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Improved Access To Justice For Low-Income Ontarians

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Improved Access To Justice For Low-Income Ontarians

Fee Waivers Take Effect January 28

Ministry of the Attorney General

TORONTO -- Low-income Ontarians will have greater access to justice through court fee waivers, effective January 28, 2005, Attorney General Michael Bryant announced today.

"The courts are an important part of our democracy. It is imperative that people have access to the courts, regardless of financial circumstance," said Bryant. "By introducing fee waivers, we are ensuring that income is not a barrier to justice."

People who meet the eligibility criteria will automatically qualify for fee waivers. Those who do not qualify under the criteria may ask a judge, in writing, for a waiver. Currently, there is no fee waiver mechanism in Ontario's courts, although some proceedings are exempt from the payment of specified fees.

Fee waivers apply to all levels of courts -- civil, small claims and family proceedings -- and to most court and enforcement fees. Waivers can also be requested at any point during a proceeding or enforcement.

"By introducing fee waivers, the Ontario government is taking action to ensure fairness and consistency in the delivery of court services," said Bryant. "We are also ensuring that low-income Ontarians have access to the court services they need."

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