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Monday, November 9, 2015


The Law Foundation of Ontario has announced that Julie Mathews will receive the 2015 Guthrie award.

The award, named in honour of former foundation trustee and chairman Donald Guthrie, acknowledges individuals and organizations for their contributions to access to justice and excellence in the legal profession.

“Julie exemplifies what the Guthrie Award is all about,” said Paul Schabas, chairman of the law foundation.

“She’s definitely made a far-reaching impact on access to justice personally, and has led a strong team to deliver high-quality legal information throughout Ontario.”

Mathews has been executive director of Community Legal Education of Ontario since 2000 and previously worked as a lawyer in private practice and a policy analyst for the Ontario government.

“Julie plays a unique role in our justice sector and has been a significant influence on the quality of public legal education, innovative research, relationships, and access to justice in Ontario and beyond,” said Carol Lee Smith, counsel at the Social Justice Tribunals Ontario and former chairwoman of CLEO.

Among Mathews’ accomplishments at CLEO is Connecting Communities, a project that aims to boost the capacity of community organizations to provide legal information to linguistic minorities or people in remote or rural communities. “They took the project from an idea to the thriving reality it is today, supporting over 20 community-based projects across Ontario,” the law foundation said in announcing the award.

The foundation will present Mathews with the award at a reception ceremony in February.


Two Ontario legal organizations are putting an emphasis on legal literacy for Ontario high school students with the launch of a new educational program.

The program, a joint effort by LawPRO and the Ontario Justice Education Network, involves a six-module resource that includes lessons on negotiation, rental housing, buying and selling a home, mortgages, and human rights in the housing context. The goal is to boost students’ financial literacy and legal capability.

“These lesson plans, which link to the Ontario Ministry of Education curriculum expectations, will build students’ capacity to understand their rights and obligations in both a rental housing and real estate market context,” said Andrea Sobko, director of educator support at the OJEN.

“Students are exposed to real-life scenarios through which they learn practical legal information, practise their negotiation skills, and demonstrate how to make important financial decisions.”

Teachers and others interested in the lessons can download the materials from the OJEN’s web site at


The results of the latest Law Times online poll are in.

According to the poll, there’s a lot of support from the legal community for new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s plan to legalize marijuana possession. More than 66 per cent of respondents said they agreed with the idea.

Trudeau, of course, made legalization a key part of his campaign platform ahead of the Oct. 19 election.

He’ll be seeking to make good on the promise amid questions about the details of such a change and a busy agenda for the federal government that includes bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada this year and responding to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling this year on physician-assisted suicide.

The job of handling the legalization promise will fall in large part on Jody Wilson-Raybould, the new MP for Vancouver Granville named by Trudeau to serve as justice minister last week.   

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Law Times Poll

Ontario’s recent provincial budget calls for changes in benefits for catastrophically injured patients, including a ‘return to the default benefit limit of $2 million for those who are catastrophically injured in an accident, after it was previously reduced to $1 million in 2016.’ Do you agree with this shift?