Ontario’s Law Reform Commission Gets Closer

Today’s the day the Law Society of Upper Canada (orse. Ontario) decides in Convocation whether to bestow money and approval on Attorney General Bryant’s proposal to resurrect the Law Reform CommissionThough there’s no specific mention of it in the agenda [pdf]; presumably it will come up under the Finance and Audit Committee’s report re the 2007 budget.

Apart from the advisability of bringing the province’s lawyers on side, Bryant wants to ensure that any new commission has non-governmental funding to make it more difficult for it to be axed in the future by a hostile government, at least according to a report in The Toronto Star a few days ago. The LSUC’s Law Foundation will contribute half of the commission’s small budget, and law schools will donate researchers and other “in kind” contributions.

Speaking of law schools, I’m pleased to point out that the commission will be housed at Osgoode Hall Law School.

According to The Star article, the Commission’s mandate will be to:

  • “Examine issues of significant interest and importance.”
  • “Develop recommendations designed to improve the administration of Ontario’s justice system.”
  • “Enhance access to justice.”


  1. Following the Alberta Institute model that has worked for over thirty years. See Bill Hurlburt’s book, Law reform commissions in the United Kingdom, Australia and Canada. This was also what happened to Arthur Close’s BC Institute.

    Can’t save the federal commission though.

  2. BTW why can’t Bryant find the money in the Ministry’s budget. When John McCamus turned off the lights at the old Commission, it was spending well under $400K.

  3. It is very important that ordinary citizens have input in the resurrected law reform commission.
    The law is there to serve the people, not the legal profession. If the commission is dominated by lawyers it will have little credibility, indeed lay persons from various backgroung should be the majority.

    I have observed the law administration in Ontario for 49 years. I have a good knowledge of the law, what it is and where changes are needed.

    I have not voted for any political party for 20 years and consider myself to be independent. I believe I would be an ideal candidate as a lay person on this commission. Whether the assignment is paid is not a concern. Travel expenses would be nice.

    Would whoever reads this communication be kind enough enough to tell me where I can submit my name.

    Peter Simonsen, R.R.1, Hastings, On. K0L 1Y0 705-696-3704

  4. For yesterday’s press release indicating the make up of the new board of governors see: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/LAC.20061201.BRYANT01/TPStory/TPNational/Ontario/ and the release at http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/news/2006/20061130-lawcomm-EN.pdf

    It will be headed by a Board of Governors, which includes:

    The Honourable Frank Iacobucci, Torys’ Counsel and retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada
    The Honourable Justice James C. MacPherson, Court of Appeal for Ontario
    Murray Segal, Deputy Attorney General
    Neil Finkelstein, Partner, Blake, Cassels and Graydon, LLP
    Patrick Monahan, Dean, Osgoode Hall Law School