News / Ottawa

Attorney general stands by preference not to require sex-assault training for judges

Opposition MPP asks why province isn't taking cue from federal Conservative leader's popular bill

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi during question period at Queen's Park in this file photo.

Andrew Francis Wallace/Toronto Star

Attorney General Yasir Naqvi during question period at Queen's Park in this file photo.

Attorney general Yasir Naqvi reiterated in Queen’s Park Monday that the government won’t mandate sexual assault training for provincial judges, after the opposition raised the issue.

Progressive Conservative MPP Laurie Scott asked the government why they wouldn’t take the step during question period.

Interim federal Conservative leader Rona Ambrose has a bill in the House of Commons that would require anyone wanting to be a federally appointed judge to take training on myths and stereotypes on sexual assault. The bill has all-party support.

Naqvi said Premier Kathleen Wynne has already committed funding for public awareness and other messages to end sexual assault.

“I’m very proud of our premier for taking a leadership role when it comes to a very definitive action plan for putting an end to sexual violence,” he said in the legislature.

He said, however, that the government would not mandate the training for judges.  

“We have an independent judiciary. We have to respect the independence of our judiciary,” he said. “In Ontario, judges function independently and separately from  the government and training and education is within their exclusive jurisdiction.”

Scott said introducing training would not threaten judicial independence and would give people more confidence in the system.

“If it’s good enough for federal Parliament, why is it not enacted in Ontario?" she said.

She said victims should be confident that their cases are going to be heard properly if they come forward to report sexual violence.

“If I was a victim and was going to a courtroom I would certainly want to know that.”

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