OPSEU/SEFPO in the News: Chaos caused by longstanding staffing crisis at Toronto courthouse draws media attention after cases thrown out


Multiple media outlets across the GTA have been following the situation at the downtown Toronto courthouse after the news broke that at least two cases have been thrown out due to a staffing shortage.

OPSEU/SEFPO has warned for years about the havoc that the closure of several smaller courthouses and amalgamation into the new downtown location on Armoury Street may cause, including hardship for staff and access to justice issues for many marginalized people involved in the justice system who live far from Toronto’s downtown.

Chris Draxl, President of Local 526 was quoted as saying that the amalgamation has “thrown the court system into chaos,” adding that “any new positions that have been created barely scratch the surface of the staffing needs, as many experienced court staff were lost during the amalgamation.”

“Our members keep the courts running, and do an amazing job – but they are extremely stressed and overworked,” said Draxl.

To read the coverage from CTV, click here.

The courts were already strained and chronically understaffed prior to the amalgamation, and workloads were already excessive. The new courthouse has only served to increase workloads, create stress, long hours and courtroom closures. Safety concerns have also been echoed by other stakeholders including staff from the Court Services Division, Crown’s Office and the Victim/Witness Assistance Program.