Ontario’s top judge calls for family law reform
September 9, 2008
"The time has arrived to implement a properly serviced unified family court system," Winkler said a ceremony to mark the official opening of Ontario's courts for the year.
Winkler's comments were echoed Tuesday by the top judges in Ontario's lower courts.
Chief provincial court Justice Annemarie Bonkalo said judges are faced with handling a high volume of child protection, custody and support cases, and an increasing number of people who don't have a lawyer, meaning judges are forced to spend valuable court time giving basic advice and help.
"... like Chief Justice Winkler, I worry that our courts might not always be able to meet the challenge," said Bonkalo, adding that she supports Winkler's call for a family law review.
"Coming to a just decision is much, much harder when litigants are on their own in court."
Across Ontario, the need for strengthening the province's family law system is at "the tip of everyone's tongue," Attorney General Chris Bentley said after Tuesday's speeches.
The province last month pledged to review the handling of child custody cases following the death of seven-year-old Katelynn Sampson of Toronto, who was permitted to stay in the care of a woman who had a criminal record for drugs, prostitution and violence. The girl's caregiver, Donna Irving, is charged with second-degree murder.
But Bentley blamed some of the challenges caused by delays in the system to a long-standing shortage of federal court judges, adding that it's up to the federal government to make a unified system.
"We have supported the call for an increasingly unified court, but it's not within my control," he said.
Some of the pressure from the judges' shortage will be relieved, said Bentley, with the recent hiring of eight new federal judges.
A report last spring from the Ontario Bar Association found that the province's legal system has reached a "breaking point." There is an acute shortage of judges and many people are finding the system too complicated and expensive since they can't get help they need through an underfunded Legal Aid program, it said.
Commentary by the Ottawa Mens Centre in the Toronto Star
Our top judge has failed to spot the issue. The logical cause is the framers
of legislation failed to legislate a mandatory presumption of equal parenting
that would end 90% of family law litigation. Instead, our governments allow our
family courts to be swamped with quadruple increases in applications and motions
while maintaining the same number of judges of 20 years ago.
Our judges are generally poorly screened. Now we have a cesspool in the Judiciary who get rid of cases by flagrantly abusing their judicial power. The worst issue vexatious litigant orders, strike pleadings, banish litigants from cities, effectively indefinitely incarcerate any father seeking access to his children. Canadians have no comprehension of the incredible trail of destruction left by man hating judges and or “lazy judges”.
Don’t place any faith in the Court of Appeal of Ontario. Their track record in anti-male decisions is generally 100% when cost penalties are analyzed.
The Judiciary fail to accept responsibility
Winkler’s comments are old old news. Fact is the government and judiciary don’t give a dam about children. If they did, it all would have been in one court decades ago and, more importantly, there would be a legal presumption of equal parenting after separation and property rights for common law spouses.
Our judiciary now get rid of cases they don’t like for a variety of scandalous improper reasons that are nothing but an indirect application of Male Gender Apartheid. These tactics are, “vexatious litigant orders”, “orders for security for costs”, “restraining orders that are tantamount to deportation orders, and orders for child support without a scintilla of evidence. Family court is a place where the hatred towards men is palpable, it literally oozes out of the walls and creates an odour like that on death row for the wrongfully convicted.