Quotes to Inspire

"The most sacred of the duties of a government [is] to do equal and impartial justice to all citizens."

— Thomas Jefferson

We Won't Back Down

See what children and their families are doing to fight back against the Children's Aid Society (CAS) and the family courts (Video)

The unlawful detention of children at schools by school officials and CAS workers

This document is a must read for parents and school officials regarding the unlawful detention and interrogation of children by CAS workers in Ontario Schools

Questions & Answers for school officials regarding CAS at children's schools

This must read document for teachers and school officials answers many of the questions that school officials have about CAS in their schools

Questions & Answers for Police regarding involvement with CAS workers

This must read document for police officers answers many of the questions that law enforcement officials have about dealing with CAS workers. (Coming soon)

The Unlawful Practice of Social Work by CAS workers in Ontario

This document written by child and family justice advocate Vernon Beck outlines how most Childrens Aid Society workers in Ontario are breaking the law

Understanding the Children's Aid Society - A historical analysis

This document written by Michael Reid reviews the development of CAS in Ontario since the 1800's and its troubling past

How to launch a lawsuit against teachers or the School Board

This document will outline the steps for parents to launch a civil lawsuit against teachers or the local school board for allowing CAS workers to question their children at school without informed consent (coming soon)

A Child's Guide to Ontario's Office of the Children's Lawyer

This document will answer questions about the children's lawyer and show kids how to stand up against incompetent lawyers(coming soon)

What you Can Do to Help

A new section with initiatives for readers showing them how to get involved will be added soon. Please stay tuned.

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The Unlawful Practice of Social Work in Ontario by CAS workers (Jan 2016) - Download the latest copy

Attorney General worried about public disconnect from justice system

March 18, 2010 - Canada Court Watch has been giving fair notice to judges and lawyers that Canadians are becoming increasingly fed up with the justice system, especially the family court system which destroys families every day in Canadian courts. It would seem that one Attorney General may be starting to get the message

Pilot project to 'alert' justice system to 'fact that, actually, people are watching'

It might be time to put cameras in courtrooms, says Attorney-General Mike de Jong.

"I am very concerned by what I see as this growing disconnect between citizens and their justice system," de Jong told The Province Wednesday.

"We still maintain restrictions on the ability of the media to act as a conduit between people and their courts that are rooted in another century."

De Jong said he'd like a pilot in place by 2011 and has begun talking with lawyers and judges about what form it would take.

Traditional legal protections would stay in place, but he doesn't see harm in broadcasting lawyers' submissions, or a judge's verdict and sentencing.

"It would provide members of the public with a greater opportunity than they now possess to see and hear what goes on within their justice system," he said.

"And it would ultimately alert the people who work within our justice system to the fact that, actually, people are watching."

Another idea would be to broadcast trials on the Internet, unless there's a ban on publication.

De Jong would also like to put the onus back on trial lawyers to argue why cameras should be banned, instead of media firms having to make expensive applications to get them inside.

"Perhaps we should begin from the proposition that the courts belong to the public, and they deserve, via the media, to have broader access," he said.

Currently, TV cameras are not allowed in B.C. courtrooms. And repeated attempts to televise high-profile trials have all failed.

Cameras are allowed into the Supreme Court of Canada, the Ontario Court of Appeal and in U.S. courts.

Reaction from lawyers was mixed, but also optimistic.

Vancouver criminal lawyer Eric Gottardi, who chairs the criminal justice committee at the B.C. branch of the Canadian Bar Association, said there's no consensus on cameras among lawyers. On the one hand, cameras would educate the public but they could also affect prosecutions and witness participation, he said.

"There is some real benefit to having the public see a bit more and understand a bit more of what's happening," said Gottardi.

"But you've got to make sure, I think, that you're not hindering these trials, and [you have to protect] the people who want to participate."

Vancouver lawyer and journalist Donna Turko, who wrote her University of B.C. master's thesis on cameras in the courtroom, said she's "swung back and forth on the issue."

"It's going to take a lot of energy and cost to get to the right spot, that it benefits rather than hurts everybody," Turko said.

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association welcomed de Jong's ideas.

"It's very important to increase the opportunities for the public to see the work of the court, and television is clearly the way to reach the people," said policy director Micheal Vonn.

jbermingham@theprovince.com

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