The Chairman's Report October 5, 2015
Canadian Justice Review Board
Annual General Meeting
Chairman's report: October 5, 2015
I am pleased to report that over the past two years the CJRB has attracted many new supporters and donors from the general public and from the legal profession. We were pleased to receive accolades from more than one Ontario lawyer who found past chairman Bruce Haines' commentary on the Rules of the Assessment Review Board very helpful. In May 2015, the Assessment Review Board (ARB) began to publish its decisions in CanLii (Canlaw). The CJRB had previously obtained copies of the ARB's earlier decisions through Access to Information in CD-ROM format and posted them to the CJRB website. But we argued that the ARB had a duty to make its decisions public on a much more timely basis. We expressed this concern to a number of Ontario MPP's over the past two years with this positive result.
2013 marked the 10th anniversary of the CJRB. Starting in that year and continuing into 2014, our website was re-designed, using more up-to-date software and scripts, and also re-organized. Many articles and reports that had been posted over the years are now arranged in subject categories. The new website also includes a search function and automatically suggests to our readers additional articles or court decisions on similar subjects to ones that they search or select. It is perhaps of interest to also note that various Wikipedia articles quote the CJRB as a reference or information source with a URL link.
2014 was also a transition year with the filing of letters of continuance and bylaws in accord with Industry/Corporations Canada's new requirements for not-for-profit corporations. It also marked a corresponding change of annual year-end and annual general meeting from July to October. I am pleased to report that the extensive collection of articles written by our vice-chairman retired judge Wallace Craig was preserved and transferred to the CJRB website. These articles were originally posted on the "Real Justice" website that vice-chairman Craig maintained until a few years ago. Access is now from his information page on the CJRB website, with the added feature that the new CJRB website software automatically selects from his articles when there is a match to the subject matter that our readers specify using the CJRB search bar.
In May, 2014, your Board members Elizabeth Marshall, Jack MacLaren and William Nichol were invited to speak at the Carleton Landowners Association conference held in Ottawa. Mr. MacLaren and Mr. Nichol addressed some issues surrounding the property assessment process and the procedures of the Ontario Assessment Review Board. Ms. Marshall spoke about property rights and how people can obtain a copy of their Crown Patent land grant and the significance of Crown Patents. The presentations were video taped and posted to both the Carleton Landowner Association website and the CJRB's. Ms. Marshall has been a guest speaker at a number of other association meetings in Ontario more recently.
The CJRB has continued to post relevant court decisions, some of which have been useful to Board members and educators, together with articles and reports about the justice system. It has been my pleasure to have served as your chairman for the past three years and I welcome chairman elect Ted DeCoste, professor emeritus faculty of law University of Alberta. I would also like to thank the Board members and our executive director for their contributions and support during my tenure.