Judges to get gender, diversity training

It’s back to school for Canada’s judges.

As part of the spending on justice and corrections outlined in Wednesday’s federal budget is a plan to spend $2.7 million on gender and diversity training for judges.

As family structures change, identity and gender issues come to the fore and Canada continues to welcome immigrants, the government says judges “must be sensitive and informed about the evolving nature of Canadian society.”

The Canadian Judicial Council will provide the programming as part of its mandate to support federally-appointed judges. Once the initial investment is spent over five years, the council will receive $500,000 annually to support its programming.

The budget outlined an additional $107.8 million over five years, starting in 2017-2018, for the department of justice to improve the family justice system.

The money will be used to support new and innovative ways to deliver provincial and territorial family justice services, as well as the use of technology to increase access to justice. It will also help improve enforcement of family support obligations, such as child and spousal support payments.

To speed a backlog of court cases across the country, the government is also proposing $55 million over five years, and $15.5 annually after that, to create 28 new federally appointed judicial positions.

The government is also launching a national strategy to address gender-based violence. It will spend $101 million over five years, and $20.7 million annually thereafter, to create a centre of excellence within Status of Women Canada to better align existing resources. The strategy will include measures to be implemented by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Department of National Defence.

Details about the strategy will be announced in the coming months, the government says.

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