Ontario to improve provincial court diversity

Ontario to improve provincial court diversity

The Ontario government has announced plans to bolster the diversity of provincial court appointments with reforms to the province’s Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee. Lawyers say that this is a needed move, as the Ontario Court of Justice is noticeably lacking in diversity, especially outside of Toronto.

“It’s a positive thing that the government is seeking a diversity of candidates when looking at judicial applications,” says Michael Spratt, partner with Abergel Goldstein & Partners LLP and also former vice president of the Defence Counsel Association of Ottawa.

“What we see across the province is a bench and judges that don’t necessarily reflect the communities in which they sit,” says Spratt. “This is particularly problematic in Ottawa where I can count the number of racialized judges on one hand — in fact, one finger.”

Spratt says that when judges reflect the diversity in their communities, it leads to a broader range of life experiences and enhances both the trial and sentencing process.

Read the full article: Law Times