It is the most accessible courthouse in Ontario, featuring barrier-free prisoner boxes
The Ontario government has opened a new courthouse in Toronto, which will house six criminal courts under the Ontario Court of Justice and specialty courts for drug treatment, youth, and mental health.
The new courthouse is part of the government's plan to modernize and improve access to the justice system. Ontario attorney general Doug Downey emphasized that integrating most court of justice criminal proceedings into one courthouse would provide equal access to court services that are currently dispersed across multiple court locations.
"The consolidation of resources will permit centralized criminal case management, a greater concentration of expertise, and the effective and efficient scheduling of judges, justices of the peace, Crown attorneys, court staff, duty counsel, and interpreters to support the timely processing of criminal matters," Downey said.
The new courthouse boasts 73 judicial hearing rooms equipped with modern technology, including video capabilities, to ensure the efficient and effective processing of criminal cases. The building also features upgraded security features, including electronic screening, lockdown capability, and video surveillance and monitoring, ensuring the safety of visitors and occupants.
In addition, the new facility is the most accessible courthouse in Ontario, with design elements that include barrier-free prisoner boxes, witness boxes, and tactile signage in Braille.
"The new Toronto courthouse will help improve access to court services for visitors and occupants while helping to ensure the safety of our communities," minister of infrastructure Kinga Surma said. "Our government is building and modernizing key infrastructure to help connect Ontarians to the people, businesses and services they need more quickly and efficiently."
The new Toronto courthouse was designed and built to meet the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver standard, which recognizes buildings with reduced environmental impacts. Ontario court of justice chief justice Lise Maisonneuve expressed pleasure at the imminent opening of the new courthouse, recognizing the efforts of the multiple stakeholders who were instrumental in bringing the project to completion. She said the court looks forward to continuing to work closely with all stakeholders to provide meaningful services and enhance the administration of justice.