Catherine Fife MPP, Waterloo

Government of Ontario

Fife: “Survivors didn’t get their day in court – now they lost their day in legislature”

Published on May 15, 2024

QUEEN’S PARK – MPP Catherine Fife (Waterloo) vowed to keep fighting for Lydia’s Law, a bill designed to help the survivors of sexual assault seek justice, after Conservatives quashed debate on a day when hundreds of advocates and survivors were expected to appear at Queen’s Park. 

“Survivors deserve justice and they deserve to be heard,” said Marit Stiles, Leader of the Official Opposition NDP. “It’s shameful that the Conservatives silenced debate on this incredibly important piece of legislation.”  

Lydia’s Law was scheduled for debate on May 15. Without warning on May 14, the government used its majority to prevent the bill from being debated or voted on. It’s a highly unusual move – one the Conservatives seem to take on bills they don’t want publicized.  

“Many survivors lose their day in court – now they lost their day in legislature”, said Fife. “Ford likes to say that he’s tough on crime, but he has created a system where the perpetrators of violent sexual assaults continuously walk free. We can’t let this continue. For anyone who is the survivor of an assault, I hear your story and I stand with you. We won’t rest until our justice system really does bring justice for all.” 

Lydia’s Law would increase transparency and accountability in the handling of sexual assault cases in Ontario by adopting key measures, which include: 

  • Ensuring the Attorney General monitors criminal cases pending for 8+ months, and documents the reasons for these delays 

  • Making the Independent Legal Advice Program more accessible to survivors 

  • Launching a review of the Victim Quick Response Program to ensure it is meeting the needs of survivors 

Lydia’s Law was inspired by a young girl who brought her harrowing experience of navigating the court system in the wake of an assault to MPP Fife. It was brought forward with co-sponsors MPPs Peggy Sattler (London West) and Kristyn Wong-Tam (Toronto Centre).