Lucille Collard exposes concerns on the impact of justice reform Bill 161 on vulnerable Ontarians

  • Legislative Review

For immediate release

June 25, 2020, QUEEN’S PARK – During yesterday’s debate on Bill 161, Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, 2020, MPP Lucille Collard, raised concerns over proposed changes to class action proceedings, the structure of our legal aid system, and government accountability.

“In many respects, this Bill addresses some overdue changes to the Province’s justice system. However, it also contains deeply concerning changes,” said Collard.  “It creates obstacles to access justice, where our vulnerable Ontarians will be the most impacted.”

This was not the first time that MPP Collard, the Liberal critic for the Attorney General and a member of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy raised her concerns. On June 17, she proposed 23 amendments to the committee. They were all rejected.

Amendments included things like:

  • Protecting the ability of Ontarians to bring class actions against government and large corporations when they are injured by systemic injustices and bad practices.
  • Removing the onerous barriers to initiating a proceeding against the government when they harm Ontarians.
  • Amending the Legal Aid Services Act, 2019 to ensure that Ontarians across the province may access equally high-quality legal aid services in either official language.

“I am worried that Bill 161 will leave Ontario with a justice system which does not live up to modern standards,” added Collard.


Quick fact:

  • The proposed Legal Aid Services Act will reduce the ability of the 73 community legal clinics in Ontario to provide legal aid services which best address the unique legal needs of their communities.
  • During the committee public consultation, 45 Stakeholders provided Oral Submissions and 174 made written submission.
  • All 45 oral submissions and 173 written submissions were opposed to Bill 161 as it stands.
  • The changes offered to the Class Proceedings Act in Bill 161 will additionally limit Ontarians’ ability to access justice and seek redress through class action proceeding for serious and systemic injustices. This can may have serious repercussions for the Long-Term Care home residents hoping to seek justice.

For more information:

Liam Roche

Special Assistant, Communications