in Ontario. These new judges, including Advocates' Society member The Honourable Nicole Tellier, will sit in various jurisdictions across Ontario.
These appointments mark the near-completion of Phase 1 of a dual-phased implementation plan that will see Unified Family Court rolled out across Ontario by 2025.
"The Advocates' Society has been a long-time supporter of – and advocate for – a Unified Family Court as an essential way to improve access to justice for families," said Brian Gover, President of The Advocates' Society. "We applaud last week's appointments to the Unified Family Court in Ontario and the Federal and Ontario Governments' pledge to committing the resources to expand the Unified Family Court across all of Ontario over the next six years."
The Unified Family Court is a collaborative exercise between the federal and provincial/territorial governments, whose aim is to overcome access to justice barriers that would otherwise arise due to the manner in which the Constitution Act, 1867 assigns jurisdiction over family law matters. The Law Reform Commission of Canada called for the implementation of Unified Family Court in 1974, some 45 years ago. Under the guidance of then-Attorney General Roy McMurtry, Ontario was the first Canadian jurisdiction to pilot the Unified Family Court concept, which it did in Hamilton in 1977.
The Advocates' Society, established in 1963, is a not-for-profit association of more than 6,000 members throughout Canada. The mandate of The Advocates' Society includes, among other things, making submissions to governments and other entities on matters that affect access to justice, the administration of justice and the practice of law by advocates.