The Ontario government is making it easier, faster and more affordable to access the justice system by investing in technology and providing more services online. This will enable the province to provide more remote proceedings and reduce the number of courthouse visits, making the justice system safer to access during the COVID-19 outbreak and recovery period.
“Throughout the COVID-19 emergency and recovery, we have worked with our partners to move Ontario’s justice system forward by decades in a matter of months through game-changing modernization initiatives,” said Attorney General Doug Downey at the annual Opening of the Courts ceremony today. “This includes supporting innovative ways of conducting court proceedings, offering more remote proceedings, and adopting online methods for filing and interacting with the court to reduce the number of in-person visits to the courthouse.”
Investments in technology have moved more services online, making it easier for people to access the justice system no matter where they live. These initiatives include:
- Electronic filing for more than 400 types of civil and family court documents through the Justice Services Online platform.
- A cloud-based document sharing and storage e-hearing platform. Currently being piloted for select civil matters in Toronto, the platform will enable parties and/or their lawyers to share filed court documents of any size, file format prior to and during a specific court hearing and will be accessible 24/7.
- An online tool that makes it easier for people to search court case information from anywhere.
- The ability to dispute traffic tickets and other provincial offences remotely by audio or video where available.
- An online pre-screening and check-in for potential jurors, allowing people to spend less time in a courthouse before jury selection.
In the near future, electronic filing of probate court documents will allow for quicker processing of some estate applications and estate court users can avoid a trip to the courthouse or the time and expense of mailing their documents.
Initiatives are also underway to digitize and connect systems across Ontario’s criminal justice system. As communities gradually reopen and in-person justice services expand, Ontario will continue to draw on the guidance of public health experts to keep people safe and maintain access to justice.
“As the Minister responsible for digital and data transformation, our government has worked swiftly to deliver vital programs and services, including online, remote and in-person justice services, to Ontarians safely and securely,” said Peter Bethlenfalvy, Treasury Board President. “Building a more accessible, responsive and resilient justice system is another example of how the province is harnessing technology and innovation to deliver a government that works better for the people of Ontario.”