Ontario's new technological road map for ensuring access to justice called 'positive step'

December 7, 2017
Article Source
The Lawyer's Daily

Ontario's new action plan to improve access to justice by harnessing technology is being called a “positive step,” but the chief executive of an organization dedicated to access issues says there will be need to be more work down the line to ensure more people are included in the system.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi launched the Putting Justice Within Reach: The Foundation for User-Focused Justice in Ontario roadmap Nov. 29. The plan supports a shift to digitized justice services and streamlined court processes that aim to increase access to justice and improve the way people interact with the justice system.

"To continue to meet the needs of the people the Ontario justice system serves, it has to adapt and evolve," said Naqvi. "Our plan lays out the foundation for a more modern and user-focused system. By making it easier to access services online, modernizing courthouses and implementing innovative technologies, we are transforming the justice system to better serve all Ontarians."

The plan includes a roadmap to develop digital tools, such as online questionnaires and e-mail summonses; expanding the civil filing online pilot provincewide; and developing a new digital service by spring 2018 to help people save time and money by going online to look up the status of their traffic tickets and other provincial offences, and request early resolution meetings.

The plan also explores online dispute resolution options to potentially allow people who receive a traffic or similar ticket to resolve matters from their computers or smart phones; delivering an online service to set up or update child support; building an online dispute resolution platform model with the Landlord and Tenant Board to help identify and develop the right tools so that tenants and landlords in Ontario can avoid and resolve disputes without formal legal processes; and allowing the filing joint divorce applications online by April 2018.

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