Mon. Feb 26th, 2024

The province is proposing several amendments to the Victims' Bill of Rights, the Cannabis Control Act and the Coroners Act.

Legislation to help victims of crime in Ontario

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The Progressive Conservatives' bill will, according to them, better protect the public against hate crimes, cannabis cultivation and work accidents on construction sites.

  • Jean-Philippe Nadeau (View profile)Jean -Philippe Nadeau

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The Conservative government presented Thursday the broad outlines of its omnibus bill to strengthen public safety, strengthen the rights of victims of criminal and hateful acts and investigate accidents in the construction industry.

If passed, the Ontario Victims Bill of Rights would make it easier for more victims to pursue civil claims against an offender for the mental health and bodily harm that results from such acts. /p>

Justice in Ontario faces unprecedented challenges, says chief justice

The province cites, for example, cases of terrorism, auto theft, human trafficking offenses and hate crimes against places of worship.

Victims will no longer need to prove to a judge that their physical suffering or psychological after-effects are real, Ontario Attorney General Doug Downey said in press conference at Queen's Park.

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A new grant for security measures surrounding the prevention of hate crimes would also be paid to cultural and faith-based organizations to help them protect community places.

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Attorney General of Ontario, Doug Downey

The new law also plans to improve access to justice by amending the Ontario Courts of Justice Act to limit, for example, delays in juvenile courts if a judge is assigned to another legal proceedings.

The Attorney General recalls that his government has invested $72 million to resolve pending court cases and hire judges and staff in the province's courts.

The government also believes that the law would better protect minors against the use and harm of cannabis in their environment.

The cultivation of recreational cannabis would thus be prohibited in buildings where childcare services are offered.

We believe that it is disturbing and inappropriate to cultivate marijuana in spaces where children are present, specifies Minister Downey, recalling that the legalization of cannabis was permitted in 2018 under the federal government of Justin Trudeau.

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If the bill is passed, it will now be banned to cultivate recreational cannabis in a building that houses a kindergarten or daycare.

He recalls that the government of British Columbia has adopted a law to this effect to limit the exposure of minors to the recreational consumption of cannabis.

We give priority to victims of criminal and hateful acts, we further protect children and we ensure public safety, underlines the Attorney General.

Ontario also wants to begin negotiations with Indigenous people to regulate the cultivation of cannabis on the province's reserves.

The province is also counting remove mandatory coroner's inquests for workers who die accidentally on construction sites.

The Ontario Coroners Act will therefore be amended so that the government conducts an annual review of deaths on construction sites in the province to relieve pressure on coroners who are overworked, according to the solicitor general Michael Kerzner, present at the conference.

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The Solicitor General of Ontario , Michael Kerzner

Any death on a construction site is currently subject to a mandatory coroner's inquest and similar deaths are often examined together.

The Solicitor General believes that the current way of proceeding is too long, because coroner's inquests take time to complete, from the time of death to the jury's recommendations through the holding of audiences.

This lengthy process may fail to identify priority workplace health and safety issues and practices that could contribute to jobsite deaths, Kerzner said.

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Toronto Coroner's Court, where inquests into workplace fatalities are heard. x27;work accident may, however, always request the holding of a conventional coroner's inquest, since coroners will retain their discretion to order one.

We are acting to provide justice as expected by the family members of construction workers who lost their lives on the job, said the Solicitor General.

Mr. Kerzner says changes will be made to Ontario's Fire Prevention and Protection Act, 1997 to provide municipal fire departments with the resources they need to ensure developers strictly apply building code regulations.

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