Ontario Making it Easier to Access Justice Services Online
Province Releases New Roadmap on Digital Services
Ontario is modernizing the justice system to make it more accessible, efficient and responsive to the needs of people across the province.
Today, Attorney General Yasir Naqvi was at Ryerson University's Legal Innovation Zone to launch Putting Justice Within Reach: The Foundation for User-Focused Justice in Ontario. This roadmap supports a shift to digitized justice services and streamlined court processes that increase access to justice and improve the way people interact with the justice system.
The plan includes:
- Developing digital tools, such as online questionnaires and e-mail summonses, to make it faster and more convenient to go through the jury process
- Expanding the civil filing online pilot provincewide to allow all Ontarians to file their civil claims online, 24/7, from any location
- Developing a new digital service by spring 2018 to help people save time and money by going online to look up the status of their traffic tickets and other provincial offences, and request early resolution meetings
- Exploring online dispute resolution options to potentially allow people who receive a traffic or similar ticket to resolve matters from their computers or smart phones
- Providing the convenient option of filing joint divorce applications online by April 2018
- Delivering an online service to set up or update child support to help parents save money on legal fees and avoid unnecessary trips to the courthouse
- Building an online dispute resolution platform model with the Landlord and Tenant Board to help identify and develop the right tools so that tenants and landlords in Ontario can avoid and resolve disputes without formal legal processes
- Funding start-ups that use artificial intelligence to develop solutions that help lawyers and consumers, or increase access to justice.
Modernizing the justice system is part of Ontario's plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change.The plan includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
- For the past two years, Ontario has partnered with Ryerson’s Legal Innovation Zone to challenge start-ups to find solutions for increasing access to justice, providing $100,000 in funding to help businesses scale up. This year, the province is providing $80,000 in seed funding to companies that use AI in tech solutions for consumers of legal services.
- Every year, approximately half a million people in Ontario receive questionnaires to determine their eligibility for jury duty. People across the province are invited to help improve the jury process by completing a jury survey before December 12 at ontario.ca/jurysurvey.
- Approximately 1.5 million traffic or similar tickets are issued in Ontario each year. In 2016, Ontarians lost an estimated $47 million in wages, and made an estimated 450,000 trips to municipal court offices to resolve their dispute or attend trial.
“To continue to meet the needs of the people the Ontario justice system serves, it has to adapt and evolve. Our plan lays out the foundation for a more modern and user-focused system. By making it easier to access services online, modernizing courthouses and implementing innovative technologies, we are transforming the justice system to better serve all Ontarians.”
“There’s no better place than Ontario to take up the charge for a digital shift in legal services. The Legal Innovation Zone is pleased to partner with the Ontario government on the AI Legal Challenge to drive innovation in the delivery and access to legal services to benefit consumers.”
“We are encouraged by this action plan and see it as a critical step in responding to the legal needs of Ontario residents. Through the Law Society’s work with The Action Group on Access to Justice, we look forward to continued collaboration with the government of Ontario on innovative initiatives that increase access to justice in our province.”
“The Ontario Bar Association has worked closely with the Ontario government in the development of the civil claims online service. We applaud the government for its leadership in introducing the e-filing of claims, making it available across the province, and look forward to continuing our partnership to improve and modernize the legal system.”
Quinn M. Ross