Ontario’s justice system is set to undergo a transformative revolution as the provincial government has awarded Thomson Reuters a $166 million contract to develop an innovative digital platform.
This cutting-edge investment will replace outdated paper-based procedures, ushering in a new era of accessibility and efficiency for legal services in the Superior Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Justice, the province said in a press release.
Attorney General Doug Downey hailed the decision as a significant milestone in their mission to modernize the justice system, stating, “Ontario is one step closer to a digital justice system that helps people resolve legal matters easier and faster. Today marks a significant new chapter in our government’s plan to build a more modern, accessible, and effective justice system now and into the future.”
Transforming the system
Thomson Reuters’ digital justice platform is poised to revolutionize court operations, enabling users to file documents quickly and easily online, access court case information digitally, pay fees online, participate in virtual hearings, manage court appearances digitally, and receive decisions electronically.
This ambitious Courts Digital Transformation initiative was first announced in November 2021 and is a key component of the province’s Justice Accelerated Strategy, a multi-year plan aimed at leveraging technology to break down barriers in the justice system and expedite access to services through remote, in-person, and online means.
In February 2022, the government pledged an investment of $65 million over five years to equip courtrooms across the province with the necessary technology to enable remote access to hearings through video or audio.
As of June 2023, significant strides have already been made in the direction of digitization, with court users being able to electronically submit over 700 different types of court documents for family, civil, divisional, and small claims court matters, the province said.
Modernizing, streamlining processes
The move towards this state-of-the-art digital justice platform reaffirms the commitment of both the Ontario Court of Justice and the Superior Court of Justice to embracing modernization and streamlining processes.
Chief Justice Geoffrey Morawetz of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and Chief Justice Sharon Nicklas of the Ontario Court of Justice applauded the government’s investment and support in modernizing court procedures and technology.
They expressed their dedication to collaborating with justice partners to replace antiquated technology programs with a more seamless and efficient system that supports courts and businesses alike.
David Wong, Chief Product Officer at Thomson Reuters, emphasized the significance of this collaboration, stating, “Together, Ontario and Thomson Reuters will transform Ontario’s courts into one of the most modern and accessible justice systems in North America. As a Canadian company, we are proud that our technology will help improve access to justice in our home province.”