The LCO has publicly released its response to the provincial government regarding Bill 161, the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act.  The LCO has provided comments on Bill 161’s provisions regarding class actions and small estates.

Class Actions

In July 2019, the LCO released a major law reform report on class actions in Ontario, Class Actions: Objectives, Experiences and Reforms.  The provincial government has adopted a substantial number of LCO recommendations, including recommendations regarding case management, carriage, fees, settlement approvals and distributions, third party funding and appeals.  Unfortunately, Bill 161, at least in its present form,  also includes far-reaching amendments to the certification provisions of the Class Proceedings Act that are likely to have a significant and negative impact on access to justice and the administration of justice in Ontario.  The LCO’s letter to the provincial government regarding Bill 161 and class actions can be downloaded here.


Small Estates

Schedule 9 of the Bill 161 includes important amendments to the Estates Act.  These provisions are based on the LCO’s 2015 report, Simplified Procedures for Small Estates. The LCO recommended a much simpler probate process be introduced for estates worth less than $50,000. We designed a system that would retain the most important protections of probate but would be simple enough for applicants to complete without legal assistance. The proposed amendments to the Estates Act are generally consistent with the LCO’s recommendations. Further regulations are needed to ensure this reform succeeds.  The LCO’s letter to the provincial government regarding Bill 161 and small estates can be downloaded here. 

For more information about LCO reports on class actions and small estates, please contact the LCO here.