A few weeks ago, this legislative session came to an end…
The first session of Ontario’s 40th Parliament drew to a dramatic close on June 20th with the Budget Bill passing 52 to 35 (the Liberals voted in favour, 35 of 36 Tories voted against and Tory MPP Ouellette and the NDP did not vote on the Bill itself).
Excluding administrative matters like the Supply Act and private bills1, only eight bills have received Royal Assent since the October 6th election – 6 of them on the last two days of the session.
In that same period, the OBA has made 19 submissions to 11 different bodies (including three standing committees, four ministries, the Law Society and an independent review) and effected countless changes to legislation and policy.
The Work Goes on…
There is no rest for the wicked or the dedicated this summer.
The Judicial Mediation and Justice Effectiveness Taskforces (introduced in previous OBA magazine issues) will continue their work as they target the fall and early winter for final reports.
A multi-section working group will complete a submission to the Law Society of Upper Canada on proposed changes to the Rules of Professional Conduct. The proposed changes include changes to the conflict of interest rules. The CBA has already made significant headway in working with the Federation of Law Societies on this issue. If you are interested in participating in this working group, please contact email@example.com.
And the need to protect privilege just won’t seem to die…
We have reported before on the CBA and OBA’s work to protect critical legal privileges form threat, often unintended. There have been a few more victories on that front in the last month.
In the June issue, we reported that the OBA had been invited by the Standing Committee on Justice Policy to present its submission on Bill 34, Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2012. President Sweeny, Chair of Public Affairs David Sterns and constitutional expert Cheryl Milne presented at Committee. The OBA team advocated for, among other things, an explicit recognition of privilege in the Bill’s court-security regime, such that searches of privileged material would be prohibited.
The OBA suggested that the Committee amend the bill to add:
(3) Nothing in this Part shall operate so as to require the disclosure of information that is subject to solicitor-client privilege, litigation privilege or settlement privilege or to allow for the examination of documents containing such information.
This suggestion appears virtually verbatim in the amended bill that left committee and will be in the Act once passed. It is expected that Bill 34 will pass in the next legislative session. For a more complete look at the results of the OBA’s submission on the bill
The College of Physicians and Surgeons recently consulted on draft guidelines for its members who were acting as experts in legal proceedings. In our submission, the OBA congratulated the College on its goal to ensure its members contribute productively to the proper administration of justice and made 11 recommendations, eight of which have been adopted into the most recent draft guidelines. Among these suggestions was the addition of solicitor/client and litigation privilege as concepts with which experts should be familiar when acting in a legal context.
About the Author
Elizabeth Hall is the OBA's Director of Government and Stakeholder relations.
1 Private bills are not to be confused with private members’ bills. The latter are bills introduced by MPPs who are not Cabinet Ministers but deal with matters of public policy. The former are bills that deal with more administrative matters for individual corporations etc. For an explanation of the distinction visit ontla.on.ca