Ontario Removing Barriers To Courts

    New Courts Committee Will Improve Access For People With Disabilities

    TORONTO, April 2 /CNW/ - Attorney General Michael Bryant and Chief
Justice of Ontario Roy McMurtry announced today that a new Ontario Courts
Accessibility Committee has been established to help promote barrier free
courts in Ontario and to better respond to accessibility needs for persons
with disabilities. The Attorney General also announced that a pilot project
has been implemented in seven court locations to provide information on
existing services.
    These initiatives stem from a report presented by Chief Justice McMurtry
to the Attorney General in December 2006 on how to make Ontario's court system
fully accessible.
    "I want to thank Chief Justice McMurtry for the tremendous dedication,
commitment and hard work undertaken on this important issue," said Bryant. "I
am pleased that a permanent committee has been set up to build on his
achievements. I look forward to continuing to work to ensure that Ontario's
justice system is accessible to everyone in this province."
    "It is very important that people with disabilities are able to fully
participate in the Ontario court system," said Chief Justice McMurtry. "I am
confident that the Ontario Courts Accessibility Committee will be invaluable
in working to ensure the province's courthouses are accessible to all
    The committee comprises representatives from the judiciary, the bar, the
Ministry of the Attorney General and the province's Accessibility Directorate.
It will be co-chaired by Justice Susan Lang of the Court of Appeal and Ann
Merritt, Assistant Deputy Attorney General of the Ministry's Court Services
    In addition, a pilot project has designated a site accessibility
information coordinator for each of seven court locations: Brockville,
Hamilton, London, Newmarket, Osgoode Hall (Toronto), Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
The coordinators are providing information on existing services available, and
tracking information requests and the steps taken to meet these requests. The
data will help the ministry to assess accessibility needs to further expand
this service in court sites across the province. The pilot sites began
operating at the end of March 2007.
    The Ministry of the Attorney General also develops annual plans to make
its programs, services and facilities more accessible to people with
disabilities, in accordance with the Access for Ontarians with Disabilities
    The Chief Justice's report, issued after a year of study, offers six
major recommendations to make Ontario's courts more accessible to persons with
disabilities. The report is available at

    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Greg Crone, Ministry of the Attorney General,
Minister's Office, (416) 326-1785; Brendan Crawley, Ministry of the Attorney
General, Communications Branch, (416) 326-2210

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