Law Times - Newsmakers

2016 Top Newsmakers

The premier weekly newspaper for the legal profession in Ontario

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2016 top news, newsmakers and cases 7 FROM GIVING JUDGES DISCRETION over victims' surcharges to appoint- ing more than two dozen new judges, Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould got down to business trying to address the major issues the Liberal government promised it would tackle when it swept to power in the fall of 2015. A major tenet of her post has been justice reform, with a specifi c focus on relationships with indigenous people. In her keynote speech at the Canadian Bar Association's annual confer- ence in early August, Wilson-Raybould told the crowd "many of the issues we face as a country have a justice element to them, which is why our government has embarked on a very ambitious agenda, and an eff ort to reform our justice system." She went on to stress the importance of "re-building the nation-to-nation relationship." "We need to fi nd ways to allow for more discretion in dif- ferentiating and treating administration of justice off ences," she said, noting the resources spent on processing minor off ences could be used in "more meaningful" ways. In June, Wilson-Raybould ushered the assisted-dying bill into law a er much debate and criticism over the wording of who would qualify for a doctor-assisted death. In the end, Wilson- Raybould's defence of the wording of the bill — which includes the caveat that a patient's death be "reasonably foreseeable" — won out in the end despite initial Senate pushback that it was too restrictive. Also over the summer, there were 15 appointments to trial and appellate courts Canada-wide. e new judges consisted of 10 women and fi ve men. In late October, Wilson-Raybould appointed 24 new judges to fi ll vacancies across the country. With 14 women, two of which self-identify as indigenous, among the new judges, increased diversity of the bench was once again highlighted as a priority going forward. "Getting the balance right — whether in terms of gender, race or ethnicity — is extremely important and speaks to the need for fairness and accessibility," Wilson-Raybould said. Wilson-Raybould has also been vocal in her defence of the selection process for the Supreme Court of Canada that led to Justice Malcolm Rowe, of Newfoundland and Labrador, being appointed on Oct. 17. She called changes to the system — which were made in early August and included a functional bilingual- ism requirement, allowing Canadians to apply for the job and having an independent, non-partisan advisory board draw up a shortlist of candidates — modern and dynamic. She also gave judges the discretion to waive victims' surcharg- es when off enders lack the funds to make the payment. Wilson- Raybould tabled a bill in the House of Commons that repeals the mandatory fi ne imposed under the previous government. top newsmakers Wilson-Raybould ushered assisted-dying bill into law Justice minister also pushed for 'modern and dynamic' selection of judges BY MALLORY HENDRY Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould Ask for our Trial Report Card The Proof is in the Precedents Tel: 905-841-5717 Truth in Personal Injury Advertising Begins with Trial Work Untitled-3 1 2016-11-24 2:11 PM

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