$166 Million Promised for Modernization of Ontario Courts

Spending will streamline justice system with new technology

Ontario family lawyer Russell Alexander and the Family Law Ad Hoc Steering Committee applauded the Ontario government’s decision to spend $166 million replacing the province’s outdated paper-based court systems with an electronic-based model.

Author of a best-selling book on the trend of “Zoom Divorce” and a longtime advocate for new courtroom technology, Alexander said the changes will make courts more efficient, cutting costs and expanding access across Ontario.

“We saw during the coronavirus pandemic that increased use of teleconferencing software like Zoom made family courts dramatically more accessible,” said Alexander, who is author of two Amazon bestselling books on family law. “This new effort has even more potential to revolutionize access to the legal system while reducing costs for everyone.”

Under Ontario’s Courts Digital Transformation Initiative, lawyers will be able to file court documents, share them with opposing counsel, access information about specific cases, schedule hearings, participate in virtual hearings, receive decisions electronically and pay administrative and other fees online.

Alexander and the committee believe that these innovations will have particular benefits for family law cases including divorce and parenting time and decision-making responsibility, where modernizing court processes could help save clients on legal costs and help speed up resolutions.

“Streamlining Ontario’s courtrooms will mean lawyers will have to spend much less time filing paperwork, allowing them to serve more clients and charge less,” he added. “At the same time, allowing virtual hearings will make court hearings more convenient for both lawyers and their clients. These changes could be transformative.”