Ontario’s Attorney General, the Honorable Yasir Naqvi, spoke at Western Law on January 19, on the topic of “Challenging the Status Quo in Ontario’s Justice System.” He encouraged Western Law students to be the “instruments of change” in society, and to constantly ask how they can make the legal system and society better.
The Attorney General addressed specific changes and increased funding for the province’s bail system, which will facilitate the release of low-risk accused. Referring to the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision in R v Jordan, he indicated that the current waiting times for criminal trials are unacceptable, and described the steps he will take to improve the pace of justice. This includes the appointment of more judges, Assistant Crown prosecutors, and duty counsel.
The Attorney General also spoke of the need for the legal system to reflect changing social standards, describing the government’s work on issues like the legalization and regulation of marijuana, the All Families are Equal Act, and mechanisms for police oversight.
He also responded to questions about administrative segregation in prisons, the enforcement of surrogacy agreements, and the cooperation of the provincial justice system and mental health services.
During his visit to Western Law, the Attorney General toured the Community Legal Services clinic and spoke to students about their work there.