Back to Updates

Ford government passes problematic Bill 161

The Ford government rushed a number of bills through the Ontario Legislature in advance of the summer sitting. Bill 161, the government's badly flawed legal reform legislation, was among the bills passed.

Bill 161: the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2020 has been panned by legal scholars. More than 30 Law professors published a report that stated that the bill "seriously weakens the ability of community legal clinics to engage in meaningful, sufficiently funded legal work to address the everyday violations of legal rights of low-income individuals and disadvantaged communities". 

The Society has been among those criticizing the legislation. “There is broad consensus within the legal profession and across the political spectrum that Ontario has an access to justice crisis,” Dana Fisher, vice-president of the Society's Legal Aid Ontario Lawyers Local said in a June statement. “In spite of this, Bill 161 seeks to literally remove the words “access to justice” from the purpose of the Legal Aid Services Act.”

For a summary of several of the problematic bills that the government rushed to pass read the article in the Lawyer's Daily.