Law Times

November 24, 2014

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Justice on Target continues to fall short, stats show By yamri Taddese Law Times s the provincial govern- ment announced its Better Justice Together effort last week aimed at improving the court system and addressing access to justice, new statistics from the six-year-old Jus- tice on Target project show it con- tinues to fall short of its goals of making the courts more efficient. Recent statistics published by the Ministry of the Attorney General show either a plateau or a slight decrease in court efficiency in 2013 versus 2012. The courts met the goal of com- pleting complex criminal matters within 10 appearances 66.5 per cent of the time in 2013, a slight de- crease from 67 per cent in 2012. The benchmark set by the government was also to complete those matters within 240 days, an aim the courts met 66.2 per cent of the time last year. In 2012, they met that target 67.7 per cent of the time. On both of those measures, the numbers were down from when the government relaunched Justice on Target in 2012 after it failed to meet the more ambi- tious targets it set when it originally announced the program in 2008. The project's original goal was to reduce the number of appearances and days to disposition in Ontario criminal cases by 30 per cent by 2012 as compared to 2007. The gov- ernment abandoned that approach in favour of the new benchmarks after falling far short of that initial goal. At the time of the relaunch, the statistics dating up to June 2012 showed the average number of ap- pearances had declined to 8.5 from 9.3 in 2007. As for days to disposi- tion, the average in June 2012 was 192, a decrease of about six per cent from the 2007 figure of 205 days. The idea of the new benchmarks was to seek continuous improve- ment against them. The Ministry of the Attorney General now says not all cases will meet the benchmarks it set when it relaunched the project in 2012. "The benchmark approach rec- ognizes that every case is unique and not all cases will meet the benchmarks 100 per cent of the time," said ministry spokesman Brendan Crawley. "While provincially, the Visit or call 1.800.387.5164 for a 30-day no-risk evaluation )BSECPVOEȕ1VCMJTIFE'FCSVBSZFBDIZFBS 0OTVCTDSJQUJPOȕ- 0OFUJNFQVSDIBTFȕ- .VMUJQMFDPQZEJTDPVOUTBWBJMBCMF 1SJDFTTVCKFDUUPDIBOHFXJUIPVUOPUJDF]UPBQQMJDBCMFUBYFTBOETIJQQJOHIBOEMJOH CANADIAN LAW LIST 2014 :063*/45"/5$0//&$5*0/50$"/"%"Ȏ4-&("-/&5803, ȕ BOVQUPEBUFBMQIBCFUJDBMMJTUJOH ȕ DPOUBDUJOGPSNBUJPO ȕ MFHBMBOEHPWFSONFOUDPOUBDUJOGPSNBUJPO .03&5)"/"1)0/�, CLLdir_LT_Oct6_14.indd 1 2014-09-30 9:25 AM Cancer decision a shock to lawyers Is ruling on treatment a throwback or constitutional advancement? By yamri Taddese Law Times n Ontario Court judge's recent decision to allow an aboriginal girl with cancer to withdraw from chemotherapy and pursue traditional treatment is a throwback to a "prescientific era," says a Toronto health lawyer. The judge allowed the 11-year-old aboriginal girl, who has lymphoblas- tic leukemia, to seek alternative treat- ment at a Florida clinic in accordance with the wishes of her mother, D.H., after she invoked the constitutional rights of aboriginal people to make their own treatment decisions. But Toronto lawyer Alan Be- laiche says the decision was a huge leap backwards and "should defi- nitely be appealed." "What is glaringly absent from the decision is any meaningful consider- ation of the child's best interest. And in lieu, the judge appears to have decided that a constitutional principle will trump all other considerations, including, most importantly, the best interest of the child," he says. "In my view, invoking and then essentially import- ing a constitutional principle, however laudable and im- portant it may be, into the health-care context — where to my k nowledge it's never been judicially recognized in Canada — without considering the subject's best inter- est is not a decision to be celebrated but a decision that should definitely be appealed." The court decided the girl, identified only as J.J., isn't a child in need of protection as alleged by McMaster Chil- dren's Hospital, the facility that treated her until her withdrawal in August. The court also found a constitutional protection for the right of aboriginal people to pursue traditional treatment as opposed to western medicine. "It is this court's conclusion therefore, that D.H.'s de- cision to pursue traditional medicine for her daughter J.J. is her aboriginal right," wrote Justice Gethin Edward. "Further, such a right cannot be qualified as a right only if it's proven to work by employing the western medical paradigm. To do so would be to leave open the opportunity to perpetually erode aboriginal rights." Edward emphasized the mother's deep commitment to her longhouse beliefs and her belief that traditional medicines work. "This is not an 11th-hour epiph- any employed to take her daughter out of the rigours of chemotherapy. Rather, it is a decision made by a mother, on behalf of a daughter she truly loves, steeped in a practice that has been rooted in their culture from its beginnings," wrote Edward. But according to Belaiche, former general counsel at St. Michael's Hospital, the court had a duty to examine the ef- ficacy of the alternative treatment the child would receive. GLOBAL CO-ORDINATION Co-operation a big focus for privacy enforcement P7 FOCUS ON Business of Law P10 'From having worked in a hospital, there is no question that alternative and complementary therapy have a place but cannot and should not be treated in isolation,' says Alan Belaiche. Photo: Robin Kuniski See Targets, page 2 See Political, page 2 Madeleine Meilleur announced a new effort called Better Justice Together last week. PM #40762529 & $#&!&jmmm$cYa[bbWh$Yec ntitled-4 1 12-03-20 10:44 AM $4.00 • Vol. 25, No. 38 November 24, 2014 e: Closed File Storage SAVE YOUR FIRM MONEY With Our Secure and Cost Effective, Easy to Access Closed File Scanning & Storage Solutions. Call Us, We Will Help You! ntitled-1 1 2014-10-21 8:13 AM L aw TIMes L aw TIMes A BONDAGE DEBATE Time for Canada to update its laws? P4 A

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