Enforcing Court Orders – Mr. Justice David Brown got it right

I read with interest yesterday as The decision of The Honourable Mr. Justice David Brown in the CN Rail blockade was discussed in the media.

I applaud his Honour speaking plainly with respect to the failure of the police to enforce his Order, we need more of that in Ontario.

He warned “we seem to be drifting into dangerous waters in the life of the public affairs of this province when the courts cannot predict, with any practical degree of certainty, whether police agencies” will assist in enforcing court orders.

As a Civil Lawyers, I am frequently attempting to enforce Court Orders and in doing so, I often find bureauocracy is standing in my way.

I hope that the decision is the start of aiming a spotlight on the enforcement situation in Ontario. One area that needs to be improved is the area of the Office of the Sheriff.

The number of Sheriff’s Officers in Ontario is decreasing. The workload to enforce Court Orders is not.

Attempts by Judges to Order Bailiffs to assist in enforcing of Orders have resulted in the MInistry overseeing Bailiffs threatening to revoke licences of Bailiffs who enforce those Orders. Oh yes, you read that correctly.

A faceless, nameless bureaucrat regularly threatens people who want to comply with a Court Order.

The Honourable Mr. Justice Brown got it right, we’re in dangerous territory.

Of course, we have been there a long time on the Civil Order front and no one appears to have noticed nor sounded the alarm there.

Inga B. Andriessen JD