Category Archives: Criminal law

Expanding access to legal aid for Ontarians

We’ve come a long way since my last blog on financial eligibility, posted in March 2014, in which I noted how far Ontario was lagging behind other jurisdictions in recognizing that financial eligibility for legal aid services must be increased. Nye Thomas is LAO’s Director General, Policy and Strategic Research. Nye has been leading LAO’s financial eligibility project.

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Supervised drug consumption sites: a matter of community health

Cécile Kazatchkine is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
Janet Butler-McPhee is their Director of Communications and Advocacy.
In September 2011, in Canada vs. PHS Community Services Society, the Supreme Court of Canada decided to allow Insite–Vancouver’s life-saving supervised consumption site–to remain open without risk of prosecution.

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Gladue Reports: not just a sentencing report

The Supreme Court of Canada’s decision in R. v. Gladue is a significant recognition of the position of Aboriginal offenders in the Canadian criminal justice system. It is well known to those working within the criminal justice system that Aboriginals are overrepresented. Chad Kicknosway is Ojibway and a graduate of law. He is currently a Gladue caseworker with Aboriginal Legal Services of Toronto and has been authoring Gladue reports for the past four years.

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Chip O’Connor, criminal lawyer, talks access to justice

This post is part of our Personal perspectives on access to justice series. Justice is not something you can hold in your hand, or put in the bank. It is neither concrete nor constant. The essence of justice is a proper balance between or among opposing or competing interests.Kingston lawyer Fergus J. (Chip) O’Connor was called to the bar in 1974. He opened his practice in Kingston a year later, and has dedicated his career since then to providing legal services to – and advocating for – prisoners at every level of Canada’s courts, often on a pro bono basis.

James Lockyer

James Lockyer on Wrongful Conviction Day

Wrongful convictions are an international problem. Our Association in Defence of the Wrongly Convicted decided there was a need for an International Wrongful Conviction day. Wrongful Conviction Day informs the general public, on an international level, that wrongful convictions have occurred, are occurring and will continue to occur in the future. There’s a need to change our system to uncover them and avoid them in future. James Lockyer, a principal at Lockyer Posner Campbell, is co-founder and lead counsel of the Association in Defense of the Wrongfully Convicted, an organization that advocates for the wrongly convicted.

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In honour of Wrongful Conviction Day: one wrongfully convicted person’s story

“As a wrongly convicted individual who has had the good fortune to finally be set free, I feel a need to do what I can to help free others. Simply put, wrong is wrong. We all have an obligation to right the wrongs which come to our attention…” Newfoundlander Ron Dalton spent more than eight years in prison, charged with second-degree murder of his wife. It stole 12 years from his life, and led to two trials, an appeal, a lawsuit a public inquiry into his case, and two other wrongful convictions.

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What will you do for Prisoners’ Justice Day?

Prisoners’ Justice Day has been observed every year on August 10 since 1975 to call attention to human rights and justice for prisoners. This year, the theme is mental health, and the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, LAO and the John Howard Society of Toronto will be hosting several leading legal activists for a day of […]

Image sourced from the Government of Canada’s National Victims of Crime Awareness Week website.

April 6-12 is National Victims of Crime Awareness Week

This week, it’s timely to reflect upon the issues facing victims of crime and the services, assistance and laws in place to help victims and their families. When a crime is committed, the repercussions can ripple out and affect children, partners, entire families and communities. Beyond physical injury, financial loss and property damage, the damages […]

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Ontario’s financial eligibility standard for legal aid: falling behind the rest of Canada

By Nye Thomas Ontario’s financial eligibility standard for legal aid, which has lagged behind other Canadian jurisdictions for many years, is falling even farther behind. Quebec, Alberta and British Columbia are moving further ahead in recognizing that financial eligibility for legal aid services must be increased. What’s happening in Ontario Ontario’s legal aid financial eligibility […]