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Monday, December 5, 2016

PROVINCIAL JUDICIAL COMMITTEES TO TRACK DIVERSITY DATA

The provincial government is set to introduce a number of changes to the way Ontario chooses its judges in an attempt to boost diversity on the bench.

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi recently announced changes to the way Ontario’s Judicial Appointments Advisory Committee functions, which will include giving judicial applicants the opportunity to self-identify as indigenous or a member of a minority group.

The committee will be required to keep track of this data for applicants and appointees and will release it to the public.

“This is important because without this information the committee won’t know who’s applying,” Naqvi said in remarks at a Round­table of Diversity Associations event.

“We also know that people want more information about who their judges are and where they come from.”

The province is also planning to have the committee reach out to diverse lawyers through information sessions that will be held through associations and law schools. The sessions will “provide crucial nuts and bolts information” such as resumé and application building, what an interview would be like and what the committee looks for in candidates. Naqvi said he plans to make the same changes to the way justices of the peace are selected next year.

OSC APPOINTS SECURITIES LAWYER COMMISSIONER

The Ontario Securities Commission has appointed Philip Anisman to serve as a commissioner on the regulator’s board of directors.

Anisman, who is a former Osgoode Hall Law School professor, has decades of experience practising securities and corporate law. He has written extensively about securities law and has appeared before all levels of court in Ontario, including the Supreme Court of Canada.

TLA RESPONDS TO LSUC REPORT ON RACIALIZED LICENSEES

The Toronto Lawyers Association has voiced its support for the Law Society of Upper Canada’s report on the challenges faced by racialized licensees.

The report — “Working Together for Change: Strategies to Address Issues of Systemic Racism in the Legal Professions” — identified widespread barriers faced by racialized licensees and introduced some new requirements for licensees and firms to promote inclusion.

In a letter to the law society, TLA president Stephen Mullings endorsed the report saying it is important that the regulator ensure law firms work toward eliminating systemic racism and penalize the ones that fail to take the necessary steps.

LAW TIMES POLL

Law Times recently reported that an Ontario court ordered the province’s Ministry of the Attorney General to release a set of draft guidelines for prosecuting HIV non-disclosure cases. Readers were asked if they agree with the decision.

More than 86 per cent said yes, it is important for the Crown to be open and transparent about the way it prosecutes these cases, so people understand the application of the law.

The remaining 14 per cent said no, the Crown does not have to release this information, and the ministry has a right to keep this information internal, for use among employees.

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