Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017 Oakville, Ontario

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017 in Oakville, Ontario


Introduction:  Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

Good morning everyone.

Thank you, Tanya [Tanya Leedale, O’Connor MacLeod Hanna, LLP], for that kind introduction.

I would like thank the Oakville Chamber of Commerce and its members for the great work you do to bring local businesses together.

Your organization is making real contributions to the economic growth and high quality of life of the people living here in Oakville.

And it is truly my honour to be here today to speak with you.

As business leaders, you know how critical it is to be innovative.

And you know as well as I do that doesn’t just mean being willing to adopt new technologies.

To be truly innovative you must be open to fresh ideas…

You must question and evaluate how you do things on a continual basis.

You need to listen to experts, and the community, on ways to do better, to improve, and always remember the person using the service.

Ontario government innovation: Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

Innovation is a priority for the Government of Ontario.

And we are actively rethinking the way we do business.

From streamlining current online services, like drivers’ license renewals or student aid applications…

To introducing technology to fields that traditionally have been resistant to change.

In the justice system, for example, we’re working to build the court of the future…

To modernize justice delivery with virtual interactions, electronic filing and scheduling, and yes, finally bringing Wifi to courts.

Overall, our goal is to transform government services and make life easier for Ontarians.

This is an exciting time to be in government.

Hillary Hartley has just joined our team as Ontario’s first-ever chief digital officer…

She is a co-founder of 18F in the US, an office that helps government implement and improve digital services…

And she’s a former Presidential Innovation Fellow under Barack Obama.

We’re excited to see her ideas as head of our digital transformation efforts.

In our world today, we have a seemingly endless stream of information at our fingertips.

GPS navigation tells you where to go when you get in your car…

You can communicate instantly with friends across the world…

And e-mail gives people immediate access to you…anywhere… anytime… and on any device.

This means that services must be accessible and user friendly.

And when it comes to government, that standard is no different …

Though admittedly, the public sector has always had a particularly tough time living up to that expectation…

…The justice system being among the “worst offenders”!

MAG Innovation: Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

I know that when most people think about the justice system, they think about something that is old fashioned, intimidating and confusing.

And frankly, they’re right.

Our legal system is built on a rich foundation of tradition, but it’s in need of a big shake-up to meet the needs of the 21st century.

Many of our court processes are paper-based and more often than not people have to go to court in-person.
These are not the modern and efficient public services that Ontarians have come to expect.

But I see this as an opportunity to make change happen.

Because change is essential… even in our legal system.

That is why I have made modernizing the justice system one of my top priorities since being appointed Attorney General in 2016.

I knew that this was going to be a formidable challenge.

Because when it comes to delivering justice, the stakes are extremely high.

We have adopted a thoughtful strategy that makes targeted, incremental, changes to meet the needs of the people our justice system serves: from legal professionals to witnesses, to victims and the accused.

My ministry is innovating on a number of fronts to make life easier for all Ontarians, starting with new online services for child support payments, small claims court and civil claims.

And we are investing in a modern courthouse infrastructure, including one right here in Oakville, that will be equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

Online filing: Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

So, first, let me tell you about the online services…

A couple of years ago, we introduced online filing for small claims.

I am pleased to say that today more than 54 per cent of small claims are filed online — and more than 15 per cent of these are filed after regular business hours.

And last year, we launched an innovative online service for parents to start or update child support payments without having to go to court.

These services make it easier for people to complete legal transactions and save them time and money.

Building on these accomplishments, we’re now piloting a new online service to file claims for larger, more complex cases.

This new service will allow you to file civil claims twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, without having to make a trip to the courthouse or wait in long line-ups.

This service is now being tested in six cities in the province…earlier this week, we expanded the pilot to Toronto.

And I’m pleased to say that this service will soon be coming to Oakville, as we plan to expand civil filing online province-wide this fall.

This puts us one step closer towards creating paperless court proceedings in the future.

iAGCO Online Services: Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

We’re also going paperless when it comes to obtaining licenses, registrations and permits.
The next time you need an alcohol permit for a wedding, festival or your next corporate party, you can apply for your permit online through the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario.

Just two months ago, you had to go to the LCBO, in person, and fill out forms by hand, to apply for an alcohol permit.

The permit then took a week to process.

Now, you can file for it from the comfort of your own home, or office.

This will undoubtedly save people and businesses a lot of time and hassle… maybe even for some of you in this room.

This is part of a larger project that will allow people to apply for and manage all licences, registrations and permits regulated by the AGCO anytime, from anywhere.

And it will be fully implemented by 2019.

More modern court infrastructure: Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

Another area we are modernizing are the services in the courts themselves.

First of all, free Wifi – a real no-brainer – will start to roll out in courthouses across the province.

Currently, the Superior Court in Toronto is piloting the use of Court Call, a third-party video conferencing service, for select civil court matters.

These matters can be scheduled, and heard, all online.

This kind of innovation saves time and reduces costs for everyone.

We are looking at ways to incorporate some of these ideas at the provincial level as well.
You may have heard that we are moving forward with a brand new courthouse right here in Oakville.
The Halton Region Consolidated Courthouse will bring together, under one roof, the current operations of the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice in Burlington and Milton.

But most importantly, the new courthouse will use modern technology to address the justice needs of people in Halton.

It will help reduce delays by making operations more efficient and effective, and help families settle their disputes faster.

Now, I don’t want to get ahead of myself – like any significant investment in infrastructure, it will take years before we open the doors to this new courthouse…

Other projects of this size have taken from five to seven years to build…though I’m hopeful that this
won’t take as long, because of the amount of work and planning done to date.
But what I can tell you is that the finished building will be modern and accessible.

It will house 21 state-of-the art courtrooms… including one Multiple-Accused, High Security (MAHS) courtroom…

And it will be designed to accommodate additional courtrooms in the future.

It will offer a broad range of services – including justice, social and victim supports to help the public as they navigate through the court system.

And we will use technology to make the court more effective and user-friendly…

  1. Video conferencing will allow witnesses to appear from remote locations…
  2. Children and other vulnerable people will be able to appear before court from a secure room through closed circuit television…
  3. Counsel will be able to display video for all participants to view…
  4. And courtrooms will have an audio amplification system so that everyone can be heard.

With increased capacity and better use of technology throughout the facility, the new courthouse provides an opportunity to bring in leading-edge digital solutions that will make it easier for the people of Halton to access the justice system and make services more user-friendly.

In fact, the Halton Region consolidated courthouse will set the standard for every new courthouse we build across the province.

Conclusion to Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

These are gradual steps, and for me, it is just the beginning.

But we need your help.

As we look to expand the use of digital technology in our justice system, we rely on the perspectives of leaders like you.

Currently we are building a partnership with the experts at York University’s Winkler Institute for Dispute Resolution.

The Institute is going directly to the source, and asking people who use the family law system what types of information and tools would be most helpful to them.

Their feedback will help us to design more user-friendly tools that will help people learn about their options to resolve family law disputes, create and submit forms and make payments online.

I hope each of you will visit their website, or Facebook page to share your ideas and experiences.

We want to know what you think, and how our policies and processes impact you.

Before I close, I would like to thank John, the Oakville Chamber of Commerce… and of course, each of you, for having me here today.

With support from innovative, community-minded people like yourselves, I know we can build a better and stronger justice system for the people of Ontario.

Thank you.

The End of Attorney General Yasir Naqvi Speech July 13 2017

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