Legal system failing middle class in Canada

October 17 2012 by Ellen Roseman

Many people sent me their heart-wrenching stories in response to my column about the lack of access to legal services by middle-income earners. I’m posting a few below.

Even many low-income people are badly served by Legal Aid, which won’t pay for routine family law and consumer cases.

Here’s a link to the book that sparked the controversy and talks about how to broaden access to justice.

I also want to mention that Financial Literacy Month is going ahead again in November.

As part of the national events, I’ll be doing my Ryerson workshop, Financial Basics, on Tuesday, Nov. 20, 5 to 9 p.m., at the Chang School on Victoria St., Toronto.

The session is free and comes with a great workbook. You can register here or you can just show up on the date.

You can find more about the Financial Basics workshop and order materials at the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada’s website.

Rob Carrick, the Globe and Mail’s personal finance columnist, wrote about the 12 taboo topics during Financial Literacy Month. Here’s a link to that column, which may disappear once the Globe puts up its pay wall next week.

21 comments

  1. AE

    Oct 17 2012

    I recently read about Mike Marsh V. Ford Motor in your Star column. My spouse and I are in exactly the same situation, except that the defendant is a physician and has a high-powered law firm.

    We too need an expert opinion report in order to pursue our modest claim in small claims court, but such a report, I’m told repeatedly, will cost some $5,000. Our claim is only for $11,450, so it’s not feasible to spend the money.

    The physician has probably (like Ford) already spent more on his defense than our total claim.

    The middle class of Ontario seems destined to constantly accept financial setbacks caused by others’ mistakes because it is to costly to pursue claims.

    We will likely not get our $11,450, and Mr. Marsh won’t get a new truck from Ford. In the end, we’ll probably just file a formal complaint with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Ontario, which won’t help us get our money but will perhaps protect others from this useless physician.

  2. KB

    Oct 17 2012

    Thank you so much for FINALLY acknowledging that our legal system does a great disservice to the middle class.

    I too am deeply entrenched in the battle grounds of the justice system… but I am not fighting for power or money or any such thing. I am fighting for the most important thing in my world…. my 4 year old son.

    From my personal experience with Family Court, over the last almost 2 years, its’ not that it has left me out, but left me in financial ruin!

    After leaving an abusive relationship of almost 20 years with my (now) 4 year old son, I am STILL in court with no concrete end in sight.

    Not only are ALL of my life savings gone into legal fees, but I was forced to obtain a $40,000 loan to continue the fight for my child.

    Family law in this country is a cruel joke at best. It is perceived that I have a VERY high paying job and this makes me ineligible for legal aid, forcing me to either put the fate of my child into my own hands, with NO law experience, or face financial ruin to fight for him.

    For me, my child is not negotiable, therefore my only other option is to fight with all that I have. Now that my life savings is gone, fight with what the bank will give me.

    For the past 20 years I was physically, mentally, emotionally and sexually abused and bullied in my relationship. The only difference now is that the legal system is allowing him to bully in his efforts to break me both emotionally and financialy.

    In a fight for your child, there is no room for the unknown, the ill prepared or the mediocre legal representation.

    My child deserves and needs the best to protect him (and me) and that means I need the best (lawyer) to get me the best (my child).

    Over the past almost 2 years, I have been short-served with court papers, 150 kms away from home at trade school, forced to abandon my studies to appear in court unrepresented.

    I have jumped through hoops, met deadlines (mutually agreed upon my both our legal counsel), fought for ‘geared to income’ mediation (epic fail), to mention but a few things — all the while maintaining a full-time job and raising the most amazing 4 year old boy.

    As our impending court date comes closer, I fear that I will only be met with more and delays from my ex-husband and his counsel.

    As a woman negotiating for the most important thing in her life, I am riddled by fear, exhaustion, frustrating and in emotional and financial ruin…with no help (and no end) to be found! I now see why women in abusive relationships stay…..it WOULD be easier.

  3. DV

    Oct 17 2012

    I liked your column about the lack of access to justice.

    I wanted to note that civil court action for low income recepients is NOT part of legal aid services, as you implied.

    In smaller communities like mine, the legal help centres will not provide any assistance/advice for civil matters.

    A few Ontario cities like Toronto have a limited pro bono advice service where you can go to their office on University Avenue and meet with a lawyer, but nothing similar exists elsewhere in the province.

    The civil lawyer there would give advice for trial preparation only and would not be present at the trial. I don’t live in Toronto, don’t have a car and travel is extremely painful for me.

    Also, lawyers rarely provide pro bono services in superior court level for civil cases to low income earners.

    The law bases the amount of personal injury compensation awarded to be determined by the amount of future lost wages more so than amounts awarded for pain and suffering.

    Also, as in my situation, costs are being claimed against me by the defendants, which will force me to declare bankruptcy if I lose my upcoming court battle.

    Middle class income earners aren’t likely going to be left penniless like I could be.

    If you found any evidence that says legal aid pays for civil cases, please let me know.

    I am currently on disability pension and was grievously injured in a slip and fall event that left me in crippling nerve pain without the ability to sit.

    My quality of life is gone. If you look up how the pudendal nerve functions, you will understand how seriously my life has been affected.

    Yet I have no access to legal counsel and am left to represent myself in the lower small claims court against a hospital and doctor. (I was an ER patient being examined by a doctor at the time of the fall, when the doctor removed my chair without advising me.)

    Even if I win my case, $25,000 won’t nearly cover my past, present and future medical expenses, never mind the hell I’ve lived through with this nerve damage.

    It’s like I don’t have any human rights and have been discarded by the health care and legal system, left to suffer without any assistance.

    It is shameful. You leave your rights at the doorsteps of Ontario hospitals. Even the provincial ombudsman was not able to help, since there is no oversight into hospitals.

    The imbalance of power could not be greater against me. My opponents are represented by big city legal firms.

    The hospital gets to withhold the identity of a neighbouring patient witness (who heard the crash when I
    fell), citing patient confidentiality.

    A line from a movie quotes, “It’s like being up against Goliath and his entire freakin’ family.”

    At least the middle class has some funds to use for civil trials, unlike the lower disability/income earners, but I absolutely agree the system needs to be overhauled, regardless of income.

    I think it is very important that readers know the limits of accessing legal assistance for the poor and disadvantaged and your column did not reflect the reality we are up against.

  4. ML

    Oct 17 2012

    I’m newly admitted to the Ontario bar, but have been a member of the Florida bar since 2006. I read your article on the legal system, and have a few observations.

    1. Generally speaking, lawyers are the problem. They really shouldn’t be allowed to write the rules for Court, given they have done such a poor job. Few lawyers know how to write well.

    From experience, Canadian judges are the worst. They write novels where they could have simply said ‘no.’ Generally speaking, their novels do not illuminate much of anything.

    American judgments are amazingly well written in comparison. American law is also much more standardized given West’s headnoting system. Court rules would probably be simpler and better written if done in a hurry by an engineer or accountant.

    2. The Rules of Court in Ontario are abysmal (Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure that govern most lawsuits). It would be hard to ask someone to write a worse or sillier document to govern litigation.

    If you get bored, compare how long the Ontario Rules are with the brevity of the American Rules of Civil Procedure. Of course, that is not the only document governing court, there is also the Courts of Justice Act, among others.

    A really ‘interesting’ quirk of the Ontario Rules is that in preparing a case for trial, the other side gets the power to determine what is ‘relevant’ to proving your case. It is truly amazing how many facts potentially harmful to their case they deem ‘not relevant.’

    That necessitates motions to the Court, using public resources (and generally speaking the parties’ money) to needlessly argue due to poorly written rules.

    3. Lawyers could make it much easier by publishing a do it yourself guide to litigation. Essentially, most lawsuits need an initial complaint, in some cases discoveries (the Canadian concept of ‘depositions’), mediation, then a trial.

    The order of trial is as follows. You do this step, then this step. Here is how to ask questions, enter exhibits, cross examine.

    A short guide to trial could answer a lot of questions, i.e., I want to prove something technical, so yes, I need an expert witness.

  5. RF

    Oct 17 2012

    Great article. In condo land, it is even worse.

    Add the lack of qualified condo lawyers available to the consumer (the good ones work for the firms hired by boards) and the pit just gets deeper for those seeking justice and results.

    Condos are the only consumer product where the legal fees can exceed the costs of the property itself, when boards start a war again the consumer owner.

  6. Joe

    Oct 17 2012

    I’m being persecuted and bullied by my corporate landlord, whose new managers have taken an anti-tenants stance.

    We were issued a demanding letter for an extra illegal rent increase. We live in a 12-story hi rise apt building in Toronto.

    I’ve lived here for over 17 years in peace, calm and harmony. I pay my rent on time every time. I live a quiet life.

    I’m a low income senior and supplement my meagre government pension by working as a school crossing guard.

    We have many seniors with serious health issues who have lived here for many years. The landlord demanded we pay or else we can and will be evicted.

    I organized tenant meetings, which were also attended by our local MPP. I reported the landlord to the ministry of municipal affairs and housing’s investigative unit and I got the CBC to report our problem.

    Since July, I’ve been harrassed, intimidated, coerced, threatened. They openly show utter contempt for my legal rights and the law and hired expensive lawyers to write legalese mumbo jumbo to justify their criminal actions used to issue me with an eviction notice.

    It’s all part of their bullying and now this vindictive spiteful reprisal against me for exercising my legal rights.

    I have a hearing with the landlord and tenants board for Oct. 30.

    I sought legal help from the Flemingdon Community Legal Services, but they informed me they do not provide legal help to tenant applicants. If they did, they wouldn’t be able to do any other work because of the volume of applications.

    They also told me that tenants have a next to zero success rate at the landlord tenants board. Tenants never succeed in getting rent rebates, no matter what the evidence.

    So I’m on my own, having to face the landlord’s expensive lawyers. Although i have concrete evidence against my bully landlord, I feel ive already lost my case.

  7. YF

    Oct 17 2012

    Help is available in Ontario via Pro Bono Law Ontario (PBLO).

    This is a registered charity with a mandate to improve access to justice by promoting and facilitating opportunities for lawyers to provide free legal services to low-income Ontarians and the charitable organizations that assist them. We serve around 14,000 clients a year.

    PBLO has a free program called Law Help Ontario for people suing or being sued in Ontario’s civil courts. Law Help Ontario helps people who can’t afford a lawyer but don’t qualify for Legal Aid (which doesn’t cover civil matters).

    The program provides information about court procedures and help completing court forms. Volunteer lawyers and paralegals give legal advice and provide representation at certain hearings.

    Three walk-in centres in Toronto and Ottawa specialize in Small Claims and Superior Court matters.

    There is also a toll-free service for people who live outside the GTA and Ottawa. More information can be found at http://www.lawhelpontario.org.

  8. JT

    Oct 17 2012

    Not a word about paralegals! Paralegals help out the middle class every day. We are part of the solution in the legal system.

    You made many great points and I enjoyed your article but someone should be educating the public on all of their available and affordable legal representation options.

    Here is a solution but in Alberta, home of the $900 divorce.

    http://affordable-divorce.org/calgarys-paralegals-specialists/

    http://www.albertaparalegal.com/index.htm

    Paralegals were kicked out of Family Court in Ontario five years ago and the public has suffered terribly.

    You will rarely, if ever, find a lawyer or anyone from the Law Society who feels that paralegals are part of the solution for unrepresented parties in Family Court.

    But the truth is we can be an effective and affordable part of the solution.

    The Family Lawyers Association fights extremely hard every day to lobby and keep paralegals out of Family Court, but does not fight even a fraction as hard to help out the poor or middle class unrepresented litigant in Family Court.

    The public, espcially the poor and middle class, have been abandoned by the legal system, which is adminstered by lawyers.

    They are being told it is better that you go through the system unrepresented than have an effective and knowledgeable paralegal help you fill out some forms in Family Court.

    Paralegals are shut out of the Legal Aid system. The public is forced to see a lawyer, who may not the best choice for the public in every type of legal matter.

  9. Brian

    Oct 18 2012

    If the authors of this book really cared about changing the legal system for the betterment of the middle class and the poor, they would have recommended an end to taxpayer-funded lawyers for affluent doctors — even the docs that work for auto insurance companies.

    The taxes paid by the working poor and the middle class (folks who can’t afford a lawyer when they need one) are paying for these high-paid lawyers of the wealthy.

    Do these professors think to mention that the Canadian Medical Protective Association is sitting on a $3 billion litigation war chest used to deploy their price-is-no-obstacle “scorched earth” hardball litigation tactics against poor and middle class victims of negligence, malpractice, and/or substandard insurer-sponsored medical assessments?

    This is done on the backs of the poor and middle class taxpayer.

    No. By their silence, these professors have demonstated that they are happy with this arrangement — an overly funded CMPA system versus a gutted legal aid system. Pathetic.

  10. GL

    Oct 18 2012

    As a lawyer operating in our court system in many areas of law over the years, but now exclusively in family law, I can attest to the growing number of people without effective legal representation.

    It is a major aspect of access to justice and does not afflict just the middle class that you mention, but even the more vulnerable and presumably less educated lower class. The system does not even work for the poor any more.

    This represents a failure of both the federal and provincial governments, which are quick to invest money in new jails and police and so-called new services. but refuse to acknowledge that people need lawyers or some form of legal representation.

    As a substitute for providing effective representation, the provincial government is constantly patting itself on the back for spending all kinds of money to inform people about how to act on their own and and empower them to make their way through the system, rather than provide legal assistance.

    Yes, a person, if she really had to, could probably take out her own appendix, but would you not prefer to have a doctor do a better job?

    One glaring example of this is the legal aid system alluded to in your article, which much of the public mistakenly feels is a great enabler of access to justice.

    At one time, the legal aid system did assist the middle class, or at least the lower middle class. Now even the poor are not helped.

    Legal Aid Ontario (LAO) is run like a corporation and by an accountant with the usual corporate buzzwords like efficiency (i.e. cost-cutting) and subject to tight government fiscal control.

    As Mike Harris taught us so well, if you want to save money, squeeze the marginalized and those whose with no real effective voice to complain.

    To get legal aid (i.e., get a certificate that entitles you to retain one of the decreasing number of lawyers who accept such certificates), one must qualify both financially (income/asset threshhold) and legally (have a problem that legal aid covers).

    Unless one is on public assistance (OW or ODSP), it is virtually impossible to qualify financially for legal aid.

    For example, a single person making more than $10,800 a year does not get a free certificate. But if that person makes between $10,800 to $12,500, she might get a contributory certificate (have to pay something to get one) acccording to a truly irrational contribution calculation schedule.

    To get a certificate, a mother and a minor child (family of two) has to have yearly income of less than $18,684.

    All this has to be put into the context that minimum wage is this province is a maximum $21,320 and the poverty line has been set at about $18,000 for a single person and about $26,000 for a family of two.

    Being below the proverty line does not even mean that you come close to qualifying financially for legal aid (whose qualifying guidelines have, incredibly, not changed since 1995).

    Even if one manages to qualify financially, the reality is that legal aid covers very few legal areas.

    These areas keep decreasing each year in the name of efficiency – some criminal, less than half of family and immigration matters and virtually no civil proceedings.

    In the latter case, almost every person that you assist with consumer issues has no access to legal aid whatsoever and is likely unable to afford a lawyer.

    Of those few who do contact you and can afford a lawyer, they find it not cost-effective to retain one.

    The depressing situation is getting increasingly worse, with no hint of any political will on any level to address, let alone remedy, the situation.

  11. GA

    Oct 18 2012

    I am a former paralegal, who retired when the Law Society took over control. I am dismayed by the struggles people have getting justice in our legal system.

    I have a response to the recent comment that losers should not pay the legal fees of winners.

    In my experience, most plaintiffs do not hire expensive lawyers to start frivolous actions. As in the case of the Ford truck owner, he likely did not dream up a problem with the truck.

    Likewise, if a service provider or retailer is suing for nonpayment, it likely is because he or she provided goods or services and did not get paid.

    I believe that the best way to reduce the number of cases going to trial is not to settle out of court but to keep it out of court altogether.

    Most defendants know that there is almost no downside to bouncing a cheque or just refusing to pay for a service provided and waiting to see if the other side starts an action. Even if the other side pursues the deadbeat, the award is usually just for the unpaid debt and a small legal fee.

    If there was a substantial legal fee, the plaintiff would be more inclined to pursue an action and the deadbeat would realize that there was a good reason to avoid litigation.

  12. LY

    Oct 18 2012

    Access to justice for middle income earners is a problem that Licensed Paralegals can address with fees that are often less than half that of lawyers.

    Paralegals have been licensed and regulated by The Law Society of Upper Canada since 2008.

    Our extensive education in the law puts us in the perfect position to assist individuals who feel they have a Small Claims Court claim, have received a Traffic Ticket, Provincial Offences, Landlord and Tenant, Criminal Summary offences, Debt enforcement – garnishment, Employment Law (including Wrongful Dismissal) Human Rights, just to name a few.

    If you would like more information about Paralegals and what we can do, please visit: http://www.lsuc.on.ca/ and http://www.paralegalsociety.on.ca/.

    We are trained to represent and advocate for our clients in Court and are here to help.

  13. AG

    Oct 18 2012

    The Law Society of Upper Canada can, but will not, allow paralegals to do Small Claims Court appeals, administrative law appeals and applications for judicial review.

    The Law Society could allow paralegals to represent parties in the Ontario Court of Justice – Family Division, but will not.

    The government could, by changing “lawyer” to “licensee,” in the Legal Aid Act allow paralegals to accept Legal Aid certificates. But it will not do so because the Law Society will not agree to it.

    The Law Society has embraced regulation for paralegals so that they can slowly squeeze paralegals out of work.

    The Law Society would rather see the legal system collapse than improve it.

  14. RB

    Oct 18 2012

    I have been selling Legal Expense insurance (LEI) to large employer groups and professionals (dentists and doctors) for years, via Lloyd’s of London.

    This was long before Canada’s first LEI insurer (DAS Canada) opened their doors in Toronto 2 years ago.

    The LEI policy filled an obvious gap that existed between how union employees had access to representation, compared to how large non-unionized employee groups were left to fend for themselves.

    Unfortunately, individuals did not have access to a personal legal expense insurance (LEI) policy until 2 years ago.

    My personal LEI policy, purchased through DAS Canada, covers me for contractual disputes, employment disputes, criminal charges stemming from my employment, property disputes, pursuit of personal injury, etc.

    As a member of the middle class, I feel quite comfortable that I have access to the Legal System.

    On top of the telephone legal advice line, an insured event will pay for $200,000 in legal fees and professional fees.

    The policy costs me $360 per year and is widely available through a network of Insurance Brokers throughout Canada.

  15. MS

    Oct 18 2012

    The problem is not “access”. The challenge is to finance the ability to access.

    A Litigation Financing Company (LFC) would work in the same way LPIC works for lawyers who become defendants, minus the insurance feature.

    http://vinchiaturonline.net/articles/php?id=10013

    When I had my own office, I was financier of last resort to many of my clients. You did the work and you hoped to get paid and get your disbursements back. That did not work out very well because the landlord and the secretaries would not finance me.

    As a legislator, I lamented and spoke on the plight of the middle class because, even back in 1987, it was obvious that the middle class was slipping downward.

    Then, as now, Legal Aid meant financing the defence of indigent alleged criminals.

    Later I became a Legal Services Consultant, mostly concerned with matching “lexpertise” to client needs. I developed a sizeable roster of “willing” lawyers.

    Financing was always at the very core of accessing justice. It is not about “unbundling.” It is not about promoting paralegals and making them licencees of LSUC.

    If we can finance cars, dental services and higher education, we can finance litigation.

    I believe the LPIC is the best model, although I don`t think it can work as an insurer.

    However, their methodology is sound: develop a list of Lawpro approved or Lawpro preferred lawyers and then micromanage the file so that the borrower-client will act reasonably and not flog dead horses.

    http://www.lawpro.ca/

  16. SI

    Oct 22 2012

    Judges used to be fond of saying that the BC Small Claims Court is The People’s Court, where claims are to be resolved in a simple and expeditious manner.

    That was the original purpose of the BC Small Claims Act. Since the maximum claim limit was increased from $10,000 to $25,000, however, British Columbia’s Small Claims Court has been inundated with lawyers that try to turn the justice system on its head with tricks of the trade.

    Recently I was involved in a business case on the plaintiff’s side in a suburban courthouse where the province employs trial judges on a part-time basis, despite the backlog.

    I’ve had a first-hand experience of how The People’s Court has devolved into an adulterated version of the BC Supreme Court.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/bc-small-claims-court-no-longer-the-people-s-court

  17. CB

    Oct 22 2012

    Black Christmas Nightmare, Air Canada, cost us $15,000 plus. Le me explain.

    My wife and I launched a lawsuit and represented ourselves, since our cash flow is limited. We won the first lawsuit in small claims court, but Air Canada appealed.

    This cost us amore than $15,000, INCLUDING $9,500 IN COURT COSTS FOR AIR CANADA’S LAWYERS.

    The law firm they used dealt mainly with transport companies’ malfeasance, making sure they overturned any of sorts of lawsuits.

    A Perry Mason, for sure, was sent to deal with us. Very surgical. They appealed to a higher court. We lost the second round.

    We now knew we would lose anyway. They would had gone to the Supreme Court of Canada.

    Being 72 years old, not in good health, I think the firm thought I would have expired before the case was done.

    CHRISTMAS DAY IN CUBA CAN BE A NIGHTMARE. IF YOU EVER NEED AN AIR CANADA REPRESENTATIVE, NOT TO BE FOUND, even though THEY SAY THEY ARE AVAILABLE EVERY DAY.

    Incidentally, this law firm sent us about 20” of material so that we could fight it. I am sure a murder case does not get this much.

    We asked a lawyer how much it would cost to deal with this. He said from $12,000 to $25,000.

    So we dealt with it the best way we knew how, with honesty and hoping that this would help us.

    WE ALWAYS BELIEVED THAT HONESTY IS THE BEST POLICY. WRONG.

    The second judge, Judge Healy, gave their lawyer everything he asked for and made uspay his fee of over $9,500 — even though we had not been able to stay at the hotel and went back to Canada a few hours after we got there.

    Some provinces do not allow lawyers in small claims court, nor do they allow appeals. But oh, no, not Ontario.

    We paid over $3,000 for my wife and me, for a week’s rest at the Kawama Resort in Varadero, Cuba. We could have paid $1,150 for two people, but no, we wanted the very best. These were all inclusive resorts.

    We got there and there was no room. They tried to give us a room about a kilometer away in another part of Cuba.

    No one resided at that location. It would have been the two of us only, no street light, nothing, just an area that was uninhabitable.

    Besides, we would have had to walk to the main resort for food and drink and towels and such. Talk about safety at night!

    Also, the valet who drove us there had to push the door open with his shoulder. Nothing else worked, other than a bunch of cockroaches running around. The man said it was only dust, but when I stepped on one, some sort of yellow creamy sort came out of that insect.

    We refused to be put in that situation, but the man said the resort was full. We knew the place to be nice, as we had been there before many times. We always had a great time there. Even my sister stayed there with her husband.

    We then asked the front desk for an Air Canada rep, so that we could be placed elsewhere. Another resort maybe. No one available, we were told. They even refused to talk to us unless we took the room they gave us.

    Air Canada rules stated that if we were not happy with something to contact their rep who stayed at the resort. Boy, did we try to get this GHOST AIR CANADA REP. No luck.

    Even at the airport we tried. The staff could not get hold of an Air Canada rep, anywhere.

    To summarize this affair, we SUED and we WON. Air Canada appealed and they won, costing us their fees of $9,500, plus the total cost we paid to go to Cuba and back (almost $5,600).

    TRAVELER BEWARE. AIR CANADA IS NEVER RESPONSIBLE OR LIABLE FOR ANY HOTEL THAT IS IN A PACKAGE DEAL.

    It seems they can count money, but cannot count people to match resort availability. Obviously, they knew or had to know the resort was full!

    Air Canada is totally heartless. Never have we SUED anyone for this sort of thing. That is how bad this was.

    I WONDER HOW OFTEN THIS SORT OF THING HAPPENS. THE PUBLIC OUGHT TO KNOW AND LET OTHERS KNOW.

  18. Harold berglas

    Dec 12 2012

    Why can’t we do simple things over the net?

    a) land titles survirship application

    b) Estate admin tax/ probate with will certification

    c) and many more using Service Ontario to validate ID, Documents, Commissioning and an Online system that has verbiage and forms for filing.

    After all the clerk/judge needs the same thing for every case, and with online systems, I don’t need to travel to Newmarket or Toronto to have my five minutes in court, show the papers and go away again.

  19. Harold berglas

    Dec 12 2012

    Another peeve. Someone dies, so we fill out death statment(details like birth date, parents, etc.) and together with death certificate-MEDICAL, we run to funeral home, who run to city, who submit forms to get burial certificate, who take that to cemetery.

    BUT if I am a Muslim or Jew, I need to wait 2-3 days for someone to handle the request, while the body gets “overtime pay” at the funeral home, and we all wait.

    We need an online system, so we don’t use cars/forms, admin (wake up calls, etc.) and make it a smooth online experience for the funeral home to handle effecienctly. Like in 1-2 hours, not 3-4 days.

    Each municipality has different rates and the burial fee is now $11, death registration about $30-35, and oh yes, “death-certificate-Ontario” is about $15 or so.

  20. Harold berglas

    Dec 12 2012

    It would be nice if a death triggered notification to SIN, CRA, EI, CPP, OAS, OHIP, veterans, driver’s license, motor vehicle license, land titles, to name a few agencies, to prevent fraud and assist the survivors in their paperwork.

    Also passports, census, elections (federal, provincial, municipal), plus so many more agencies.

  21. N

    Dec 17 2012

    Access to the judicial system is so asymmetric it isn’t funny.

    My grandmother was sold a phony investment (bonds that turned out to be worthless) by an unscrupulous couple. For her, it was a fortune and she never got a penny back.

    So, she tried to use the judicial system to get her money back, and it turned into a long, futile endeavor.

    The scammers were able to use their ill-gotten gains to fund an expensive lawyer, whereas my mother-in-law simply wasn’t able to afford a civil case. So, in the end, the scammers walked away scot free.

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