Good Morning and welcome to the Superior Court of Justice. This is the Civil Assignment Court for the scheduling of civil and family Trials.
As I understand that authorized representatives of the media may be present here today, in view of the importance of the issues I will shortly address, and in view of the broad public interest at stake in these issues, I am making an exceptional Order, at this time, pursuant to Section 136 (3) of the Courts of Justice Act.
The terms of this Order are as follows:
- Still photography, audio and video recording of my remarks to follow in a moment are allowed, as an exception to Section 136 (1);
- Still photography and video and audio recording shall only be conducted during my remarks to follow, and all photography and video and audio recording shall be terminated at the conclusion of these remarks;
- There shall be no photography, video or audio recording of any area in the courthouse other than within this courtroom , namely courtroom #211, and only during my remarks prior to the commencement of the Civil Assignment Court;
- Upon completion of my remarks, I will recess briefly before the commencement of the Assignment Court and during that time all video, photographic and audio recording equipment is to be removed from the Courtroom;
- There shall be no photography or video or audio recording of any persons within the courtroom other than the Court and the administrative staff within the courtroom incidental to the presentation of my remarks. Thus no photographs or audio recording is to be done with respect to any other persons within the courtroom including members of the public and lawyers in attendance;
- There shall be no questions or comments from representatives of the media, lawyers in attendance, or members of the public – – prior to, during or following my remarks.
Authorized members of the media may now proceed to take still photographs and make audio and/or video recordings in accordance with the terms of this Order.
Before proceeding with the Civil Assignment Court, I wish to offer the following remarks with respect to the status of the Brampton courthouse and the current facilities and scheduling challenges experienced by the Superior Court:
Today, before we schedule future matters at this trial scheduling assignment court, I wish to advise and explain the reasons why there will continue to be significant delays in the hearing of all future Brampton matters, and why we will have no choice but to regularly transfer cases outside of Brampton. I provide these remarks today because I believe, for transparency, the Bar and the public are entitled to understand why sufficient courtrooms and related courthouse facilities are not available in Brampton, why relief has not yet arrived, and why this problem is only expected to get worse.
The lack of available hearing rooms and judicial office space for the Superior Court of Justice in Brampton has now reached a breaking point. Please note that I am not addressing courtroom facilities and judicial chambers issues related to the provincial Ontario Court of Justice. It will be left to that Court to make its own remarks, if it chooses.
As is well known, this courthouse facility was too small shortly after when opened in 2000. It remains grossly undersized to accommodate the people of Peel region, which includes Brampton, Mississauga and Caledon. One in ten Ontario residents reside in Peel region, which represent the 5th largest population in Canada. Peel has enjoyed three decades of growth, which growth is only expected to continue.
As I will explain, the Superior Court of Justice has engaged all the appropriate channels within the Ministry of the Attorney General to seek timely solutions to the pressing space demands in this courthouse. In addition, we have done all that we can to maximize all of our available space. We have sought to work in a collaborative manner with staff in the Attorney General’s office, in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the Attorney General and the Chief Justice dated May 8, 2008, but without little or no success.