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robot hand holding scales of justiceEfficacy should not be sacrificed for efficiency in the administration of justice, Community Legal Aid says in a submission to the Ontario government on the use of artificial intelligence.

Law clinic hoping to influence provincial framework on artificial intelligence

Community Legal Aid review counsel Lilian Bahgat warns that the development of a provincial framework to increase the use of artificial intelligence in government processes will impact access to justice for the clinic’s clients and practice.

The province of Ontario recently welcomed feedback from legal experts on the trustworthiness of artificial intelligence. Bahgat collaborated with the Law Commission of Ontario to discuss the use of artificial intelligence, automated decision-making, and algorithms in the Canadian justice system in particular.

She provided the government with submissions to emphasize the need to acknowledge the digital divide that exists between their low-income clients and other Ontarians.

“We provided feedback to the government calling for meaningful consultations that ensure vulnerable Ontarians can fully participate in this process,” she says. “The government’s push to move forward with digitalizing Ontario’s tribunals and courts has left a majority of our clients behind due to unstable data plans, a lack of digital literacy and access to technology.”

While Bahgat acknowledges the use of technology can help streamline processes, she notes that efficacy should not be sacrificed for efficiency.

Community Legal Aid has extensive experience advocating for access to justice. The team hopes that the government will take into consideration the issues that arise for vulnerable and marginalized Ontarians who will soon be expected to interact with artificial intelligence and automated decision making, regardless of access limitations.

For more information, visit the CLA website.

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