Sex assault education required for Ont judges


TORONTO – Training on sexual assault issues will now be required for new provincial judges in Ontario.

A recently updated Ontario Court of Justice plan specifies that an education program for newly appointed judges is mandatory.

A spokeswoman for the court says the program, which includes sexual assault issues, has always been a key component of judicial education, but previously wasn’t expressly included in the plan as required.

Politicians from both the Ontario Liberals and Progressive Conservatives have been pushing the issue at the provincial legislature, with two private members’ bills seeking to mandate such training.

The issue has made headlines recently after an Alberta judge, who has since resigned, asked a sexual assault complainant why she couldn’t keep her knees together, and a Halifax judge said “a drunk can consent,” while acquitting a taxi driver of sexual assault.

There is also a bill before the House of Commons from interim Conservative leader Rona Ambrose that would require anyone who wanted to be considered for a federal judicial appointment to undergo comprehensive training in sexual assault law.