Reflecting its commitment to community consultation, in September 2008, the LCO hosted a Roundtable on Family Law Reform, bringing together a wide range of key stakeholders in the area of family law. The purpose was to identify the most urgent family law concerns as part of the process of developing options for an LCO project on family law reform.
Thirty-three stakeholders attended from across the province, including:
- senior members of the Ontario family law bar
- judges from both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice
- representatives from legal clinics and Legal Aid Ontario
- family law mediators
- the Ontario Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada
- members of organizations representing Aboriginal Ontarians, persons with disabilities, and survivors of domestic violence
- representatives of Ontario’s Ministry of the Attorney General, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer and the federal Department of Justice
Participants shared informal conversation with their colleagues in the family law system, and in some cases, were able to meet those working in different aspects of the system during a well-attended reception at Ryerson University’s Oakham House on the evening of Friday, September 12th. On Saturday, they continued with a full day of vigorous discussion.
The breadth of perspectives and experiences among attendees contributed to a wide-ranging and stimulating dialogue that provided the LCO with considerable assistance in the design of a project related to family law reform.
The event was organized by Staff Lawyer Lauren Bates with assistance from Research Lawyer Julie Lassonde, and contributions from Osgoode Hall Law Students Sahra Panjwani and Sharon Rohoman. Janice Williams and Andrea Seguin provided administrative assistance.
Based on the results of the Roundtable Discussion, in January 2009, the LCO circulated an Options Paper outlining two potential family law projects and conducted further consultation. The Board of Governors has now approved a project in family law that will address processes at the system’s entry level.